NBA Free Agency: Bargain Point Guards the Heat Should Target
From the minute LeBron James decided to opt out of the final year of his contract, it was clear what this move signified to team president Pat Riley: upgrade the roster.
And this message is understandable. With a bench that was completely ineffective in the Finals and a starting lineup that has some glaring holes, the Heat desperately need a few solid pieces to help bolster their core if they’re to win a third championship.
One spot that could use an upgrade is the point guard position, as it’s continually been regulated to young players like Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers over the last few years.
But with Chalmers on the free agent market and Cole being placed on the trading block, it appears the team’s only true floor general at the moment is rookie Shabazz Napier.
And while the former UConn star may be a serviceable option, it makes more sense for the team to bring in a veteran point guard that can both fluidly run the offense from day one and mentor Napier for at least one year.
So who could possibly hold the reigns at the point guard position for the Miami Heat next season but come at a reasonable price? Read on to find out our list of candidates.
Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic
It’s unfortunate to see Nelson’s fruitful career with the Orlando Magic come to an end, as the point guard had large success with the team and desired to stay with them for the remainder of his career.
But now with the 32 year old veteran hitting the open market, his new goal is to join a contender and win a championship.
“I feel like I can still play at a high level,” Nelson said. “Given the right opportunity, I think I can help a team get to a championship and win one. That’s my goal. That should be everybody’s goal: to win a championship. If not, you’re playing for the wrong reason.
Nelson would fit well with the Miami Heat, as he’s the perfect mentor for rookie Shabazz Napier and would provide the team with a much needed pass first point guard. The key to this pairing will be if he’s willing to take the veterans minimum.
Shaun Livingston, Brooklyn Nets
Livingston has signed a three year, $16 million contract with the Golden State Warriors, so he is no longer a candidate.
If Livingston wants to be a starting point guard on a championship contender, there’s no better place than the Miami Heat.
The 6’7″ floor general is fresh off of one of his most successful seasons in his career, holding averages of 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per 36 minutes as a starter for the Nets.
If he ends up joining the team, he’d give them a superb defender with the ability to guard 1’s, 2’s and 3’s, and allow them to run a combination of lineups, since he can play either guard position and occasionally the wing.
Ramon Sessions, Milwaukee Bucks
Sessions is one of the more underrated point guards in the free agency market, as his successful stint with the Bucks and Hornets have made teams wary of whether he’ll produce in a winning atmosphere.
But he’s a guy the Heat really need to target, as he’s evolved into one of the more aggressive point guards in the league, constantly driving to the paint and racking up free throw attempts like crazy, as evident by his nearly 5 free throw attempts per game.
As far as bargains go, this may be the best choice for Miami, since he more than likely would be willing to sign the veterans minimum and could infuse a nice blend of leadership and aggression into their backcourt.
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