The Heat currently is in desperate need of an additional veteran presence in its frontcourt, but adding a player to the roster would mean abandoning the development of a younger talent.
The Heat has dedicated significant resources and roster space to younger players this season, and that decision has put additional strain on the current group now that power forward Josh McRoberts is out indefinitely and center Chris Bosh is recovering from a sprained calf. The team is at a crossroads of sorts. The Heat can either remain committed to the younger players or find players who can help immediately.
One-third of the Heat’s roster — centers Justin Hamilton and Hassan Whiteside, guards Shabazz Napier and Andre Dawkins and forward James Ennis — are long-term projects, but the Heat also needs some help in the short-term. Bosh didn’t travel to Brooklyn with the team and could be out a few weeks, and McRoberts is probably done for the season.
On Tuesday, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was noncommittal when asked about the possibility of bringing in a new player or two, and said he hadn’t spoken with president Pat Riley about upgrading the roster.
“I haven’t talked to him [Tuesday] about that, so my focus is on [playing the Nets],” Spoelstra said. “I’ll be in contact with them, but that’s not really my mind-set right now. That’s not my job.”
Whiteside, Dawkins and Chris Andersen are the only players who cannot presently be traded, though Dawkins becomes trade eligible on Dec.23, and Andersen can be traded on Jan.15. Whiteside is protected for the season. The Heat also could release one of its players with a one-year contract and then sign another player. That seems unlikely, though.
Spoelstra spoke resolutely before the game about the Heat’s growth as a team despite all the setbacks.
“We’re still focused on us getting to our game and not making excuses for who’s in or out of the lineup,” Spoelstra said. “But can we defend, get that ball of the backboard, get into offense quickly and can we share the basketball and still get to our attacks?
“We feel we have enough players to still get to that game, and that’s the challenge.”
Center Udonis Haslem joked with the Heat’s available players on Tuesday morning that the game against the Nets would be like the movie Expendables Part 5. Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard practiced with the team’s players during its shootaround at Baruch College in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.
“You just keep the guys laughing and joking and free, and I let the guys know that regardless of who lines up that we play for each other and with each other,” Haslem said.
The Heat is strapped for post players at the moment, but Haslem says he doesn’t expect the season to tailspin out of control like in 2007-08. The Heat went 15-67 two seasons after winning its first championship.
“I’m not even worried about that,” Haslem said. “I’m sure that won’t happen. Dwyane and I were very, very young, and we didn’t understand what it took to come back from a championship season, but I think we know better now.”
Play was suspended at Barclays Center for 29 minutes when a leak in the roof began dripping rainwater onto the court.
The drip started around 8:06 p.m., and play didn’t resume until 8:35 p.m. Arena personnel initially placed towels on the court, but two different trashcans were then used to control the mess. The first trashcan wasn’t big enough, so it was traded out with a larger model. Teams had three minutes to warmup after the leaking stopped and the court was cleaned and dried.
Wednesday: Jazz at Heat
When/where: 7:30 p.m.; AmericanAirlines Arena.
TV/radio: Sun Sports; WAXY 104.3 FM, 790 AM and WAQI 710 AM (Spanish).
Series: Jazz leads 32-23.
Noteworthy: Chris Bosh is out with a strained calf, and Josh McRoberts could miss the rest of the season with a torn meniscus. Danny Granger missed Tuesday’s game in Brooklyn with a stomach bug and is doubtful for Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz. … Derrick Favors (ankle) is doubtful for the Jazz. The power forward injured his ankle against the Heat last Friday. Rudy Gobert started for the Jazz on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.