Much to the benefit of the Heat, the salary cap and luxury-tax system set forth in the new collective bargaining agreement will not be as punitive as anticipated–so Miami is expected to be aggressive in the free-agent market, with acquiring a center its top priority.
The Heat have about $65.7 million in salary commitments for the upcoming season, and the luxury-tax threshold is expected to be around where it was last season, $70.3 million. According to CBSSports.com, the luxury-tax rate will remain dollar-for-dollar for the next two years; it does not become more punitive until the third year of the new labor agreement. Additionally, luxury tax-paying teams will have the full midlevel exception available to them, as long as using it does not put them more than $4 million over the tax threshold.
The Heat’s top target is Samuel Dalembert, ESPN.com reported, and Dalembert told Fox Sports Florida Miami is one of his desired destinations.
Wings Grant Hill and Shane Battier also on Miami’s wish list, according to The Associated Press.
Dalembert averaged 8.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for the Kings last season. Joel Anthony, Miami’s starting center throughout the playoffs, averaged 2.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.
Dalembert, who has about 50 relatives in Miami and has a home in Boca Raton, hinted he might accept less money to play for the Heat than he could make elsewhere. He made $13.43 million last season but may have to settle for the $5 million midlevel exception if he wants to play in Miami, according to Fox Sports. Although he wouldn’t say he would agree to that, he did tell the site, “What is best for you might not be for the most money. … I’m keeping all my options open, but Miami could be a good fit for me.” The Knicks and Rockets are also possibilities, he said.
Whether or not they’re able to land Dalembert, the Heat likely will add talent to their roster this season. And, while ESPN reports the team may use the amnesty clause to waive Mike Miller, point guard Mario Chalmers, a restricted free agent who was a big factor in Miami’s playoff run last season, wants to return.