Teams in big markets have it much better than those in smaller cities to attract talent in free agency. Or so we’ve been told over the years. Is that accurate? We explore that in a series of articles ranking the top free agent acquisitions of NBA teams in the last 25 years.
Today: Miami Heat.
10. Brian Grant (August 2000)
Stats: 11.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 48.2 FG%
Signed a massive seven-year, $86 million deal to play next to Alonzo Mourning, but would often play in his place with Zo dealing with kidney issues. Did pretty well out of position at center for a good but not great Miami squad.
9. Luol Deng (July 2014)
Stats: 14.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.1 apg
No longer All-Star material, yet an efficient player at both forward positions for the Heat the last two seasons.
8. Lamar Odom (August 2003)
Stats: 17.1 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 4.1 apg
The do-it-all forward came close to making the All-Star Game and helped the Heat win a playoff series during his lone year in Miami. Would be a pawn in the Shaquille O’Neal blockbuster trade.
7. Ray Allen (July 2012)
Stats: 10.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 39.8 FG%
Left the Celtics for South Beach and won an additional ring because of it. Will always be remembered by Heat (and Spurs) fans thanks to that clutch three-point shot in the 2013 Finals.
6. PJ Brown (July 1996)
Stats: 9.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 47.2 FG%
Pat Riley‘s late 90’s Miami teams emphasized defense over all other things and that fit perfectly with PJ Brown’s brand of basketball. His physical play earned him two All-Defensive Team selections while with the Heat.
5. Udonis Haslem (August 2003)
Stats: 7.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 49.2 FG%
Few would have expected the undrafted forward out of Florida to become an important piece for three championship teams, yet that’s exactly what he became in Miami. Not gifted with much offensive talent, Haslem has given the team strong post defense, rebounding and locker room leadership for 13 years now.
4. Eddie Jones (August 2000)
Stats: 16.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.0 apg
Led the Heat, a squad not known for its offense, in scoring four years in a row in the early 00’s before losing his starting spot to a young player called Dwyane Wade. His two-way play was quite an asset for his hometown team for six seasons, but never won the title there.
3. Hassan Whiteside (November 2014)
Stats: 13.3 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.2 bpg, 61.4 FG%
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We had another example with Whiteside, who became one of the top centers in the game in Miami after being waived twice by the Memphis Grizzlies in the fall of 2014.
2. Chris Bosh (July 2010)
Stats: 18.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 49.6 FG%
The Heat’s third wheel during Miami’s LeBron years remained super productive after King James’ departure. May sadly see his terrific career cut short by health issues.
1. LeBron James (July 2010)
Stats: 26.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 7.0 apg, 54.3 FG%
As expected, King James turned Miami into an instant contender. Made the Finals each year he spent in South Beach and won two championships and two MVP awards there. We probably saw peak LeBron in a Heat uniform during the 2012-13 season.