The Miami Heat lost LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason, throwing the biggest wrench possible into their plans of making a fifth straight NBA Finals and competing for the franchise's fourth championship. While they've retooled the roster by bringing in veterans like Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, and Danny Granger, they're still searching for proper balance on both ends of the floor to truly fill out their squad.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, part of that search involves free agent big men Emeka Okafor and Ekpe Udoh. The Heat have reported shown interest in both defensive-minded big men, after also having discussions with Andray Blatche, Jason Maxiell, and Elton Brand earlier this offseason.
Among power rotation players, the Heat has shown interest in Emeka Okafor and has considered Ekpe Udoh. Preliminary inquiries were made on Andray Blatche and Jason Maxiell. Agent David Falk said he talked to the Heat about Elton Brand but that Brand is unlikely to end up here.
Jackson also reports the Heat are "serious about adding another shooting guard" along with the big man, but only have the veteran's minimum to offer up to either position. They recently worked out Justin Hamilton and Chris Douglas-Roberts, and have inquired about Jordan Crawford and Leandro Barbosa.
The Heat is serious about adding another shooting guard and a big man if it can find two good ones willing to take the veteran's minimum. After recently working out Jordan Hamilton (who signed with Toronto) and Chris Douglas-Roberts, the Heat also has inquired about Leandro Barbosa and Jordan Crawford, who both hold appeal to Miami.
The Heat currently have 15 players under contract for 2014-15, so they'd need to cut someone if they want to add anybody to the roster. Tyler Johnson, Justin Hamilton, and maybe even recently signed Reggie Williams would be the potential casualties if that happens. Okafor missed the entire 2013-14 season with a herniated disc in his neck, after being traded to the Phoenix Suns with a first round pick in exchange for Marcin Gortat. The Heat attempted to revive Greg Oden's career last season, so they're not opposed to taking on a medical risk.
Udoh is also an intriguing option for them. He had great success as a defensive player off the bench for the Golden State Warriors to begin his career, then was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks and couldn't find the same consistency with that team. He had knee surgery to start off last season and ended up playing in just 42 games overall.