Will Heat totally rebuild supporting cast?

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports:

The Heat’s voids extend beyond mere positional designations.

There is a need for a perimeter defender off the bench, someone who can take care of the heavy lifting on that end of the court so James and Wade don’t have to wear themselves down with such efforts, efforts that may have contributed to what appeared to be season-ending fatigue.

And there is a need for a speed guard, someone who can match what J.J. Barea, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday threw at the Heat through the four rounds of this season’s playoffs. For all that Chalmers can be, fleet of foot is not one of them.

There certainly will be ample roster spots available, with the contracts of Chalmers, Mike Bibby, Erik Dampier, Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire expiring on June 30, with option-year decisions in the hands of Eddie House, James Jones and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who appears to be leaning toward retirement.

In fact, the Heat could return as few as seven players from the current roster, when counting James, Wade, Bosh, Anthony, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and Jones.

But much like last summer, the Heat will be limited in their options to find upgrades. The Heat did not have a mid-level salary-cap exception last summer because of the utilization of cap space to sign James and Bosh. This summer, that exception, which approaches $6 million, could be eliminated from the new collective-bargaining agreement.

That could leave the Heat limited to a free-agent offer to Chalmers, who assuredly will receive a qualifying offer by June 30, thereby giving the Heat the right to match outside offers, and another round of minimum-scale contract offers.

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Author: Inside Hoops

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