Pat Riley Willing to Make a Move for ‘the Right Guy’


The Miami Heat have been mentioned in the flurry of NBA trade rumors since December–be it for Brook Lopez, Arron Afflalo or sending away Luol Deng–but have yet to make a move.

For team without many assets or not quite sure where they fall in the Eastern Conference power struggle, these waters can be tough to navigate.

One thing we can draw from these recent rumblings is that the Heat are willing to make a move. But according to Fox Sports FloridaHeat president Pat Riley won’t be making a trade if he doesn’t see it as something that will markedly improve the team.

"Though he’s not interested in making moves for the sake of change, he’s willing to listen to offers to help improve the team now.“If there’s something that makes sense that we can do that could really help us, then we would consider it,” Riley said. “But we’re not about to give up assets that we don’t have — and that we need — to make a lateral move out of desperation and to take what I think is a playoff team to make the playoffs.”Riley didn’t hesitate to confirm that although there is a plan in place, it could be all cast aside in order to get a difference-maker that could help shape the franchise and put them back in contention sooner rather then later.“If it’s the right guy and he’s a star and he can complement what coach wants and what we have with Dwyane (Wade), Luol (Deng) and with Chris (Bosh) … then we’re ready to move.”"

The takeaways here are that (1) he won’t trade important assets to a playoff bound team, (2) he would make a move for a “star” (though he views Luol Deng as a star, so who knows what that really means) and (3) he would like to stick to the plan of maintaining cap space for 2016 unless a star becomes available sooner.

Connecting the dots, I still think this team would love to acquire Afflalo from the Denver Nuggets. It meets all three criteria. Denver’s not going to the playoffs. If Deng’s considered a star, Afflalo certainly could be. His contract expires in 2016 but has a player option for next season.

The Heat could move Josh McRoberts and his four-year contract and Norris Cole (a restricted free agent but is basically an expiring deal) for Afflalo.

Who knows if that’s going to happen or if the Heat are going to make a trade in any form. After all, the organization’s best acquisition has been the free agent signing of Hassan Whiteside, who wasn’t even in the NBA when the season started.

With flexibility with the 15th spot on the roster and the $2.65 million disabled player exception, it seems as though signing an impact free agent might be the first option.

We saw this when the team rushed to apply for the DPE when Josh Smith suddenly became available.

Right now, there aren’t many impact free agents available. Nate Robinson might be the best guy. Then there is always Andray Blatche, who can’t sign until after February when the Chinese Basketball Association’s season ends.

Free agency may not land them a star, but it could certainly elevate the Heat in the Eastern Conference. Without many assets to trade away, it might also be the only move to make.

Next: Check Out the Latest Heat Trade Rumors