Miami Heat Free Agency Update: Ray Allen Still in Mix, Rashard Lewis Emerges

Let’s stop and breathe for a second. The intensity emitting from the beginning of the NBA Free Agency period has been more than I or anyone else can handle.

Within the first three days, we have already witnessed the Brooklyn Nets become relevant via a trade that brought in Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Joe Johnson and the re-signing of Gerald Wallace, as well as Dwight Howard deciding that he actually would like to be traded to the Nets, misusing the word ‘blackmail’ and then denying he ever used the word.

Also, the Atlanta Hawks became even easier to beat four times in the regular season. In the trade that sent out Johnson, all they received in return was Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro and a lottery protected pick for 2013.

Did anyone else have their mouth water over the thought of LeBron James giving it to DeShawn Stevenson four times per year?

As for the Miami Heat? Their name is constantly popping up on every free agent’s radar, but will only begin meeting with free agents with Thursday. That free agent they’ll be meeting with first just so happens to be Ray Allen–the Heat’s main target to acquire over the next few weeks.

They’ll have fierce competition. The Los Angeles Clippers will be meeting with Allen Friday; and Ray could be meeting with the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies soon after. All teams have expressed interest in Allen and all possess the advantage over the Heat of being prepared to offer a larger contract.

The Heat only have the veteran’s minimum and mini mid-level exception to offer. The mid-level will give $3 million per season to Allen. It’s being rumored that the Celtics are being prepared to offer their starting shooting guard a deal worth $12 million over the next two seasons.

Basically the only reasons Allen could find to go to the Heat would be a nearly guaranteed championship and having it be a lot easier than if he re-signed with the Celtics.

Boston has money on its side and it also happens to be the team Allen has been playing with since 2007 and has won a championship with. The Heat will have to find a way to convince Ray Allen that a more assured shot at a championship is worth more than money and staying loyal to a team that came a game away from losing to Boston.

It’s a tough sell. But if anyone can make a convincing argument, it’s Pat Riley.

In the wake of the Celtics seemingly being the front-runners for the services of Allen, a few other names have emerged on the Heat’s radar, including an All-Star and former teammate of Allen’s back in Seattle.

With his contract finally being done with–thanks to a buyout from the New Orleans Hornets–free agent power forward Rashard Lewis can start anew without having a disgustingly overzealous contract anchored to him.

This has resulted in interest being generated from the Heat, who have already been in contact with Lewis’ agent.

Lewis’ agent, Tony Dutt, had this to say about where he would like his client to land:

  “Absolutely, he wants to be on a championship-contending team and he also wants to revamp his career and no question he will do that. And probably, let’s say he does a minimum or even the mid-level, he’s got another contract in him. He’s only 33. He takes care of himself.”

It’s what he said later on, however, that would leave you to believe a signing of Lewis could be imminent:

“We’re trying to combine and get the best value based on situation, based on opportunity, based on winning. So everything that the Heat have is a good fit. And there’s two, three other situations that are probably equal to that that we’re looking at.”

What he’s attempting to say is there are two other teams possibly prepared to offer the same amount of money, but aren’t nearly equivalent in their possibility of winning a championship next year for obvious reasons.

Lewis’ career has taken an obvious hit, which is why he may just end up getting signed with either a mini mid-level or the veteran’s minimum.

Lewis, who will be turning 33-years-old in August, only played in 28 games last year and struggled to shoot 24 percent from beyond the arc due to knee problems. He only played in 57 games the year before and shot 36 percent from deep. Coincidentally, his career started to go south once he joined the Washington Wizards, where many careers see a bright light at the end of a tunnel.

The Heat have also shown interest in two big men who can make their presence felt down low as well.

Jordan Hill of the Los Angeles Lakers has actually been a rumored name circulating around the Miami Heat. The 6’10” power forward hasn’t exactly lived up to the status of being a number eight pick and it probably explains why the Los Angeles Lakers may be willing to give up Hill, who only played 19 games with the team last year.

Hill proved to be a spark down low for the Lakers in their short playoff run; providing rebounds, defense and physicality on both sides.

In 39 games split between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, Hill averaged 5 points and 4.8 rebounds per. In 12 postseason games with the Lakers, Hill posted up 4.8 points and 6.3 boards per, but also shot a measley 43 percent from the field. That’s horrendous for a 6’10” player who stays in the post.

I wouldn’t see the point of obtaining Hill, to be perfectly honest. I’m not sure of something he provides that Ronny Turiaf or Joel Anthony couldn’t already. Miami has enough power forwards and centers that create no impact, so why waste a contract on a player you already have two of?

While I am against the idea of this team wasting a deal on a big man who wouldn’t get much playing time, I certainly wouldn’t mind the team acquiring 39-year-old defensive specialist Marcus Camby.

As much as we all liked seeing Chris Bosh excel at playing center last year, the team could still use a pure center to go play physical, match up with the bigger centers and attempt to go after rebound. Miami shouldn’t have to rely on LeBron James so heavily to rebound because it just may hurt them later on when they need his energy.

Camby, who has been in contact with the Heat, is an excellent defensive player and that explains why he’s still a relevant player after 16 years of playing professional basketball. He’s most recently coming off stints split between the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, where averaged 4.9 points, 9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per.

His current team in the Rockets recently signed Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik to a lucrative offer-sheet. It’s essentially an indication by Houston that Camby is not their desired starter at the position and are willing to dole out a large amount of cash in order to secure a player who plays a similar position.

Don’t you think that does something to a player’s mentality? He expects the Rockets to be courting him this free agency period, yet their first move of the offseason was to go after a center that would start over him and receive more minutes.

However, word is that Camby would still like to play for the Rockets, although he has admitted interest in playing with the Miami Heat as well.

If Camby does sign with the Heat, it will most likely be with the mid-level exception. Marcus reportedly does not want to sign a veteran’s minimum. Whether this has turned the Heat off at all, we’re not sure of.

There is still a lot of time before signings actually begin to happen on July 11th. That means more time for players to weigh their options and teams to decide whether or not they’re willing to pay a certain amount. Most players won’t be as indecisive as Dwight Howard, but there is always the possibility of a change in a decision.

For now, we’ll just have to sit back and allow the general managers and team presidents to do the talking.


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