When it comes to trade deadline deals, the Miami Heat usually refrain from participating.
The last big deal I can recall came in 2009, when they sent Shawn Marion, Marcus Banks and cash considerations to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal, Jamario Moon and a lottery-protected first round pick.
That lottery-protected pick would be traded back to Toronto only a year and a half later when the Heat co
mpleted their sign-and-trade for Chris Bosh.
Since then the Heat have been very quiet in February, choosing to wait for the potential buyout guys to sort themselves out instead of actively participating in trade talks.
But this season, should the Heat go that route, or should they consider taking a dip into the trade pool and find a player that will strengthen their weaknesses up front through a trade?
If the Heat are to go the other route, I have put together a short list of potential trades that could accomplish that end.
Target: Andrea Bargnani
The Toronto Raptors have been very active in trade talks, and already have Rudy Gay in tow. Now they want to get rid of Andrea Bargnani, and have made no secret about this desire.
Already they’ve discussed a trade with the Chicago Bulls (via CSNChicago.com) involving Bargnani and John Lucas III in exchange for Carlos Boozer. This deal won’t make the Bulls any better than they are and would probably make them a tad worse on the boards while creating a logjam at the center position between Bargnani and Joakim Noah.
However Bargnani would likely work out well with the Miami Heat, paired up alongside Chris Bosh for the second time.
There’s evidence that both players in the same front-court work too, as Bosh averaged 23.4 points and 10.4 rebounds a game alongside Bargnani in their last two seasons together, while Bargnani averaged 16.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
While I wouldn’t expect Bosh’s points go go up too much, I could see him grabbing three to four more rebounds a game, and Bargnani has enough size to grab some stray rebounds of his own while boxing out and allowing the rest of the team to grab boards. It wouldn’t be a cure-all in the rebounding department, but would fix some of those issues inside that have plagued the Heat all season.
So how would the Heat be able to get this done when Bargnani has three years left on his contract and is getting paid $10 million this season?
One deal I have is a deal between those two teams which would send Mike Miller, Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman up north in exchange for Bargnani. Miller will likely get amnestied by the Heat this season, whereas the Raptors could simply agree to buy out Miller’s deal. As for Anthony, he would add some size coming off Toronto’s bench, while Pittman will be more likely to get in some NBA minutes in Toronto.
But if that won’t do, here’s another idea for Toronto, and it’s a mega-deal: Miami would get Bargnani, Toronto would get Nuggets point guard Andre Miller and forward Timofey Mozgov (who we will get to later) to go along with the Warden, Mike Miller, goes about 200 miles north to Orlando along with the Nuggets shipping Corey Brewer to Orlando, while Denver would acquire J.J. Reddick and Dexter Pittman.
Miller gives the Raptors a point guard presence that could come off the bench and short-term size from Mozgov to go along with Anthony, Miller wouldn’t go too far but would again be the subject of a buy-out while the Magic would get a decent (but cold at the time) shooter in Corey Brewer, and Denver gets perhaps the most sought-after three-point threat available for trade.
But speaking of Mozgov
Target: Timofey Mozgov
On a team with as much size as the Denver Nuggets, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Mozgov is currently wasting away on the bench. They have plenty of rebounders on that club already and not all of them will be able to play. They need outside shooting, but I’m sure there’s not a single team in the NBA with plenty of outside shooting and a lack of size.
Oh no, there is one, the Miami Heat. Right now they have Mike Miller and James Jones practically buried on the bench behind the likes of Ray Allen and Shane Battier, with even Rashard Lewis getting more minutes than Miller. Of course the optimistic view is that somewhere down the line Miller will get more playing time as the season goes on and will be needed in the playoffs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen.
Alright Denver, let’s not make this trade messier than it has to be. We can take Mozgov and allow him to use his size to grab rebounds for a team that desperately needs it. For the first time in his career he would wind up breaking 20 minutes, last season in 15 minutes per game he gave Denver an average of 5.4 ppg and 4.1 boards per game.
We’ll take Corey Brewer too, even though he has been a huge part of Denver’s more recent run. It’s likely if Denver wants to make a deal that Brewer will have to be included, especially if they want J.J. Reddick.
While this deal won’t give the Nuggets Reddick, Miller would help them out just as much, and if he doesn’t, they do have the option of amnestying him.
Target: DeMarcus Cousins
“Oh no! DeMarcus Cousins on South Beach? How could he handle himself?”
You will hear this a lot if Cousins is ever put on the block and Pat Riley is the first person to put in a call. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if Cousins received subliminal messages from Riley (a fellow former Wildcat like Cousins) telling him to keep acting a fool in Sacramento.
Now if you read the Mid-Season report that myself and co-editor John Friel put together, you’ll notice that I’m a big fan and apologist for DeMarcus Cousins. Fans might look from the outside looking in at Cousins and see a knucklehead, but they’re not taking into account the situation. Cousins is on a team with little to no veteran leadership and has been in flux since Cousins got there. Just about every city without a basketball team (and Anaheim, which is in a media market that already has two) has been rumored to be a target for the Kings in the last two years.
Is that the best situation for anyone to thrive, let alone a kid with some problems of his own who needs leadership? Wouldn’t a kid like that actually flourish on a team that has proven veteran leaders (like say LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem) that set the tone for the rest of the team?
I mean, look at how LeBron handles Mario Chalmers here as Chalmers is about ready to start celebrating the Heat’s eventual Finals victory in the third quarter of Game 5.
Now has any analyst stopped to think about the fact that that’s exactly what DeMarcus Cousins needs in order to thrive, a veteran that can take control?
Now the salaries that match up for a straight up Joel Anthony-DeMarcus Cousins swap, but there’s no way Sacramento would accept only that.
However, there’s another Western Conference team who needs to make a decision between bringing back their center or power forward. The Utah Jazz have to choose between Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap. Both will be free agents this year, and the Jazz could keep one or the other, but not both.
So consider the Jazz the money launderer, only in this case, they’d pick up a player that is already immensely popular in that state thanks to his exploits at BYU, but also fills in a need: Jimmer Fredette. He would go to Utah along with his very affordable deal which will have four years and $24 million left on the deal (Thompson is 26) and can be paired with Jefferson after he signs a long-term deal.
Sacramento meanwhile would get Paul Milsap and be able to build their team around him as they move to Seattle. They would also get Miami’s conditional first round pick that they acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in last year’s draft.
Of course the Heat would get DeMarcus Cousins and, that’s it. The ceiling is a superstar center to go along with the Big 3 who with the right leadership both on and off the court (not just with Erik Spoelstra but also Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning checking on the kid) would finally “get it.” This is a player who would also become a free agent in 2014 (when Brian Windhorst hopes LeBron goes back to Cleveland so that he could finally move to Cleveland), but would actually be eligible for an extension next season that will make him inexpensive to keep for another four-to-five years (thus increasing the chances that the Big 3 only opt-out to re-configure their contracts).
But if Cousins doesn’t get it and the trade blows up in the Heat’s face? Cousins makes a great trade asset until 2014.
These are just ideas obviously, and something you won’t see Miami attempt to do, at least it’s not likely that they will be considered.