As the static summer grinds on in Philadelphia, rumors of another Eastern Conference playoff team possibly making drastic changes are beginning to surface. We'll take a look after the jump.
Earlier Wednesday, ESPN reported the Lakers withdrew their contract offer to Lamar Odom. Later that night, two rumors made the rounds
regarding the Miami Heat. The first rumor was a five-year, full MLE deal for Odom (about $34M total). The second was a three-way trade landing Carlos Boozer in Miami as well. The only notable name leaving Miami would be Udonis Haslem and his expiring contract. Memphis would be the third team, landing picks, cash and a throw-in player to make the numbers work. Utah would save the difference between Haslem's contract and Boozers, times two because of the luxury tax (possibly as much as $10M). Miami would also send Dorell Wright and one more player, possibly Chris Quinn, to make the deal work under the cap. Wright would probably go to Memphis, along with the cash to pay his $2.8M salary.
If both rumors came to fruition, the Heat would have a rotation that looks something like this:
- Jermaine O'Neal
- James Jones
- J. Moon
- D. Cook
While I don't really think Boozer is a good fit in Miami, Odom would fit perfectly. He's exactly the type of complementary player the Heat need to share the floor with Beasley and Wade, two guys who aren't shy about jacking up shots. Odom's defensive toughness is sorely needed down there as well.
One more important aspect to these moves, they'd almost guarantee Miami would not be a player in next summer's free agent market. They'll be over the luxury tax just by re-signing Wade, and they'd also hold Boozer's Bird Rights. Essentially, this would be a one-year tryout for Boozer, but it would erase all their cap space for next summer, should they want to move in a direction other than Boozer's.
Thanks to Jeremy in the comments for correcting this section. The Heat would probably be able to afford signing Wade to a max extension and possibly have enough cap space left over to bring in another max deal, depending on where the cap comes in, if both of these trades were made.
The question is, would these moves keep the Heat above the Sixers in the standings? Personally, I don't think the Heat were a better team last season, but they did finish that way in the standings. For my money, Odom alone would make them a much better team, and probably a legit contender for a top four, if not top three seed.
Here's a look at the improvements playoff teams in the East have made thus far:
- Cleveland - Added Shaq, added A. Parker. Improved
- Boston - Added Rasheed Wallace. Improved
- Orlando - Added Vince Carter, added Brandon Bass, lost Hedo. Questionable.
- Atlanta - Added Jamal Crawford, Marvin Williams up in the air. Questionable.
- Miami - Nothing, yet.
- Philadelphia - Added Jrue, Kapono. Probably losing Miller. Worse.
- Chicago - Lost Ben Gordon. Worse.
- Detroit - Added Ben Gordon, Charlie Villaneuva. Questionable
Overall, it could break either way. Right now, I'd say the Sixers have a shot at moving up the ladder in the East if everything breaks their way. If Miami can pull off at least the Odom signing, it's going to be a much tougher road.