“Let’s face it, we stole ‘Bird,’ ” James said during the 2013 playoffs.
One of the most underplayed stories of the NBA since the Heat won the free agent bonanza in 2010 is how the team’s front office successfully has added quality depth for pennies on the dollar. Having the best player in the league overshadows a lot, especially the importance of role players in the postseason. But Riley, CEO Nick Arison and general manager Andy Elisburg have bolstered the Heat’s roster on the cheap ever since the team fizzled in the 2011 NBA Finals.
In back-to-back offseasons, Shane Battier and Ray Allen each agreed to take less money than what was being offered by other teams to join James, Wade and Chris Bosh. Battier was the unsung hero of the Heat’s 2012 championship and Allen’s contribution to Game 6 of the 2013 Finals represented arguably the biggest shot in the history of the franchise.
This offseason, the Heat could have used its mini midlevel exception on either Oden or Andersen, but did not and convinced them to sign for far less. Both deals were considered two more major free agent coups for the Heat, and if Beasley works out, using the amnesty clause on Mike Miller and clearing his salary off the books will be just another smart move in a growing list of many.
The Heat has named Juwan Howard an assistant coach and promoted Andy Elisburg to general manager. He was an assistant general manager to Pat Riley last season and is a significant portion of the Heat’s brain trust. Other moves within the organization heading into the season: Adam Simon has been named assistant general manager/general manager Sioux Falls Sky Force; Dan Craig has been named assistant coach of player development; Chad Kammerer is now the Heat’s director of NBA scouting/advance scout; moving from coaching to the front office, Keith Askins is now the director of college and pro scouting; Rich Fernando is now an executive assistant to coaches; Eric Glass, a video intern, is now in the video room full time; Tim Hardaway is now a scout in addition to being a community and corporate liaison.