In what is either a prelude to the Miami Heat’s star core remaining intact or a big disappointment for Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, the Heat agreed to deals with both second-tier free agents Monday, according to multiple reports.
McRoberts agreed to a four-year, $23-million contract that included a player option for the fourth year. Granger agreed to a two-year, $4.2-million contract. Both deals cannot officially be announced until the free-agent moratorium ends Thursday.
The deals give Heat President Pat Riley two tangible selling points in his bid to keep LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade together, though they weren’t exactly the big splash Riley had hoped to make in free agency. Top targets Kyle Lowry, Marcin Gortat and Spencer Hawes agreed to sign elsewhere, leaving the Heat with few options to upgrade the margins of its roster given the financial constraints keeping its star players together would impose.
Other financial tools at the Heat’s disposal to fill out the roster are a $2.2-million trade exception as well as a slew of veteran’s minimum contracts. Of course, that’s in addition to the team’s ability to exceed the salary cap by re-signing its own free agents.
McRoberts’ agent, Mike Conley Sr., told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel that his client signed with the hope that the Heat’s core would stay together.
“Obviously we did it with the hope that enough of them will be there,” Conley told the newspaper. “That doesn’t mean we did it with the expectation that all will come back.”
Bosh is being pursued by the Houston Rockets, who are dangling the opportunity to return to his home state and play alongside Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons. James’ agent has already met with several teams interested in signing the game’s best player, including the Lakers, and is reportedly going to meet with the finalists and James later this week.
McRoberts, a 6-foot-10 power forward and center, is coming off his best NBA season and played well for the Charlotte Bobcats in their first-round playoff series against the Heat. He averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists during the regular season and is widely considered one of the league’s best passing big men.
Granger spent the latter portion of the season with the Clippers, showing flashes of his former All-Star form but largely underwhelming off the bench. He averaged eight points in 12 games with the Clippers.