The Miami Heat isn’t wasting any time when it comes to preparing for a run at the NBA championship again next season. Even though their campaign ended just a few days ago with a six-game loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the club is making moves to strengthen itself next year.
The first thing the Heat did was offer Mario Chalmers a qualifying contract on June 15 to try and keep him with the club next season. The qualifying offer means that Chalmers will officially become a restricted free agent. This gives Miami the right to match any contract offer that he receives during the offseason.
Chalmers has stated that he wants to stay with the Heat, but he still might get some offers during the summer once free agency kicks in. He made just $847,000 this season and terms of the qualifying offer weren’t revealed.
Erik Spoelstra, the Heat’s head coach, said the club is encouraged by the progress Chalmers made this year. He added that Chalmers is a combination guard and will be able to become a starter under the proper circumstances. The coach also said Chalmers brings a lot of energy off the bench and can turn a game around because of his fine defense, playmaking, and scoring abilities. He feels this ability coming off the bench is what makes Chalmers unique.
All three of Chalmers’ NBA seasons have been spent in Miami. He scored 7.9 points on average this regular season to go along with 3.7 assists per game. His scoring average rose to 8.1 points in the playoffs while his assists dipped to 2.7. He was the club’s fourth-leading scorer in the finals behind LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade as he posted an average of 11.8 points on the board in the six-game series.
He also sunk 14 three-pointers against Dallas and had 32 of them in total throughout the playoffs. With Chalmers on the court in the postseason, Miami outscored their opponents by a total of 79 points, the best rating on the team. He started game six of the series and has been a starter in just over half of his 225 regular-season contests in Miami. Spoelstra said he was impressed the way Chalmers worked in the last two summers even though he missed some workout time due to a sprained ankle last year.
The Heat is also waiting to hear from Eddie House, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and James Jones regarding their options for next season. These players have until June 30 to let the club know what they plan on doing. June 30 is also the day the League’s collective bargaining agreement expires and it’s possible that a lockout could be in effect as soon as July 1, which is the day that free agency is scheduled to begin. However, nobody will be able to sign until the players and NBA come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.