Well, now LeBron is a free agent and has his choice of any team.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to LeBron’s decision to opt out. One, he could be interested in joining another team better suited to contend for a title right away. Two, he could be putting pressure on Heat president Pat Riley to restock the roster.
If that latter is true, here are five free agents the Heat can sign to bring LeBron back to South Beach:
1. Kyle Lowry
A point guard? That’s unheard of in Miami.
Mario Chalmers‘ struggles were glaring during the postseason, while Norris Cole is probably nothing more than a back-court spark off the bench. James hasn’t had a true point guard to play with since joining the Heat, and none of the point guards he had in Cleveland were too impressive either.
Sure, James is a point forward and can take the ball up the floor and dish out better than most point guards, but the Heat overall get better by the addition of a true point guard to facilitate the offense. It takes pressure off LeBron, and someone like Lowry is also a proven scorer.
When was the last time Miami had a true center?
Chris Bosh has transformed into a 3-point specialist, and LeBron is already busy facilitating the offense and being the primary scorer — does he also have to be responsible for guarding the paint and crashing the boards?
Gortat will have no shortage of suitors. It’s hard to find a center that’s as strong on offense and defense. The Heat need to find a big man, eventually, but he may be out of the team’s price range.
I don’t think Miami can afford or wants to bring him into town, but Stephenson is an up-and-coming scorer that can add some offense and some toughness to the team.
He averaged about 14 points and seven rebounds with the Indiana Pacers this season, and by signing Stephenson the Heat are not only adding talent but taking some away from their Eastern Conference rival.
The issue here, of course, is Stephenson’s riff with LeBron during the Conference Finals. I imagine that LeBron would be willing to put that behind him in order for the Heat to upgrade at shooting guard.
4. Patty Mills
Like Lowry, Mills is a quality point guard that could add some stability to the Heat offense.
Mills is not in the same class as Lowry. He was a big-time backup to Tony Parker, and his energy off the bench during the San Antonio Spurs’ title run brought that front and center.
If the Heat were to sign Mills, they’d be doing so with the hope he continues to develop. He’s still an upgrade over Chalmers, though.
The final spot came down to two shooting guards: Sefolosha and Nick Young.
I gave the nod to Sefolosha over Young because Young is a little bit more of a sporadic player, a little less reliable, and may be more inclined to shoot too much.
Sefolosha, on the other hand, is coming off a down year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but understands how to play alongside superstars. Sefolosha fits the mold of a defensive player, and with so much attention being paid to James, will get more open 3-point shots.