|Screenshot from the 2011-12 HEAT Intro Video|
Why did the Miami HEAT release Mickell Gladness instead of Eddy Curry?
The Miami HEAT released Gladness on Tuesday to free a roster spot for signing players to 10-day contracts, but he wasn't the least productive player on the team. The least productive player on the team is Norris Cole with an estimated -0.5 wins produced, according to the HEAT Produced Page, but he's a first round draft pick and won't be released anytime soon. The second-least productive player is Dexter Pittman with an estimated -0.2 wins produced, who also won't be released this season because he's the HEAT's only draft pick from last season and is still a work in progress.
That brings us to Eddy Curry with an estimated -0.2 wins produced. Curry is also the least productive HEAT player on a per-minute basis with an estimated -0.279 wins produced per 48 minutes (Est.WP48). An average player produces 0.100 Est.WP48 because an average team has a winning percentage of 0.500. Unlike Cole and Pittman, Curry is not a work in progress. He's a nine-year vet that's stunk his entire career, as the following articles point out:
Gladness was also below average this season with an estimated zero wins produced and -0.070 Est.WP48 but he was much better than Curry. This spreadsheet compares the stats of both players to the average player at their position in a HEAT game this season.
Gladness was below average in scoring (he didn't shoot or get to the line enough), turnovers and fouls. Curry is below average in shooting efficiency, getting to the line, rebounding, steals, turnovers, blocked shots, assists and fouls.
So why did Curry get to stay while Gladness got released? Because Eddy Curry is good friends with Dwyane Wade and Wade is the Shadow General Manager of the Miami HEAT. This Wade quote from the Miami Herald sums it up: "we should always be in control of our own destiny."
Players controlling their own destiny is a position supported on this blog in multiple articles (see NBA Lockout Cinema: Players Can't Win? for an example) but players have to be careful with their power or it becomes Animal Farm. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and sweetheart deals for friends is a sign of corruption. Signing Shane Battier was a symptom of the same problem.
Will Pat Riley stop Wade and CEO Nick Arison from abusing their power before the roster is laden with bad players that prevent the HEAT from becoming a dynasty? That's the question facing the HEAT moving forward and releasing Gladness over Curry is a step towards the wrong answer.