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Monday, December 19, 2011
Chad Ford's offseason grade for Heat: B-

By Tom Haberstroh

ESPN Insider's Chad Ford published his offseason grades for all 30 teams this afternoon. The Heat's offseason was relatively quiet, which was expected given the Finals run and the Big Three's return. Another overhaul this offseason wasn't necessary.

The offseason transactions included signing Shane Battier and Eddy Curry, drafting Norris Cole and re-signing Mario Chalmers and James Jones. Departing? Mike Bibby, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamaal Magloire.

Here's a snippet of Ford's analysis:



Their big free-agent acquisition was Shane Battier, who has a stellar rep as a no-stats All-Star, but his effectiveness has waned with age. Still, he provides the Heat with important depth, leadership and defense behind LeBron.

The other move of note has to do with the departure of Mike Bibby. Bibby was way past his prime, but it's hard not to have some trepidation with Mario Chalmers running the point all the time. But if the Heat don't add another veteran in the backcourt, watch out for rookie Norris Cole. The Cleveland State product was one of the biggest draft sleepers and has been impressive in camp. He can score and distribute, and he rarely makes mistakes. He isn't an elite athlete, but when you factor in who's on the floor with him, he doesn't have to be.


Can't disagree with Ford here. The Heat didn't need to swing for the fences with their core returning and seeing Kwame Brown's $7 million price tag, they decided to take a walk instead at the center position. Sammy Dalembert is still on the market, but since the Heat can no longer amnesty Mike Miller, the team won't have the cap flexibility to lure a big fish to Miami.

Battier gives them the perimeter defender that they need and another 3-point assassin that they can't get enough of. And Ford's right; watch out for Norris Cole, who could end up as the superior point guard in Miami by the end of the season, even if he's better suited in the reserve role.

Check out more of Ford's reports at Insider here and see which team flunked his test.