Jun 13, 2011, 9:02 PM EST
This isn’t a rumor based on sources so much as it is one based on common sense. As well as Joel Anthony played as a starting center against both Boston and Chicago, the Heat desperately need a true center who can protect the rim, finish plays, and provide both size and athleticism on both ends of the court.
The problem is that they don’t have much money to spend, and will probably have even less after the new CBA is completed. So they need an effective 15-20 MPG “show starter” at center (it seems likely that the team’s crunch-time lineup will still be a “small” one next season, with either Anthony or Haslem manning the 5 spot), who can do center-like things and would come at a low price. (Heat fans may have pipe dreams about either Tyson Chandler or Nene, but Riley enticing either of those players to join his team at a severe discount would make his free-agency haul last season look like child’s play.)
The natural option seems to be Samuel Dalembert, who just completed the final season of a contract with the Kings that paid him $13.5 million. Dalembert would probably have to take a pay cut to join the Heat as well, but he wouldn’t make anything near what Chandler and Nene will make this off-season on the open market, and the allure of playing with James, Wade, and Bosh, as well as Miami’s large Haitian community, could be enough to entice Dalembert to sacrifice some cash and join the Heat.
Of course, Dalembert will get other offers, particularly from the Knicks, who also need a center, have some star power, and play in a huge market. If Dalembert decides to take the money, there’s not a whole lot the Heat can do to upgrade their roster without making a major move. The Heat will have a hard time improving their roster significantly this summer, which makes the fact they choked away two sizeable fourth-quarter leads in the NBA Finals that much harder of a pill to swallow for them.
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