Beasley not long for Miami?

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel had this to say about Michael Beasley’s future in Miami:

If Wade returns, then Beasley never will get to move closer to the leading-man role he so craves.

Considering his final act this season was being benched for the second half of Tuesday’s series-ending loss to the Celtics, it would appear that a parting would be in the best interest of all parties.

While Beasley should be able to produce breakout numbers on a team less caught up in pick-and-roll offense and defensive efficiency, his value is such that the best net gain in a deal for the Heat could be additional cap space.

Trying to continue to make this work could be very difficult for the Heat, especially if Erik Spoelstra is back as coach.

I’m not exactly sure why everyone is so down on Beasley. As John Hollinger put it, “Beasley produced the most successful disappointing rookie season ever, earning criticism for much of the year despite averaging 22.4 points per 40 minutes and posting a 17.23 PER.” His PER this season (16.16) was #28 amongst power forwards, but not a deal breaker given his rookie PER and the fact that he’s a 21-year-old kid coming out of rehab (for what, we do not know).

He’s a very good scorer, and probably needs to go to a bad offensive team where he can take a lot of shots. He has a poor reputation defensively, and would need to go somewhere where either a) defense doesn’t matter all that much, or b) there’s a strong enough defensive culture to offset his lack of desire on that end of the court. He’s enough of a competitor that I think he can at least get to the point where he’s not hurting his team defensively.

The bottom line is that he’s not fitting in with the Heat so he could probably be had for next to nothing this summer. It will be interesting to see where he lands.

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Joe Johnson leaving if Hawks lose?

In a recent chat, John Hollinger had this to say about the chances of Johnson returning to Atlanta if the Hawks were to lose the series to the Bucks.

Is Joe Johnson gone if the Hawks lose?
John Hollinger: I suspect so, just because it makes it so much harder for Atlanta to sell its management on operating at the tax line when the club is losing so much dough.

The series is a long way from over, but it’s an interesting question to ponder. Hollinger takes it from the angle of ownership not wanting to pony up for Johnson when the Hawks can’t even beat a Milwaukee Bucks team that is missing its best player.

That’s a legitimate question, but Johnson is a top five free agent this summer, do the Hawks really just let him walk? He was outplayed by John Salmons in Game 5, so he may need to come up big in Game 6 and lead the Hawks to a series win if he hopes to get a max offer from Atlanta.

The other perspective on this question is from Johnson’s point of view. Would he want to stay with a team that couldn’t get out of the first round despite suspect opposition? He may be ready for a fresh start after a semi-frustrating few years in Atlanta.

If the Hawks do indeed lose the series, it will be a big disappointment for a franchise and a fan base that was expecting at least an appearance in the Eastern Conference semis, maybe even an upset of the Magic an appearance in the conference finals. Given the turmoil surrounding the franchise’s ownership in recent seasons, it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s a serious shakeup in the roster if the Hawks do exit the postseason in the first round.

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It looks like Dwyane Wade is staying put…

…assuming Pat Riley can get him some help. Here’s what he had to say after the Heat’s loss to the Celtics in Game 5, per TrueHoop

“I’m looking forward to a good team to build, and being with some great players next year, and to continue to beef up our roster,” Wade said.

Notice his use of the pronoun “our.”

And also note that at no point did Wade ever expressly state a desire to head elsewhere. But he did place the onus on Pat Riley to make things happen over the summer.

“I’m not putting no pressure on myself. I think I put myself in a great situation three years ago to sign this deal to make sure that my team stays competitive. We’ve got some work to do, the front office has to do it, and there’s no pressure on me,” Wade said. “I’ve said where my heart is, and I think any player that’s thinking about wanting to come to Miami, they know where my heart is. You just have to see things being done and accomplished.

“We see that, and we’ll be talking again.”

I don’t see Wade leaving town at this point. After the Heat played pretty well over the last half of the season, he started talking about how Miami is where his heart is and that it’s the Heat’s gig to lose, and since the franchise is in a great position to add talent this offseason, he’s a good bet to stay put.

