Russell Westbrook’s decision to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder has restructured the Miami Heat’s roster goals for 2017. Pat Riley will have to look elsewhere to provide their in South Beach a new superstar to root for.
Riley has stacked the roster with players who signed up for one-year deals. The Heat should have enough cap space to land a max-level player next summer.
According to Hot Hot Hoops, Riley has now set his sights on Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Gordon Hayward. As early as now, the NBA’s version of Don Vito Corleone might already be pulling the strings to make the potential acquisitions a reality.
Riley can pitch to upcoming free agents the idea of them playing alongside athletic big man Hassan Whiteside. Additionally, he can bring up the many perks Miami has to offer.
The Heat also have a world-class development program that upcoming free agents might find appealing. Erik Spoelstra and his crew of motivators don’t get enough credit for turning players into the best versions of themselves.
Curry is on the last guaranteed year of his contract with the Warriors. Bleacher Report indicated that a contender is planning to lure the two-time league MVP away from the Bay Area if the Kevin Durant experiment falls flat on its face.
Curry will likely re-sign with the Warriors. But if there is one thing free agency has taught us, it is to never be complacent.
As for Chris Paul, the superstar point guard has a player option for the 2017-18 season. He could become an unrestricted free agent in the summer 2017 and could sign elsewhere if the Los Angeles Clippers fail to get their act straight next season.
Paul would do wonders for Whiteside’s career. However, it’s unclear how the point guard dynamic between him and Goran Dragic will play out in Miami.
In terms of fit, Gordon Hayward is the best free agent target for the Heat. He can play both wing positions and can even slide to the power forward spot in a small-ball lineup.
Wes Goldberg of All U Can Heat noted that the addition of Hayward would turn the Heat into a versatile and fun team. Whiteside would have four ball handlers in Dragic, Hayward, Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow to pass to on the fast break. All four players can also space the floor for Whiteside to operate down low.
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