The Miami Heat is trying to decide which player to select with the 13th overall pick in the June 20 NBA Draft. Together with Josh Richardson (age 25), Justise Winslow (age 23), and Bam Adebayo (age 21), whomever the Heat selects will be thought of as the future of the franchise. A youth movement is on the way. Whomever Miami takes, he'll likely be the youngest player on the roster next season.
The Heat should also consider adding what would be the oldest player on its roster next season — someone even older than Udonis Haslem, who at the age of 39 still hasn't ruled out returning for one final run with the team.
The Heat should sign 42-year-old Vince Carter, who has already announced that next season will be his own personal version of Dwyane Wade's #OneLastDance retirement tour.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has reported that if the Heat comes calling, Carter would be more than open to making Miami his pre-retirement home. The interest is there on Carter's side. The Heat should consider making the feeling mutual.
On the surface, the move might not make sense to a lot of Heat fans, but a closer, more thoughtful glance shows it might not be all that crazy to welcome Carter into the same off-the-bench role Wade mastered last season. It also makes a ton of sense for the Heat, which will likely see a drop-off in ticket sales and attention following Wade's departure.
The Heat — barring any fruitful trades that would likely include trading away the 13th pick — will be anchored by the contracts of many and the inadequacies of most. More often than not, Wade was the Heat's best player last season. That's equal parts sad and telling. Carter's skills, limited as they may be at his age, would fit nicely into the void left by Wade. Many times last season it was apparent the Heat was in desperate need of someone who had been there before. The team was out of control without Wade calming the pace. Carter could provide the same effect.
The Heat will also be a squad filled with youth. Besides the three core players and a new, wet-behind-the-ears draft pick, it's likely other large roles will be filled by guys such as Derrick Jones Jr. (age 22), Duncan Robinson (age 25), and possible even Yante Maten (age 22) if the Heat goes full youth-movement. That leaves relative veterans such as Dion Waiters (age 27) and Hassan Whiteside (age 29) to lead a team full of up-and-comers and rookies. Haslem is likelier to retire than to return, it seems. Vince Carter's leadership, at the very least, would be worth the price of his contract.
Really, with a season that is unlikely to provide anything in the way of true contention, Miami Heat fans and the NBA could do worse than seeing a Hall of Fame player and one of the best to ever play the sport finish with one of the classiest franchises in basketball. Carter saw how the Heat handled Wade's goodbye. Though his farewell likely wouldn't bring the same attachment in Miami, it certainly would be handled with the same carefulness, thoughtfulness, and class.
Heat fans should be interested in being a part of that next season. With the team waiting out salary-cap hell to get to a better place, it could do much worse than being a part of another Hall of Famer's series finale.
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