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The Miami Heat are kicking the tires on a number of big men to round out its 2012/13 squad, one of whom is a member of the illustrious draft class that produced LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
Darko Milicic's agent told the Sun Sentinel last week that the Heat have inquired about Milicic after he was released via the amnesty clause by the Minnesota Timberwolves. "We have had some conversation," Marc Cornstein said to the Sentinel. "We've certainly talked about it."
Milicic was the second player chosen in the 2003 draft, just after James and two picks before Bosh (then Wade) were selected. After two and a half seasons riding the bench in Detroit, the Pistons traded him to Orlando, and he has played for three other teams in the interim.
Milicic only has two seasons with more than 23 starts under his belt, a 64-start season with Memphis in 2007/08 and 69-game season with Minnesota in 2010/11. For his career he has averaged 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game.
Milicic's agent called the Heat's overtures just "preliminary conversations," but his status as an amnestied player gives Miami some help in signing him. Like Lewis, who was amnestied by New Orleans earlier this offseason, Milicic will receive his entire salary from his former team next year, making him less likely to chase larger contract offers elsewhere.
Miami can only offer the veteran minimum of $1.3 million to Milicic. They gave the same deal to Lewis, who will receive $14 million from New Orleans.
The Heat have already added Ray Allen and Lewis to its deep bench, but still want a center to complement a rotation of Bosh and Joel Anthony. The Heat will reportedly take another look at Ronny Turiaf, who opted out of a one-year player option ahead of the start of free agency.
The 7-foot Milicic offers a size advantage over Turiaf, but Miami could still go with recent draft pick Justin Hamilton or reserve center Dexter Pittman as well. The Heat do not have the financial flexibility to target anyone who can earn more than the veteran minimum elsewhere, so they will have to acquire a center with more than a few flaws, as each of the four centers mentioned above have.
But when the biggest question mark heading into a title defense is the 13th guaranteed contract on the roster, it is safe to say that the Heat are suffering only from the problem of abundance this offseason.