The new Miami Heat roster for the 2014-2015 season is younger, deeper, and more talented at several positions – which would make the Heat a far better team this upcoming season if not for the fact that the roster is also LeBronless. The departure of LeBron James sent shockwaves through Miami and had the potential to send the remaining roster, nearly all of whom were free agents, fleeing. But instead most of the remaining core has remained intact, with a few key upgrades. From Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on down to the Birdman and the new free agents, here’s a detailed look at the Miami Heat roster.
Dwyane Wade: He’s older, slower, and more injury prone, but D-Wade is far from done. He started seventy percent of the regular season games last season and still averaged eighteen points per game in the playoffs, a far cry from the “He sat out all year and still couldn’t do anything in the postseason” storyline portrayed by the national media. With LeBron gone, Wade becomes one of the primary scoring options for the team. And with the backcourt offense built around him again instead of defaulting to passes to James, the Heat gets to find out if he still has his shot.
Chris Bosh: He’s now the centerpiece of the Miami Heat frontcourt roster. Unless Bosh is still asked to defend centers on a nightly basis, he should be able to go back to being the scoring machine he once was in Toronto. Chris Bosh never made sense on this roster as long as LeBron was on it, but now is talents fit perfectly. Bosh will have perhaps the best offensive year of his career – but will it be enough?
Luol Deng: On the one hand Deng is a clear downgrade from LeBron James, whom he’ll be replacing in the four-spot in the starting lineup. On the other hand, he’s the most talented free agent that the Miami Heat have added to their roster in the past three years.
Josh McRoberts: The newly signed free agent likely starts at center, splitting minutes with the Birdman.
Chris Birdman Andersen: He re-signed with the Heat for roughly the same five million dollars per year that McRoberts is getting, meaning Miami sees the two as equally important. Regardless of who starts on any given night, the minutes will likely be split evenly between them.
Mario Chalmers: Heat fans won’t want to hear this, but he’s the best option on the roster for starting point guard when the season begins. Whether he keeps the job all season is a different matter entirely.
Shabazz Napier: The rookie first round draft pick could be the starting point guard by the time the season ends, but his struggles in summer camp mean he’ll likely begin the season as the third point guard on the roster.
Norris Cole: He’s one of the few pieces of trade bait the Heat have on their roster between now and December, when players like Chalmers can be traded. But Cole comes cheap (two million per year) and has plenty of long term upside.
Danny Granger: He’s too old and injury prone to be a starter, but his multi-position talents mean he could see bench minutes behind both Wade and Deng.
Ray Allen: Unlikely to remain in the Miami Heat roster, as the team has already renounced his Bird rights. He’ll either end up in Cleveland or in retirement.
Udonis Haslem: Hometown hero has re-signed with the Miami Heat, but his minutes on any given night will remain uncertain.
Shane Battier: Retired, signed with ESPN as an analyst.
James Jones: Signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James Ennis, Justin Hamilton: Both have looked sharp in summer camp and will earn at least an invite to preseason camp, with both likely making the bottom of the Miami Heat roster for the regular season.
Greg Oden, Michael Beasley: Both are still free agents. The Heat can only offer them the veteran minimum. May come down to how much interest and dollars other teams offer.