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Heat return Mario Chalmers, James Jones, and Juwan Howard for another go-around

Dec 9, 2011, 5:03 PM EST

Mario Chalmers Getty Images

Although the Miami Heat’s failure to win the NBA title made them a frequent punchline, let’s not soon forget just how quickly the Heat were able to rise to the top of the league. Miami is an altogether incredible team, and though they squandered an opportunity in the NBA Finals, they likely need only to make minor tweaks here and there while building on last season’s excellence in order to return to that stage.

The Heat took a step in that direction on Friday, as Mario Chalmers, James Jones (according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com), and Juwan Howard (according to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports) are set to return for another campaign in Miami. The status quo that earned Miami the Eastern Conference championship has been preserved, and the addition of Shane Battier (along with hopefully healthy seasons from Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem) will only push them forward.

Howard wasn’t terribly essential (or even all that useful, if we’re being blunt), but both Chalmers and Jones were important pieces for the Heat’s spacing and perimeter defense. Chalmers gets a lot of flak for his perceived failings as a point guard, but he harasses opposing ball handlers and brings a solid three-point stroke. Jones is even more accurate from the perimeter and just as stingy on defense, but has a tendency to be overlooked thanks to his shiny, superstar counterparts at both wing positions. He may not command much attention, but Jones is exactly what the Heat need him to be, and losing him in free agency would’ve been a hit to an already shallow roster.

The interesting thing with the Heat: with the exception of Jones, the length and cost of the rest of their off-season deals are not yet known. Miami is a player for veteran minimum signings regardless, but depending on how much is committed to Battier and Chalmers, the Heat could conceivably have room with their mid-level exception to sign another player. It’s unlikely considering that the amnesty clause has not been used on Mike Miller (which would make Battier’s deal a virtual shoe-in for the taxpayer mid-level exception), but at this point we can’t be absolutely sure without knowing what the precise parameters of these deals are.

  1. cantonbound13 - Dec 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Don’t they need another all star? What are they going to do when LeBron disappears in the 4th quarter again?

  2. thenmoveback - Dec 9, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    Heat will win it all this year

  3. 00maltliquor - Dec 9, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Re-signing Juwan Howard is a curious move

    • kinggw - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:05 PM

      Its called veteran leadership and six fouls when you need em.

  4. bozosforall - Dec 9, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    VOID!!!!!

  5. goforthanddie - Dec 9, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Nice to see Miami addressing it’s center needs by resigning the same patheticness they had last year. Curry/Howard ftw.

  6. progress2011 - Dec 9, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    I’d like to see the Heat pick up a pure point guard. To free up LBJ and Bron from ball duties, they need:

    1. A great ball handler with
    2. Pass first mentality
    2. Good Defender

    The Celts don’t want Rondo any longer, the Heat have 6 Free Agents….heck ship all of them to Boston for Rondo.

    Since Rondo is kinda a long shot, a young athletic, super-quick, good defender and ball handler in Atlanta named Jeff Teague, would be an awesome deal.

  7. reedme16 - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Heat didn’t lose because of their center. They made it to the Finals without one. Not that big of a deal

    • philtration - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:35 PM

      Really?
      I could have sworn that the Mavs won the title because of their all star Center’s play.
      Congratulations to the Heat on losing in the finals.

      I award you the Gary Payton award.

  8. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    Punchline? Didn’t se Boston laughing. Didn’t see Chicagp laughing.

  9. reedme16 - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    No they didn’t. They lost because the Mavs shot lights out and their offense was horrible against the zone. And Dirk its a PF who plays like a guard. Again none of these factors were because of their center…genius!

    And fyi Payton got a ring the 2nd time around with the Heat…..Barkley award or Malone award would have been funnier!

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