The Miami Heat are going to be the busiest team in the NBA this offseason.
Not only did the Heat’s big three of forward LeBron James, big man Chris Bosh and guard Dwyane Wade opt out of the contract, to become unrestricted free agents after midnight Tuesday morning, but veteran power forward Udonis Haslem did the same. In fact, the Heat currently only have one player, point guard Norris Cole, under contract for the 2014-2015 and they have reportedly made Cole available) and own the rights to one other player, the 24th-overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, former Connecticut Huskies’ point guard Shabazz Napier.
There have been rumors the big three don’t plan on going anywhere and opted out so the Heat could fit other players in the salary cap. Players like Toronto Raptors’ point guard Kyle Lowry, Washington Wizards’ center Marcin Gortat and swingman Trevor Ariza and Los Angeles Lakers’ big man Pau Gasol.
David Aldrdige of NBA.com offers up a cheaper option – Lakers’ big man Jordan Hill.
First: given the Lakers’ horrible season, Hill had an amazingly good PER last season. He ranked 11th among power forwards, ahead of the likes of David Lee, Zach Randolph and David West. He posted career highs in field-goal percentage and rebounds (7.4 per game). And after missing most of the 2012-13 season following hip surgery, Hill was relatively healthy last season, playing in 72 games, playing 20.8 minutes a game for the first time in his career.
Second: Miami doesn’t need a starter at power forward (assuming Bosh re-signs). It needs energy off the bench, another big who can help Chris Andersen and someone who can take some of the minutes Udonis Haslem used to play. The Heat went small with Shane Battier in The Finals because he could space the floor with his 3-point shooting. Hill doesn’t shoot the three, but his activity would give Miami some of the hustle points it couldn’t get against the Spurs.
Hill went for 9.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 54.9% from the field and 68.5% from the free throw line last season.