Dwyane Wade’s departure from the Miami Heat has left a deep void in the team’s roster, but Pat Riley and company aren’t losing sleep about it. The team could eventually target free agents, including JR Smith and Lance Stephenson to take Wade’s spot.
Despite making timely contributions that helped the Cleveland Cavaliers win its first NBA champion this past season, JR Smith is still a free agent without a home. There’s still no confirmation from the Cavaliers if they plan on re-signing the mercurial shooting guard.
Smith is expected to receive a lucrative paycheck this summer. For an NBA journeyman like him, money comes first, loyalty second. If the Cavaliers fail to offer him a worthy contract soon, he may choose to play for another team who could offer him more playing time and a larger purse.
Enter the Miami Heat…
Pat Riley and his crew now have extra money to spend after Wade declined the team’s two-year $41 million offer. Smith may not be worth that much, but he would still be paid handsomely by the Heat, even more than what the Cavaliers can pay him.
All U Can Heat noted that Smith is a career 37.5 percent three-point shooter. Last season, he shot 40 percent from downtown. With Goran Dragic setting up the offense, Smith’s sole job is to get open for easy buckets.
Stephenson Turning Heel?
On the other hand, Lance Stephenson is also an unrestricted free agent this summer after the Memphis Grizzlies decided not to exercise their option. Will Stephenson move to Miami, where he drew ire during his time with the Indiana Pacers? Who could forget his popular encounter with LeBron James?
Sports writer Malcolm Haynes reported that Stephenson’s game is somewhat similar to Wade’s. Both shooting guards performs best when attacking the rim out of pick and rolls. He is also an above-average mid-range shooter and has the physical tools to defend effectively on the perimeter.
Stephenson’s biggest issues is maturity and effort. He was once mentioned in the same breath as James Harden and Demar Derozan. However, his on-court antics and sporadic performance has prompted many to seriously doubt if he will ever blossom into a legitimate NBA superstar.