They won the competition for Greg Oden, another free agent multiple teams were chasing. And they got him to take less money than was being offered elsewhere. This has happened time and time again over the past four summers and it's a central reason they're two-time champs who are the oddsmakers' favorite to do it again.
Because they got Oden at their price and on their terms -- assuring Oden that he'll be brought along slowly with an eye toward the playoffs, above all else -- the Heat have set this up as an all-reward, no-risk transaction.
Oden's story is well known. The five knee surgeries, the no games since December of 2009, a grand total of 82 games since being drafted No. 1 in 2007. Because of all that there is hardly any meaningful way to project what Oden will be for the Heat this season.
But the Heat will give the often-injured Oden a chance to reclaim his career. Oden, who hasn't played in a game since December 2009 due to knee problems, was officially signed Wednesday by the team to a two-year, $2.172 million contract, with the second year a player option.
"I am very excited and happy to be here," Oden said. "I'm thankful to the Miami Heat organization for bringing me in and I'm ready to get to work."
Oden, 25, announced last Friday he had chosen the two-time defending champions over San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta and Sacramento. He came to Miami this week and passed his physical on Tuesday.
While the Heat have won the past two NBA championships with former power forward Chris Bosh starting at center, bolstered last season by the addition of lanky shot-blocker Chris "Birdman" Andersen, Mourning sees Oden presenting another dimension in the middle, at 7 feet, 275 pounds.
"The game is played from the inside out," he said. "The biggest acquisition this summer was Dwight Howard, and when you have a player that caliber that can play the game inside and draw attention to that painted area, that makes all of his teammates better. Roy Hibbert has that ability. Dwight Howard. There's very few guys that have that ability in the league."
Work with Oden will come later, as the former Ohio State standout gets closer to a return to contact sessions. For now, Mourning's work is preparing players who might not get the second chance afforded Oden.
First, I haven't heard anyone in the know who believes Oden is anywhere close to playing big minutes. But if he could . . . ? Well, that's where it gets interesting, and for far more than perhaps Bosh returning to power forward. Instead, it could open the possibility for the Heat to give Oden and Chris Andersen a bit more next summer contract wise and then trade Bosh in a bid to beat back the "repeater" portion of the luxury tax. For now, everything is copacetic. But if Oden does emerge, especially before the trading deadline, there could be a huge impact on Bosh, either with his role or his future.
So, why Miami? San Antonio, Cleveland, Dallas, New Orleans, Sacramento and Atlanta all showed interest. That smile reappeared, frustration and disappointment a distant memory, before Oden answered.
"My friends told me, 'If you take out the possibility of getting hurt again, what other choice is there?'" Oden said. "If I take out the possibility of getting hurt, why would I not play with the champs?
"If LeBron decides to get another ring, I get one too, now."