Where the Mo Williams Trade Leaves the Miami Heat


The trade worked out between the Charlotte Hornets and Minnesota Timberwolves removes two potential targets for the Miami Heat off the trade block.

The Hornets and Timberwolves made a trade Tuesday that has minor impact on the NBA, but likely a major impact on the Miami Heat as Pat Riley and Co. approach the February 19 trade deadline.

In order to make up for the loss of Kemba Walker, the Hornets traded Gary Neal to the Timberwolves for point guard Mo Williams. The Hornets will also receive guard Troy Daniels and send a 2019 second round pick (owed by Miami) to Minnesota.

Potential destinations for Norris Cole

Back in January, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Hornets were targeting Cole after Walker went down with an injury.

With Mo Williams, the Hornets have bolstered its depth at point guard and are no longer in need of Cole’s services.

The Detroit Pistons have been rumored to be in the market for a backup point guard, but it’s unclear if Riley would be willing to deal Cole to a potential playoff team (as was the case with Charlotte).

One less point guard on the market

It also takes Williams, a rumored target to help Miami’s dreadful point guard situation, off the trade table (sorry Allana). The Heat were reportedly interested in Williams back in January.

Williams, averaging nearly 12.5 points and 6.5 assists this season, would have been a clear upgrade over the current crop of Mario Chalmers, Cole and Shabazz Napier.

The Timberwolves were willing to give him up for as little as a second round pick, according to reports, but the Hornets also included Neal for salary matching purposes.

Where does this leave the Heat?

As mentioned already, the Pistons may still be in search of a backup point guard. The Heat could package Cole and Danny Granger for versatile forward Jonas Jerebko. Also, the Timberwolves are exploring options regarding Neal, per RealGM.com.  

The Heat, seeking depth behind Dwyane Wade that would allow Chalmers to focus on being a point guard, could get involved for Neal.

As for another shooting guard–the Denver’s Arron Afflalo–the Nuggets are seeking a first round pick for the veteran. Much too rich for an asset-strapped Heat front office.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe did report that Riley would like to make a move as the Heat make a final playoff push, but don’t have the assets to do it. It’s important to remember that the Heat are competing with up to 28 other teams on the trade market. Maybe that’s what happened here with Williams, if Charlotte’s package was simply better than anything the Heat offered.

Other guys rumored to be on the trading block include: Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin and forward Chase Budinger, Knicks guards Pablo Prigioni and Jose Calderon, Nuggets small forward Wilson Chandler, Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin and Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson.

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