Grading Miami Heat NBA Trade Rumors


Grades and analysis of recent trade rumors involving the Miami Heat.

Everyday new rumors popup regarding potential trades the Miami Heat will make before the impending NBA trade deadline on February 18. Will they trade Hassan Whiteside? Luol Deng? Josh McRoberts?

Related Story: Rumor: Heat Targeting Kings' 3-Point Shooter

Here is everything you need to know about Pat Riley’s mindset regarding trades.

1. Riley is dead set on making a play for Kevin Durant in the off season. A max salary for Kevin Durant is $25M. So, the Heat must retain at least that much in available cap space going into the summer. Given current contracts, the Heat will have at most $37M in cap space this summer.

2. In order to maintain the Heat brand, Riley has to resign Dwyane Wade this summer. Of course, it’s extremely likely during negotiations last year that Wade, Riley, and the Heat already agreed (under the table) on Wade’s next contract. Expect a quick deal at the beginning of free agency. Wade signing a contract in the neighborhood of 3-years for $40-$45M, with the first year salary being about $12-$15 million, makes sense.

3. Justise Winslow might as well have a no-trade clause in his contract. Winslow is the future of the Heat. They have no draft picks next year and Winslow may end up being one of the top players in a deep draft class. If he can develop his offensive game (especially his 3-point shooting), he may be the next Draymond Green. Winslow already defends at an elite level, rebounds well,  and has shown some promise as a playmaker.

Given 1 and 2 above, the Heat are absolutely not making a trade that reduces their cap space this off season unless it’s for a legitimate, game-changing superstar in his prime. Likewise, they will not trade Winslow.

With the basic rules in place, let’s grade some of the trade rumors that have recently popped up:

Rumored Trade: The Heat were reported to be in talks for Rudy Gay (SF) , Sacramento Kings
Grade: F (No Way!)
Analysis: Gay is an athletic forward averaging 18 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes. He shoots 34 percent from 3. Adding him to the Heat roster gives the Heat another player similar to Gerald Green. Whether or not Gay is a good fit for the Heat roster does not matter because Gay’s contract includes a salary of $13 million next year. This much salary would prevent the Heat from being able to sign Durant and Wade, and so it will not happen.

Rumored Trade: In December, reports linked the Heat to Dwight Howard (C), Houston Rockets
Grade: D- (Not Likely)
Analysis: Dwight Howard, when healthy, is still one of the top big-men in the NBA. His numbers of 14 points and 12 rebounds are close to what Hassan Whiteside is averaging. However, Howard is a more complete player who understands team defense, screen setting, passing, and the pick-and-roll game. But, at 30, with questions about his locker room presence, Howard is not the type of player the Heat typically pursue. Additionally, Howard is due $23 million next year if he opts-in to the final year of his contract. This means the Heat cannot sign Kevin Durant.

Rumored Trade: In his EPSN podcast, Zach Lowe discusses a potential trade for Ryan Anderson (PF), New Orleans Pelicans.
Grade: B (Probably Makes The Heat Better)
Analysis: This trade is actually possible. Ryan Anderson is on an expiring contract. Further, this trade actually makes sense for the Heat. Ryan Anderson is scoring 17 points per game and has consistently shot about 39 percent from 3 over his career. A backcourt featuring Bosh and Anderson would really space the floor for Dragic and Wade to attack the rim. Of course, Anderson is a complete liability on defense and the Heat would lose Hassan Whiteside in this trade. If the Heat packaged Josh McRoberts with Whiteside, the Heat could actually increase their cap space this summer to nearly $43 million. Depending on how the Heat feel about retaining Whiteside, this trade could be beneficial for both teams.

More heat: Report: Dwyane Wade Does Not Want to Test Free Agency

Rumored Trade: The most recent trade rumor involves the Heat trading for Omri Casspi (SF), Sacramento Kings.
Grade: A (Unquestionably Makes The Heat Better)
Analysis: Omri Casspi is a 3-point specialist who has shot better than 40 percent from 3 for the past two years. There are some concerns that he is a product of the system as his shooting percentage declined significantly when he was in Cleveland and Houston. However, the Heat desperately need a floor spacer and, at 6’9″, Casspi can play SF in traditional lineups and PF in small ball lineups. He is a good team defender and will likely fit in well with the Heat culture. He is on a reasonable contract of about $3 million for this year and next year. It is reported that the Kings would want young, athletic guard Tyler Johnson in return. However, with Johnson out indefinitely and Pat Riley always in win now mode, this trade is the one most likely to happen.