Come Friday at 5 p.m Eastern, all contracts will be guaranteed for the rest of the season. That means teams will only be looking to keep only the players they believe to be absolutely necessary in order avoid any needless expenditure as well as maintaining flexibility. The Miami Heat already have 13 guaranteed contracts for the season, which makes it all but certain that at least one player will be waived in order to open up room to potentially fill a need later on, thus the nervous wait for Michael Beasley and Roger Mason Jr.
For Beasley the wait will be shorter as he will find out by 5 p.m. Eastern Tuesday whether he’ll be part of the Heat’s quest for a third straight title, though the odds are in his favor. B-Easy is Miami’s fourth leading scorer at 11.1 points per game and he is doing so while seeing limited time on the court at just 18.9 minutes per game — which is eighth on the Miami Heat squad.
Furthermore, Beasley has received nothing but praise from the Heat camp, as Coach Erik Spoelstra, who has been impressed with his commitment so far, said: “We built up a very structured routine for him every single day of learning what we do and fast tracking what this group has been doing for the last three-plus years and he’s embraced it wholeheartedly.”
The former No. 2 overall pick who was selected by Miami in the 2008 NBA Draft has been well-behaved during his second stint in South Beach, both on and off the court.
Beasley was released by the Phoenix Suns on Sept. 3 following his arrest for possessing marijuana, but was quickly snapped up by the Heat after clearing waivers, signing a one year, non-guaranteed contract for the NBA’s minimum salary. He has kept himself out of trouble while in Miami and the volatile persona we often saw in his first five years in the NBA has been kept in check thus far as he hasn’t picked up a single technical this season.
Some may believe that come the 5 p.m. deadline the forward may lose the incentive he has had driving him so far, but he still has more of the same planned. “Still work hard,” Beasley said. “I’m not going to work any less come Tuesday.”
“You’ve got to [continue to work hard]. You get complacent, you get comfortable, that’s when you start to take a couple of steps back. Coming in every day, I just trying to be better than yesterday. Trying to do what the team asks — coaches and players.”
Odds are however, he won’t be joined by current teammate Roger Mason Jr, whose chances of remaining on the team are significantly lower.
In the Miami Heat system where the concept of traditional positions means very little, Mason Jr has carved himself out a decent role with the Miami Heat thanks to his ability to shoot 3s and handle the ball from time to time. But come Friday’s deadline, the probability of him remaining on the roster are slim at best.
Despite Erik Spoelstra raving about him and all the admiration he has for the 33-year-old veteran, he hasn’t played that much in 2013-14, participating in only 16 of Miami’s 34 games this season.
Unlike Michael Beasley, Mason hasn’t done much out of the ordinary in order to secure a spot on the roster past this week. In fact, among the players averaging less than 20 minutes per game, no one in the entire Association is scoring more point than the enigmatic forward. Mason, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly made the most of his opportunities.
In his two starts this season, the University of Virginia product has amassed just 3.5 points as he shot an unimpressive 33 percent from beyond the arc and 25 percent overall. Plus, with Miami being cautious with Dwyane Wade by resting him on certain nights (mainly back-to-backs), he hasn’t been able to make the most of the chances and has failed to establish himself as the primary replacement in the eight games the All-Star guard wasn’t available.
Moreover, Roger Mason Jr is jostling for minutes and a spot where Miami already has the former NBA 3-Point Shootout Champion, James Jones.
Granted there’s no such thing as having too many players with the ability to shoot with range, but if opportunities to add quality elsewhere arise, i.e. more big men help to assist in the rebounding department (Miami is currently last in the NBA in rebounding at 36 per game), then having yet another shooter is luxury the Heat can no longer afford.
Last year the Heat were able to add Chris Andersen in February and he was absolutely huge down the stretch, often being the difference maker as Miami won back-to-back NBA championships. And who knows, they may make similar pickup this year too, maybe even Andrew Bynum. That is why it is vital that the Miami Heat clear at least one roster spot in order to maintain flexibility so they can freely make additions down the line.