Michael Beasley, on the other hand, appears to be on the outs. He was benched for the entire second half of Game 5, and looks to be expendable heading into the offseason. This opens up another possibility that was seemingly closed a few months ago — the signing/acquisition of Carlos Boozer, who was once considered “too similar” to Beasley.

So if the Heat strike out on LeBron James and/or Chris Bosh, Boozer and/or Amare Stoudemire would be a good backup plan. I think either player would convince Wade to stay put.

With $42 million in cap space, the Heat are basically a blank slate. If they were able to move Beasley and his salary ($5 million), they would almost have enough to sign three max free agents. The problem is that the top guys all seem to play power forward or shooting guard. However, the Heat could have enough to add Rudy Gay and Bosh/Stoudemire/Boozer, or even David Lee.

If I were Pat Riley, I’d be in constant communication with Wade to see which players he’d most like to play with. By having his buy in, you would ensure that he’s happy with the players you’re bringing in. I wonder if Riley’s ego is too big for that…

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NBA announces 2009 salary cap, warns about 2010

The new salary cap figure is out, and it dipped slightly from last season.

The new figures for 2009-10 just announced by the league have set the salary cap at $57.7 million per team — down $1 million from $58.7 from 2008-09 — and the luxury-tax threshold at $69.9 million.

More importantly, the league is projecting a much bigger drop (as much as $8 million) heading into the 2010 season.

The official league memorandum, obtained by, forecasts a dip in basketball-related income in the 2009-10 season of 2.5 percent to 5 percent, which threatens to take the 2010-11 cap down some $5 million to $8 million from last season’s $58.7 million salary cap.

A significant drop for the luxury-tax threshold is also projected going into the summer of 2010. If basketball-related income drops by 2.5 percent in 2009-10, league officials are projecting a 2010-11 salary cap of $53.6 million and a luxury-tax line of $65 million. If BRI, as it is referred to in the NBA, decreases by five percent, teams would be looking at a $50.4 million salary cap and a luxury-tax line of $61.2 million in 2010-11.

What does this mean? Well, a team like the New York Knicks, who are projected to have a payroll of about $23 million heading into 2010 would have had about $35 million to spend had the cap stayed at $58 million. That’s plenty of money to sign to superstars. If the cap drops $5-$8 million, it means that they’re projected cap space will be in the $27-$30 million range. That makes signing two “max” players quite tough.

This is probably good news for teams looking to retain their superstars, since they can go over the cap to re-sign players. If the cap does indeed drop to $50 million, it would increase the chances of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson staying put.

NBA Rumors: Bosh and Wade talk about 2010, David Lee to Portland, and more

Chris Bosh discussed Miami as a possible destination next summer.

“As of right now, I’m not sure. I like Miami, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t know what comes along with being a part of that organization. I don’t even have any friends in Miami, which was the funniest part. A close friend of mine hit me yesterday and was like ‘Hey there’s another article out’ and I was like ‘What now?’ ‘Apparently a friend in Miami said you’re going to Miami.’ He sent me the article and I read it, and I’m like, ‘now they’re just making stuff up.'”

For Heat fans, re-signing Dwyane Wade and signing Bosh would be a dream scenario next summer. The best thing Miami has going for it (other than South Beach, of course) is Wade, so if Bosh signs he better hope that Wade doesn’t pull an Elton Brand and bolt. Speaking of…

Dwyane Wade discussed his hometown of Chicago as a possible destination next summer.

“I’m not ruling out a lot of places, including Chicago, but I’m not really thinking about those places. Like I said, 2010 is the year when I will sit down and open up my options and, hopefully, I’m still blessed and healthy to have those options and then go from there. But Miami is my number one option and I’ve made that clear. That’s where I want to be and, hopefully, we can get everything right here in Miami.”

Wade is just keeping his options open. He has said repeatedly that he’d like to stay in Miami, but he’s keeping the organization’s feet to the fire by insinuating that he still might leave if the franchise is unable to surround him with good players. The Heat are projected to have significant cap space next summer, so they could conceivably sign Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire or even LeBron James.

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