You’re about to see the Heat’s roster get cut down from 20 players to 15 over the next few days.
In this week’s installment of the Heat mailbag, we break down the biggest decision Miami will face heading into Monday’s deadline to trim down its roster.
@DiegoIsWrong: Who’s gonna get the roster spot between Briante Weber and Beno Udrih, and chances any other non-guaranteed players make it instead?
Anthony Chiang: This is going to be a close call. Briante and Beno bring different things to the table. Erik Spoelstra called them “two totally different players.” At age 23, Briante brings upside and defense. At age 34, Beno brings experience and veteran leadership. It will come down to what traits the Heat prefer to have in their backup point guard. The decision could also come down to money with Beno on a guaranteed contract and Briante on a partially guaranteed contract. To make a long story short, Udrih’s full $1.6 million salary will count toward the Heat’s cap as dead money even if he’s cut. But the Heat can cut Weber before the start of the regular season without owing him more money than the $218,659 he’s guaranteed up to this point.
With all that being said, I think the Heat make a surprising move and decide to keep Briante over Beno. With lower expectations than usual surrounding Miami this season, I think the organization values upside more than experience right now. Other than Briante, I don’t expect any of the other non-guaranteed guys to make the regular-season roster.
@HakeemTheLean: Do you think any Heat players are up for any awards (All Star/All-NBA) this season?
Anthony Chiang: To me, there’s only one player on the current Heat roster who has a realistic shot at that kind of stuff this season. Center Hassan Whiteside is going to put up big numbers as a key part of Miami’s offense this season. Hassan is averaging 26.8 points, 18.4 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per 36 minutes this preseason. If he averages anything close to those numbers in the regular season, he’s going to be an All-Star. And just like last season, Hassan will be in the running for the Defensive Player of the Year award again this year.
Also, don’t sleep on Justise Winslow. The 20-year-old’s defense could lift him into the All-Defensive team discussion.
@Luis3Reyes: Do you ever see Dwyane Wade coming back to play for the Heat before the end of his career?
Anthony Chiang: I definitely wouldn’t rule it out. Dwyane can become a free agent next summer with a player option as part of his two-year deal with the Bulls. But if he does come back to Miami, I don’t think it will be next offseason. It makes more sense for Dwyane to come back at the very end of his career for maybe his final season. That’s like three years down the road.
@da_wildcat: With the preseason about to be wrapped up, how many wins do you see this Heat team getting?
Anthony Chiang: Good question. You’re going to have to wait until this weekend when we release the Palm Beach Post’s predictions for the 2016-17 NBA season. Stay tuned …