NBA Free Agency Starts Today But Everyone Knows It Really Starts in 2010

The NBA Free Agency period started today at approximately one minute after midnight. And what can we expect the Miami Heat to do during this period? A lot. If a lot means signing an otherwise crappy player for less money and less years so that Miami can have the salary cap space to make a run at the crop of uber-talented free agents in the summer of 2010.

Free agents looking for a contract that carries beyond 2010 will have to move on and look elsewhere. While the Heat have a need at point guard and center, don’t look for them to make a big splash signing. In fact, expect them to sign either a player you thought was retired, a player you thought was dead, or that guy with the bad knees who just stands around and shoots 3-pointers in the pickup games at the park. Or, look for them to sign the next best thing: Anthony Carter (yup, still playing in the NBA!). Because like everyone else, the Heat is gunning for 2010, when players such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, and even Miami’s own Dwyane Wade will all be free agents. The latest reports have the Heat coveting Boozer and Bosh.

What this means in the short term is Miami entering the 2009 season with someone like Keyon Dooling or Beno Udrih at point guard. Although it looks like I just listed a couple of Star Wars characters, rest assured, they are real people. And either of them could very well be playing for your Miami Heat in 2009. The Heat could also target former FIU standout, and current all around tremendous boricua, Carlos Arroyo, as well as Chris Duhon. But both could command multi-year deals.

Meanwhile, there are those players the Heat need to consider re-signing. Ricky Davis says he’s willing to re-sign for two years. But Heat fans would rather see Bette Davis playing guard for Miami. Center Alonzo Mourning says he wants to play one more year, probably to pay off debts to Casinos, but his knees and his taste in beverages could be a concern all season. Dorell Still-Waiting-For-Him-To-Blossom Wright enters the off-season as a restricted free agent.

Oh, and this year’s salary cap takes an additional hit thanks to the season remaining on parking attendant attacking Smush Parker and the adventures of his craptastic contract.

Heat president Pat Riley says the overall plan is to build around Wade, Shawn Marion and rookie Michael Beasley. This means a short-term solution at bargain prices. This means another off-season of mediocrity. Heat fans need to take the long-term view on this. Everything the Miami Heat does this off-season is all about what they’ll be able to do next off-season.

- Chris Joseph

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