Miami Heat 2013 NBA Finals ChampionsFor the second straight season, the Miami Heat are the champions of the NBA.

It wasn’t easy, but Miami is the first team to repeat since the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010. Since Miami’s “Big 3” came together three seasons ago, they have had tremendous success, making it to the NBA Finals all three years.

But earlier in the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers showed the rest of the league the blueprint to beating Miami. With an entire offseason to prepare, it’s only logical to think that more and more teams will try to replicate the same “go big” strategy Indiana showed in the postseason.

Miami’s two biggest flaws this season were size, especially on the defensive end of the court, and a true post threat. So how can the Heat address those needs this offseason? What’s next for Miami?

The reality for Miami is that they don’t have ANY cap space to work with this offseason, unless if they amnesty or trade someone. Here are the five players set to be free agents this offseason and how much money they made this year:

Chris Anderson ($699.952)
Juwan Howard ($373,838)
Josh Harrellson ($358,680)
Terrell Harris ($304, 878)
Jarvis Varnado ($275, 804)

Chris Bosh LeBron James 2013 NBA Finals

Outside of Chris Anderson, not a single one of these guys played a single minute in the playoffs. Even if Miami doesn’t resign any of these players, they still won’t have enough cap room to sign someone to more than a bottom line, minimum contract.

Could Miami trade anyone to clear up some cap room? It’s possible, but it will be tough. There are rumors circulating around the NBA that Chris Bosh could be on the move. The Charlotte Bobcats had reportedly offered the fourth overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft for Bosh. Who knows if that rumor is true, but if it is, Miami would be foolish not to take it.

I know it sounds crazy to break up a team that just won back-to-back NBA championships, but other teams in the NBA have found out how to beat the Heat and they need to make changes if they want to three-peat. So hypothetically speaking, let’s say Miami and Charlotte make this trade. This opens up $17.5 million dollars of cap space for Mickey Arison and Pat Riley to work with.

But let’s start with the draft. With the fourth overall draft pick, Miami could potentially draft Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Anthony Bennett or Steven Adams.

Len would be the best fit, but the Cavaliers are rumored to love Len and will most likely take him first overall. Noel is a very good defensive player with a limited offensive game, and Bennett is a beast down low, but is a bit short for the PF position.

However, Adams would be a great fit in Miami. He is a physical beast and a great defender right now, and all the experts seem to think he is a year or two away from being a solid offensive player too. The skill set is there, he just needs to polish it off.

With Miami’s pick late in the first round, they could potentially draft a stretch big man like Duke’s Ryan Kelly to give them a pick-and-pop big to fill Bosh’s role.

In free agency, Miami could potentially sign J.J. Hickson, who was a beast for Portland this year. Hickson is a true back-to-the-basket type of post player and is a great rebounder. He isn’t an elite defender, but is a serviceable and could bang with the more physical bigs in the East. If not Hickson, they could look to sign David West or Paul Millsap to fill their void at power forward.

Miami’s biggest fear is losing early in next year’s playoffs and then having LeBron James leave in free agency. Arison and Riley know they have to make the future look as bright as possible to keep James in South Beach. While breaking up the “Big 3” would make the Heat a less talented team right now, it would make them a better team moving forward.

With Derrick Rose coming back, the Bulls are going to be a very scary team next year. They gave Miami a hell of a series this year without Rose, so imagine what could have been if Rose was healthy. The Pacers are only getting better, and we all saw how well they matched up with Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals.

If Miami trades Bosh and drafts/signs some of the players I mentioned above, they would matchup much better with Chicago and Indiana. They would finally have the size and the strength to bang with other physical, big frontlines.

While this new look Miami team might not be more talented than the “Big 3” Heat, but it could be more attractive looking at the future, which may potentially keep LeBron in Miami.

And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

[Mike Lucas Sports]


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!