Last June's disappointing loss in the NBA Finals proved the Miami Heat were still a piece or two away from reeling in a title. Whether they can redeem themselves in 2012 will depend largely on what they can do before the start of the season to beef up their roster.
The NBA's post-lockout free agent frenzy does not officially start until December 9, but the Miami Heat are seeing interest from one free agent who could get them over the championship hump: former Sacramento center Samuel Dalembert.
It is not exactly a secret that the Heat covet a big man who can control the painted area on defense and make easy buckets when opposing defenses focus too much on Dwyane Wade, LeBron James or Chris Bosh.
Dalembert told Fox Sports Florida on Sunday that signing with the Heat "would be fantastic." To join the Heat, Dalembert would have to accept a $5 million per year midlevel exemption deal, a huge drop from his 2010-2011 salary of $13.43 million.
However, as he told Fox Sports Florida, "What is best for you might not be for the most money." Hopefully for the Heat he still feels that way if another team offers him more money.
"I'm keeping all my options open," he added, "but Miami could be a good fit for me."
In nine seasons with Philadelphia and Sacramento, Dalembert has averaged 8 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. He shoots 52% from the field, only slightly better than current Heat center Joel Anthony (who shoots 49%). But Dalembert gets three times the shot attempts per game, which shows how much more he is trusted on the offensive end than Anthony, a defensive specialist.
Dalembert is far from the best center available (that would be Dallas' Tyson Chandler). But since the Heat have so little salary cap space to work with, he is clearly the best center available in the Heat's price range.
Other options the Heat have reportedly considered at some point this summer include Charlotte's Kwame Brown and Eddy Curry, who did not play last season.
The Heat are not permitted to comment on any player moves until the owners and players officially sign off on the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, thus ending the lockout.