Heat Free Agency

Chris Andersen tops priority list for Miami Heat in free agency

 

Retaining backup center Chris Andersen is Miami’s priority, but signing a young veteran could be an option.

WEB VOTE Which team will challenge the Heat most in the Eastern Conference next season?

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

With 12 players signed to guaranteed contracts, the Heat will approach Monday’s start of NBA free agency with patience. Miami’s only priority at the outset will be re-signing center Chris Andersen, who can be paid either $1.7 million or the Heat’s $3.2 taxpayer’s midlevel exception.

If Andersen re-signs, only two other roster spots will be available, unless the Heat uses the one-time amnesty clause on Mike Miller (team president Pat Riley said he is disinclined to do that) or Joel Anthony. The Heat figures to sign at least one young veteran in August or September, as it did last year with Josh Harrellson.

Here are some unrestricted free agents, and the Heat’s perspective:

• Centers or forward/centers: Greg Oden, Marreese Speights, Cole Aldrich, DeJuan Blair, Andrew Bynum, Jason Collins, Sam Dalembert, DeSagana Diop, Ryan Hollins, Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson, Chris Kaman, Nzar Mohammed, Jermaine O’Neal, Earl Barron, Andray Blatche, J.J. Hickson, Byron Mullens, Zaza Pachulia, Chris Wilcox, Brandan Wright, Johan Petro, Joel Pryzbilla, Ronnie Turiaf.

Riley said the Heat plans to explore signing Oden if he’s healthy. If the Heat can’t re-sign Andersen, there aren’t many appealing affordable options, unless Kaman surprisingly settles for a mid-level exception. If Anthony is amnestied, Hollins and Blair would be options. Don’t expect a reunion with O’Neal.

• Forwards: Aminu Al-Farouq, Lou Amundson, Luke Babbitt, Matt Barnes, Corey Brewer, Ronnie Brewer, Chase Budinger, DeMarre Carroll, Earl Clark, Marquis Daniels, Mike Dunleavy, Juwan Howard, Antwan Jamison, Wesley Johnson, Dahntay Jones, Carl Landry, Corey Maggette, Cartier Martin, Kenyon Martin, Jason Maxiell, Josh McRoberts, Paul Milsapp, Lamar Odom, Mickael Pietrus, Vladimir Radmanovic, Quentin Richardson, Jerry Stackhouse, Anthony Tolliver, Charlie Villanueva, Luke Walton, David West.

There are some intriguing young players who will command more than what Miami can offer. The Heat will peruse what’s left of this list in August and could add a young player that slips through the cracks. But there won’t be a necessity to add one, especially if a forward — such as draft-night pickup James Ennis — emerges during this summer.

• Guards: Tony Allen, Allan Anderson, Keith Bogans, Kyle Korver, Tracy McGrady, Martell Webster, Damien Wilkins, Dorell Wright, Nick Young, Sam Young, James White, DJ Augustin, Leandro Barbosa, Chauncey Billups, Marco Bellinelli, Will Bynum, Jose Calderon, Deaquan Cook, Keyon Dooling, Monta Ellis, Derek Fisher, Randy Foye, Daniel Gibson, Manu Ginobili, Devin Harris, Xavier Henry, Royal Ivey, Jarrett Jack, Mike James, Shaun Livingston, John Lucas III, Kevin Martin, Roger Mason Jr., Anthony Morrow, Jannero Pargo, A.J. Price, J.J. Redick, Nate Robinson, Nolan Smith, Sebastian Telfair, Jamaal Tinsley, Beno Udrih, Earl Watson, Elliot Williams, Reggie Williams.

Riley has no interest in adding another veteran point guard. The Heat will audition several young guards in summer league, including Texas’ Myck Kabongo and UNLV’s Anthony Marshall.

Haslem surgery

At a promotional appearance on Saturday, Heat forward Udonis Haslem told The Associated Press that he played more than four months with a torn meniscus in his right knee and will need surgery. He expects to be ready for the start of training camp.

Haslem reportedly sustained the injury Feb. 12 against Portland. He missed the following game with what the team listed as a right leg contusion. Haslem missed four late-season games with a sprained right ankle but suited up for every playoff game.

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