Josh McRoberts to join Miami Heat for mid-level exception
UPDATE 3:02 pm: Josh McRoberts has decided to bring his versatile game to South Beach, choosing Miami over the same offer from Charlotte. That was first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.
ESPN learned that Josh McRoberts has verbally committed to sign with the Miami Heat— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 7, 2014
McRoberts is the kind of player the Heat could have used in the Finals, he’s not great at any one thing but works hard on every possession and if you don’t think he’s athletic you will end up in one of his poster dunks.
Is that enough to sway LeBron James? Maybe not but it’s a step in the right direction.
And it’s a hit to a scrappy Bobcats team that used guys like McRoberts to maximize their talent last year.
1:59 pm: When he sits down with LeBron James this week, Pat Riley will want to share some good news with the Heat’s biggest free agent.
How will Riley sell LeBron?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Charlotte's Josh McRoberts emerging as serious free agent candidate for Miami, sources tell Yahoo. Realistic option at mid-level exception.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2014
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Charlotte HORNETS! Hornets, I'm told, have made retaining McRoberts one of their top priorities & have bid strong to compete w/Heat interest— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 7, 2014
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
If the Heat give McRoberts the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception – $5,305,000 starting,$22,652,350 over four years – they’d be hard-capped at the apron ($4 million above the luxury-tax line).
They’d still have room to offer LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade max contracts, keep Norris Cole Cole and Shabazz Napier, use the full bi-annual exception and fill the roster with minimum-salary players. However, Miami would lose a little flexibility to accept trades that add salary.
That’s a small concession to make for a player the caliber of McRoberts, who averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while starting for the playoff-bound Bobcats last season.
But McRoberts, despite his overall ability, might not be a great fit in Miami.
Before opting out, he thrived next to Al Jefferson in Charlotte. McRoberts spread the floor with his shooting and passing, freeing Jefferson to work inside, and defended well enough to meet Steve Clifford’s demanding standards.
McRoberts’ defense might travel, especially considering I’m not sure what type of scheme Erik Spoelstra will implement as his team ages. But his floor spacing would be a bit redundant with Bosh. There’s nothing wrong with playing two perimeter-oriented bigs, but who are they clearing the paint for? Is LeBron driving that effected? Wade can’t get to the rim nearly as frequently as once did, though an offense built around LeBron posting up more often could be intriguing.
Beyond McRoberts adjusting to playing beside a very different center than Jefferson, there’s no guarantee the Heat get the same player Charlotte had last year. McRoberts, 27, just had the best season of his career. How long his prime lasts – the MLE can last up to four seasons – is a key question.
McRoberts’ main skills – shooting and passing for his size – generally age well, but he uses a sneaky amount of athleticism to position himself to take advantage of those skills. For Miami, though, impressing LeBron, Bosh and Wade now matters much more than a contract that might turn sour before its expiration.
In the last two years, Charlotte drafted a couple solid power forward from Indiana in the lottery – Noah Vonleh and Cody Zeller. The Hornets have a strong future at the position, but McRoberts is probably better than either youngster right now. As long as returning to the playoffs is a goal – and it should be – Charlotte might be most comfortable re-signing McRoberts as a stop-gap.
As long as they don’t sign Gordon Hayward to a max offer sheet, the Hornets have room to top an MLE offer from Miami for McRoberts. The questions are whether Charlotte wants to spend so much and whether McRoberts would accept less to join the Heat.
Most importantly: If Riley can lure McRoberts, what would LeBron think of the move?