Miami Heat make all the right moves as LeBron-less era begins

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The Heat signed two players for which it had draft rights; 2014’s first round draft pick, point guard Shabazz Napier and 2013 second round pick, forward James Ennis.

Justin Hamilton is another young player who the Heat drafted but due to his inexperience and youth he didn’t find playing time last season. The seven foot center was drafted by the Heat in 2012. All three players have been participating in the NBA’s Summer League.

The Summer League is the NBA equivalent to the NFL’s mini-camp and preseason. Each of the thirty teams have a team which it usually fills with young promising talent. Napier, Ennis and Hamilton played for the Heat in the Summer League.

Shabazz had a mostly dreadful showing with twenty-seven percent shooting in seven of nine games he played. In five games he threw up six or more three point heaves, making less than seventeen percent of those shots.

The Good Guys

On the other hand, James Ennis and Justin Hamilton had fantastic summer leagues. One game James shot ten of twelve (eighty-three percent), seven of eight from the three point line for twenty-nine points. Three games with seven or more rebounds, three games with two or more steals and every game Ennis had at least one assist.

Ennis also spent the 2013 NBA season playing in the Australian National Basketball League, where he was an all-star and won the league’s championship with the Perth Wildcats.

In five of the eight Summer League games Hamilton played in he scored at least fifteen points with only one game below ten points (nine). All but one game, Hamilton grabbed at least five rebounds. Throughout Summer League play Justin shot eighty-one percent from the free throw line and in one game Hamilton made ten of ten free throws.

Shabazz Napier signed a contract which will pay $1.2 million this season. James Ennis signed a contract which will earn him about half a million during the 2014 NBA season. Justin Hamilton was signed to a two year contract last season, giving him the league minimum of $.816 million this year.

Fresh Faces

The Miami Heat did not only re-sign old names and past draft picks, the organization went out and picked up a few free agents to soften Miami’s transition from the LeBron-era.

Miami picked up Luol Deng for two years almost $20 million. Luol is contracted to make $9.71 the 2014 season and $10.15 million the 2015 season. This free agent signing may turn out to be the best bargain of the 2014 NBA free agency. In a year where most marque free agents got obese contracts, Miami held strong at $10 million annually while Deng was reportedly demanding $12 million.

With Udonis Halsem signing for the mid-level exception the Heat cannot use their bi-annual or full mid-level exceptions. That means free agent signings of Danny Granger’s $2.2 million and Josh McRoberts’ $5.35 million will be tacked on prior to reaching the salary cap.

This means the possible $10 million for an additional marque free agent, I wrote about this last week, is eaten up. That may not be a bad thing. In this free agency market, where most players are being over paid, it may be best to save some cap space for the 2015 free agency.

Not to mention $2.2m and $5.35 million is hardly overpaying Granger and McRoberts.

Miami Heat

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