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News » Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-08-11

Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-08-11

Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-08-11
The Heat, having lost in its bid to sign Lamar Odom away from the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, is back to where it began this off-season -- hoping to find improvement from within. Odom chose to re-sign with the Lakers despite aggressive courting from Heat superstar Dwyane Wade and Heat president Pat Riley. The Heat was offering Odom its $5.9 million mid-level for five years.

"When you get the mid-level exception I feel like sometimes you're in the backseat of a car and you're trying to backseat drive and hope somewhere there's a train wreck or something in your favor," Riley said.

Miami's payroll is near $70 million, which means it's on the cusp of exceeding the $69.9 million luxury tax and triggering the punitive dollar-for-dollar luxury tax. Heat owner Micky Arison has said he doesn't want to become a "tax team."

"Micky would be (a tax team) for Lamar," Riley said.

With Odom out of the picture, the Heat is looking to a group that includes Jermaine O'Neal, Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Daequan Cook and Dorell Wright to give the team an upgrade. It doesn't appear Miami is going to make a significant free agent addition.

"If we would have signed Odom, I would have thought differently about the lateral moves to try to support him," Riley said.

Among possible lateral moves were flirtations with Allen Iverson and Jamaal Tinsley. Neither signing appears imminent now. The Heat and Tinsley had a visit scheduled but it was canceled.

So, it appears Miami, which has 13 of last year's players under contract, will be largely the same team that lost to Atlanta in a seven-game first-round playoff series. And Riley doesn't consider that a terrible fate.

"We set the table and everything is on the table, and we're just waiting for the waiter to come with the menu," he said.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: August 11, 2009


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