Heat

2011 NBA Offseason: Michael Redd to Join LeBron, Wade, Heat?

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By Diego Quezada

With the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement set to expire June 30, several high-profile players like Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony attended a meeting between the owners and players union Friday in New York. While the two sides remain far apart on an agreement, Miami Heat President Pat Riley will most likely have to get creative and gutsy to complement the Big Three of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the future.

Many people have speculated that Greg Oden could be the high-risk, high-reward guy Riley targets this summer. Tom Haberstroh of ESPN’s Heat Index noted that Oden possesses strong rebounding skills and an offensive post game. But please don’t get your hopes up about this kid. All signs indicate that the Portland Trail-Blazers will pick up the qualifying offer on Oden’s contract for next year. Besides, Oden may not return to the court until January.

Michael Redd is a free agent this year, and stands as another player Riley can roll the dice on. The former star has battled injury problems of his own, tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee January 25, 2009. Less than a year later, Redd suffered the exact same devastating injury before returning to play 10 games at the end of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2010-11 regular season.

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Of course, Riley should consult with doctors before signing Redd to a contract. But unlike a move for Oden, this marriage would give Miami little to lose and a lot to gain. James Jones will probably exercise his player option to stay with the team, and Miller is still under contract. The Heat have depth at the wings if Redd suffers another injury.

The new, more restrictive CBA will force Miami to take risks on players like Redd. The left-handed shooter could not demand more than the veteran’s minimum on the free agent market, making South Beach a more likely destination for him as opposed to players like Tayshaun Prince or Shane Battier. Miami sure has its allure, and Redd played on the Redeem Team with Wade, James and Bosh, so perhaps the 6-foot-6 guard wouldn’t mind playing for the Heat.

The Eastern Conference Champions have holes at the point guard and center positions, and Miami should re-sign Mario Chalmers and draft a point guard with the 31st pick next week. The Miami Herald reported that the Heat have strong interest in free agent center Samuel Dalembert, and he could fit well in Miami for the mid-level exception (if the next CBA keeps it). But Redd makes a lot of sense for this team.

During the summer of 2010, rumors circulated that LeBron James recruited Ray Allen to join the Heat. When he played well, Redd had a stylistically similar game to Allen; they both could come off screens to get their shots. Redd is more compact and quicker than players like Mike Miller and James Jones, who were primarily stand-still shooters this year. Moreover, Redd is not a one-dimensional shooter and has the size to post up defenders or use his mid-range game.

Miami needs some players on the bench to reduce the minutes of Wade and James. On the Heat, Redd could provide instant offense when Wade sits down toward the end of the first quarter. A bench consisting of Redd, Miller, Haslem and Joel Anthony – and that’s assuming the Heat don’t upgrade at point guard and go with Mario Chalmers as the starter – provides a sufficient scoring punch and defense. It’s the type of risk that’s worth taking.

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