Heat Begin Homestand This Week ... Likely Not A Good Thing

Matthew Jordan

Monday, January 16, 2017 12:16 AM UTC

Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 12:16 AM UTC

The Miami Heat's glory days are definitely in the rearview mirror as the injury-ravaged team has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference and has been absolutely terrible at home this season with a four-game homestand on tap.

Usually when a team is set to begin a multiple-game homestand, I would say it's a good time to back that club. After all, home teams are winning more than 58 percent of the time in the NBA this season. Home favorites are covering the NBA betting spread better than 70 percent of the team. The Miami Heat, however, are not your typical home team and have been one of the worst bets in the league when playing at home. They are the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference overall with an 11-30 record and have dropped 10 of 11.

Remember when the Heat were the decade's first super team? When LeBron James made his "Decision" to take his talents to South Beach in the summer of 2010 along with Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade, the Heat immediately became the team to beat. They would reach four straight NBA Finals, winning it all in 2012 & '13.

Then LeBron took his talents back to northeast Ohio in 2014 and everything changed. Of course Wade, the face of the franchise, left for his hometown of Chicago this past offseason because the Heat low-balled him in contract talks. Bosh had the past two seasons cut short due to a recurrence of blood clots, hasn't played at all this season and his career is likely over.

Frankly, the Heat don't want Bosh to play now because  the team can waive him on Feb. 9, one year from his last game, and apply to have his salary removed (for cap purposes) because of a career-ending injury. One risk that the Heat run is that if they do release him and Bosh can find a team to clear him physically and he plays at least 25 games, then his salary would go back on Miami's books and not his new team's. Bosh is regardless guaranteed the remaining $75.8 million of his contract he signed with Miami in 2014. Expect the team to cut him after March 1 because then he wouldn't be eligible for a postseason roster and wouldn't play 25 games. The Heat would then have plenty of salary-cap room this summer to pursue a top free agent like the Clippers' Blake Griffin.

It hasn't helped Miami that its roster has been gutted by injuries. Young forward Justise Winslow is out for the season following shoulder surgery. Guard Josh Richardson and forward Josh McRoberts are both out indefinitely. Guard Dion Waiters missed more than a month earlier. Miami players have missed 162 games due to injury/illness this season, the most in the NBA. Miami has used 17 different starting lineups, the second-most in the entire NBA.

The Heat had just 10 available players last time out, a 116-108 loss in Milwaukee on Friday. They were recently granted a hardship exemption to add a 16th player to the roster and called up forward Okaro White from the team's D-League roster. In order to qualify for a hardship exemption, a team needs a minimum of four players to miss at least three games and to be ruled out by an independent league doctor for at least an additional two weeks.

Miami's is 5-13 at home, the fewest home wins in the NBA. They are 7-11 ATS on NBA picks there, the second-worst mark in the league. The homestand starts Tuesday against the Rockets and MVP candidate James Harden. The Heat have won six of their last seven against Houston in Miami but those were much better Heat teams. Dallas visits on Thursday and that's the only likely win. The Bucks are in town Saturday and the Warriors on Jan. 23.

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