With the Atlantic and Central divisions reviewed, it is time to take a look at free agents the Nets may be able to snag, from the Southeast division. We start that review with the Miami Heat, a good not great team with many free agents, and given the hope to leap to great, many interesting decisions:
Dwyane Wade: In staying with Miami on contract 3 in 2010, and then staying in 2014 when LeBron left, Wade has apparently decided to remain a Heat for life. Given the rules of this exercise (I am listing every free agent) Wade is listed here for posterity. He’d help the Nets, but there’s a 99.5% chance at least that he does not become a Net.
Hassan Whiteside: The Heat have a decision to make on Whiteside. Do they essentially eat most of their 2016 cap space by giving Whiteside $20-25 million per year (that is what he will command on this market), as well as paying Dwyane Wade? Or do they go in another direction to add multiple helpful pieces. Here’s the thing with Whiteside: players who make flashy plays blocking shots, or play on big name teams, tend to become overrated. The Heat’s defense is better when Whiteside sits than when he plays: is that worth $20-$25 million per season. Surely not, unless you deal Lopez for a player at another position, but I question whether that really makes the Nets better. And even then, the possibilities you deal Lopez to sign Whiteside and then don’t get him, or that you sign Whiteside first and lose leverage in a Lopez deal, are both very real.
Luol Deng: I like Deng because he is a sharp defender who can shoot the 3 and take a player off the bounce, but like Whiteside, he too is overrated. He’s played on good teams. And he is a genuine great person. Both conspire to make him overrated. Deng is having a down year, and, at 30, that’s at least a yellow flag. Couple that with the fact that the Bulls over the years never seemed to miss a beat when he went down, and he failed to bring a strong presence to the Cleveland Cavaliers or add to the roster in any way when he signed in 2013-2014, and I question whether the Nets should have interest, especially when he will command $12-$15 million per year.
Tyler Johnson: Johnson has provided some nice reserve guard minutes for Miami and, as a 40% three point shooter with decent ball handling ability, could be a reserve the Nets can take a look at this summer. Given the amount of free agents in Miami, they can only retain so much, and Johnson could be a defection. Johnson is a restricted free agent so Miami can match any offers, but they have more pressing priorities — both on the roster and off.
Gerald Green: It did not work out for Green in Indiana. It did not work out in Phoenix. He has been a fair reserve in Miami, but is not a good defender, and cannot shoot. Simply, he is overrated in Nets fan parts because he provided excitement during a lost time in 2012.
Amare Stoudemire: The fall of Amare is sad. He simply has very little to offer a team at this point, and the Nets do not need his services.
Beno Udrih: Udrih has not done much in Miami since being acquired in the Mario Chalmers trade. The Nets have enough mediocre reserve guards on the roster.
Chris Anderson: The Birdman does not fly the way he once did. He’s barely playing for Miami, and interest in him this summer will, and should, be scant.
Josh Richardson: Richardson is an athletic young wing. The Heat took him in the 2015 second round and have barely played him. They have a small $980,000 team option to retain him but perhaps, with Pat Riley planning a bigger strike, he is allowed to walk.
Udonis Haslem: The same can be said for Haslem as Birdman. Miami’s culture emphasizes rewarding suboptimal interests at times, to prove that the team takes care of its players (and after they got LeBron as a free agent, can you blame them?), so Haslem may indeed resign with Miami despite clear needs on the roster, and clear reason not to make him a priority.
Jarnell Stokes: Two years into his career, he has done nothing. The Heat have an $875,000 team option but may not even exercise it. A rookie who struggles is still seen as having value, and will get chances to develop. A second or third year player? The draft prognosis starts to matter less than the body of work.
Jarrett Jack for Josh McRoberts and two second round picks: McRoberts has been terrible in Miami, despite coming to much fanfare in 2014. The Heat have so many roster questions, with 11 free agents, and the hope that they can improve in free agency, even though their current players will absorb much of their cap space. To open flexibility they can dump one of their four 2016-17 contracts: Bosh, Dragic, Winslow, and McRoberts comprise those deals, but only McRoberts is worth dealing. Via this deal, the Nets would provide the Heat some flexibility to do bigger things. Jack won’t ever play for Miami if this deal occurs so they cannot give up too much, but the Nets should leverage a couple of second rounders, for renting cap space in 2017, and in 2018 if McRoberts exercises his player option.