Free agency is two weeks away and teams are ramping up for the frantic first few days. But after the high profile players are signed, several mid- to lower-level free agents will be available.
This is where the Heat had success last season and chances are they will be on the hunt for another James Johnson or Willie Reed or Dion Waiters again this year.
That brings us to one of the questions in today’s Heat mailbag. If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).
From @AsherWildMan6: Let’s just say Riley and the Heat catch a Whale. Last year we signed J Johnson, Waiters, Williams, Ellington, Reed to small deals to see them all out perform them. Who could be potential low cost one year investments to fill out a roster that are looking for a place to rebuild their value like guys listed above?
Nobody got more bang for their bucks than the Heat last season when it came to the lower priced free agents. Of the five players you mentioned, Wayne Ellington cost the most at $6 million. The Heat have the option as to whether they want to bring back Ellington at the same price but James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Willie Reed all will receive substantial raises after one season in Miami. Derrick Williams was released and finished out the season with Cleveland.
This season, the Heat should have room to fit in a similar lower priced free agent or two if they add one max player or brings back both Waiters and Johnson. The money could be left over from their cap space or be from the $3.3 million and $4.3 million exceptions they have available.
With that said, here are a few players that could fit into that category:
Luc Mbah a Moute, PF, Clippers (6.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg); Marreese Speights, C, Clippers (8.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg); Jonas Jerebko, PF, Boston (3.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg); Joe Ingles, SF, Utah (7.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg); Omar Crispi, SF, Minnesota (11.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Shelvin Mack, PG, Utah (7.8 ppg, 2.8 apg.
From @OS_KeepinItReal: With all this talk about free agency and possible trades, do you think the Heat roster will have as much turnover this season as last?
No. The Heat had seven new players on their roster at the start of the season and at the end after Okaro White took Derrick Williams’ spot. But last year it was necessary after Dwyane Wade left and the organization decided it was starting a rebuild. This year depends a lot on its free agents but if every player who can become a free agent does (including Chris Bosh) that leaves room for six new players. But I believe the Heat’s roster will include three or four new players.