While the world waits for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to make their respective free agency decisions, the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets were caught in a bidding war over Josh McRoberts. Now, in what might be the biggest signing of the summer, McRoberts has verbally committed to joining the Heat as first reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein:
ESPN learned that Josh McRoberts has verbally committed to sign with the Miami Heat
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 7, 2014
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski originally reported that the the Heat were aggressively pursuing McRoberts, an unrestricted free agent, at the mid-level exception. McRoberts’ deal will be for four years and $23 million, with a player option after the third year.
After missing out on Kyle Lowry and giving up on the Carmelo Anthony pipe dream, McRoberts emerged of one of many candidates Pat Riley and the Heat were interested in. A versatile wing defender and excellent passer, McRoberts had a career year with the Charlotte Bobcats last season, averaging 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 36 percent from three-point range. He also baptized the Birdman Chris Andersen.
The Charlotte Hornets didn’t let McRoberts go without a fight, however. According to Stein, Michael Jordan‘s team made re-signing McBob one of their top offseason priorities given Miami’s interest. Unfortunately for the Hornets, it wasn’t quite enough.
Will miss you, McBobcats-turned Hornets
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 7, 2014
The Heat and Hornets were both looking at signing Josh McRoberts as a mid-level exception option, per Woj. Charlotte coach Steve Clifford was able to use McRoberts effectively last season and the Hornets are looking like a much-improved team in a weak Eastern Conference after adding Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston to a roster that already included Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker.
The Heat are looking to retool in order to keep LeBron James and Chris Bosh with Dwyane Wade in Miami, although signing even a versatile and talented player like McRoberts is an interesting concept given what happened the last time he and LeBron were on the court together:
McRoberts would’ve been great on either of these teams, so it’s hard to fault McRoberts for taking Miami up on their offer. It’s difficult to tell whether this kind of free agency signing will have any impact on LeBron’s decision. McBob is a good role player and Riley finally has a free agency signing to present to the world’s greatest player, but it’s hard to say whether or not Josh McRoberts is the piece that keeps the King in Miami.