‘pre-agency’ a conundrum
when Paul George re-upped this summer with the Oklahoma City Thunder and when Kyrie Irving vowed to do the same with the Boston Celtics.
For the Heat, that means it either is Plan B for 2020 free agency or perhaps utilization of that space in a trade for a potential 2021 free agent.
Beyond Davis, the free-agent class of 2020 hardly is transformative, with the list of unrestricted free agents currently headed by DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Draymond Green, Eric Gordon, Tim Hardaway Jr., Tristan Thompson, Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, as well as 2019 restricted free agents who potentially could turn into 2020 unrestricted free agents.
In other words, the Summer of 2020 hardly projects as gamechanging.
Then there is the option to hold off until 2021 free agency, similar to what the Lakers did with their cap cache this past offseason, when the list of unrestricted free agents could include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Paul George, Gordon Hayward and, again, LeBron,
IN THE LANE
The way Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau looks at it, Derrick Rose could become the second-coming of Tim Hardaway, a point guard seemingly reinventing himself at 30, just as Hardaway was able to write a second career chapter with the Heat starting at 29 in 1996. “It’s different if a guy is mid-30s, late-30s, and then you’re saying, ‘That would be a stretch,’ “Thibodeau told Chicago’s Sun-Times of Rose’s revival. “But because of his age, I thought he had the capability again. And the guy we used was Tim Hardaway, who went through something similar [at] Golden State, was injured, and came back and had great years in Miami. If Derrick can remain healthy, it is going to be great for him.” The Timberwolves face the Heat on Sunday at 6 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena, below where Hardaway’s number hangs in the rafters.
Before LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh came together with the Heat during the 2010 offseason, there was talk of James trying to form a super team in Cleveland. During his ESPN interview that aired on Christmas, James admitted what had stood as apparent for years. “A lot of people didn’t want to come to Cleveland, let me just throw that out there,” he said. “I tried to recruit so many guys to come to Cleveland, and we actually had -- I had -- a couple guys, and it just didn’t work out.” And then? “It wasn’t hard getting guys in Miami, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “So now that I think being in L.A., I don’t think it would be that hard to get guys here.” The litany that arrived at a discount to play alongside LeBron in Miami included Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Chris Andersen, among others.
In attempting to assess the pressure on his team, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr apparently overlooked the mayhem that engulfed the Heat at the start of the Big Three era in 2010. “We’re maybe the most scrutinized team in the history of the league,” he told ESPN. “We’re right there with the Bulls teams that I played on. I felt the same, but even more so now because of the number of media outlets and the immediacy of the judgment and criticism.” Um, yeah, no. Nothing was as intense that first Heat season when LeBron tried to play villain in 2010-11, leading to the NBA Finals demise against the Dallas Mavericks.
Without or without the trade of DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, Wade said he was surprised the Raptors weren’t part of Wednesday’s featured NBA fare. “I was surprised they didn’t have a Christmas game,” Wade said when the Heat hosted the Raptors the day after Christmas. “I don’t understand why they didn’t have a Christmas game, whether DeMar is there or Kawhi is there.” The Heat last played on Christmas in 2015.
If Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest product Brandon Knight is going to make a breakthrough with the Houston Rockets, it might have to come on his own schedule, as he works back from knee surgery. “He’s in a tough spot,” coach Mike D’Antoni told the Houston Chronicle. “He hasn’t played in a year and a half.”
Pelicans superstar forward Anthony Davis will become a free agent after the 2019-20 season — if he’s not traded beforehand. THROWBACK