On the surface, it’s difficult to envision the Miami Heat needing much of anything in terms of upgrading their team. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the fold, the Heat have stacked the deck against the NBA the past two seasons on their way to back-to-back championships. Believe it or not Miami is reportedly trying to make a move. (Per ESPN.)
The desire for a trade stems from Dwyane Wade’s continued health issues. The All-Star guard has been injured quite a bit over the past few years and on the shelf due to continued knee injuries. Wade has already missed five of the team’s 19 games heading into this weekend and that’s understandably causing some concern down in South Beach.
This isn’t Wade’s first brush with injuries, though. In fact, the guard has never played in 80 games in a season and has missed significant parts of six of his 11 NBA seasons if you include this year. Rewind back to last season when Wade was ailing during the NBA Playoffs. He not only missed a game in the postseason last year, but also was clearly hampered by the injury when he was on the court. Wade averaged a career-low 15.9 points per playoff game last season and while he certainly helped the team, he wasn’t the same player he’s been in the past.
Add it all up and it’s not too much of a surprise that the Heat want to add a little insurance in their backcourt. The next obvious question will be which players the Heat are targeting.
You can almost immediately rule out contending teams in the Eastern Conference. Franchises like the Pacers and Hawks may have available players, but the chances of them helping out the team they’re trying to defeat are slim to none. My guess? Any potential deal would come with a team not expected to contend this season. Teams are also going to be wary of helping out a franchise considered by many to be the villain. The last thing a GM wants to do is be criticized as the Memphis Grizzlies were a few years ago when they dealt franchise cornerstone Pau Gasol away for what was perceived to be a lump of coal. That didn’t turn out to be the case as Marc Gasol, one of the players in that deal, has turned into a quality player. Still, the thought of potential ridicule exists and no front office wants to deal with that headache.
We’re not that far along in the process yet, but one player who could be intriguing is Dion Waiters. As I wrote recently, the Cavs appear to be shopping him. On the surface, adding a streaky player to a championship team might appear to be a disaster. After all, why wouldn’t Miami target a more veteran presence? They certainly could, but keep in mind that they already have Ray Allen. The Heat could desire a younger player and Waiters certainly fits that bill.
One stumbling block to a potential trade could be ill feelings that might exist between the two franchises after Miami plucked LeBron James away from Cleveland. It’s been a few years, but you never know. The thought of the Cavs answering the phone when Miami comes calling just seems uncomfortable if nothing else.
Another player who might interest the Heat is Mike Miller. Miller is familiar with the team’s system having played for the Heat the past few years. Technically he’s a small forward, but Miller is enough of a shooter that he can play shooting guard as well if called upon. Currently in Memphis, the Grizzlies may be amenable to a deal since the Heat are in the Eastern Conference and Memphis isn’t currently starting him.
The Heat’s biggest problem will be trying to offer an attractive player in return. They certainly don’t want to deal away a key cog to their machine, but to get value, you’ve got to give value – whether that’s in term of talent, draft picks, or expiring contracts.
Brain Windhorst of ESPN.com thinks they may be dangling center Joel Anthony, but even though big men are desired, a player like Anthony on his own isn’t going to fetch much of a return. Not only is he on the other side of 30, he’s also played sparingly this season. Anthony is also a bit undersized for center at 6-foot-9 and the idea of him trying to compete with athletic power forwards is pretty frightening.
Either way, the trade market appears to be a bit more crowded.