5 Trade Targets to Help out LeBron James and Dwyane Wade
The Miami Heat are off to a very respectable 10-3 start in their title defense quest.
Just 13 games into the 2012-2013 NBA season, we have learned a lot about the defending champions.
First and foremost, the Heat's defense is uncharacteristically bad so far this season, allowing 100.3 points per game, which ties them for fifth-worst in the league. They have had trouble either defending the perimeter or defending the paint. When the defense zones in on one, then the other usually suffers.
Miami also has been plagued by poor point guard play, with neither Mario Chalmers nor Norris Cole emerging as reliable floor generals.
In addition, the Heat have suffered from dreadful rebounding. The Heat's 39.6 rebounds per game sit at fourth-worst in the NBA.
While none of these issues have been overly detrimental to the team, they are problems that must be fixed if Miami is seriously going to defend its title.
Here are five trade targets that could help James, Wade and the Heat out.
Drew Gooden, Milwaukee Bucks
Drew Gooden would fill a very big void for the Heat: a reliable rebounder.
According to HoopsHype, Gooden is on the block. The big man hasn't played a single minute this season, as the younger Larry Sanders is getting the playing time.
While he is due nearly $20 million over the next three seasons, he could be worth the price if Milwaukee is willing to eat some of the contract.
Gooden averaged 13.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season for the Bucks and is a double-digit rebounding threat on any given night.
He would be solid contributor off the bench who could help the team's rebounding and height woes.
Raja Bell, Utah Jazz
Raja Bell has been on the block for quite some time now. Like Gooden, he hasn't played a single game this season and is more than disgruntled in Utah.
Bell has been rumored to on the Lakers' radar, but the Heat would be smart to make a play on him.
Bell is 36 years old and is at a point in his career where his goal is to win a ring. Bell could provide solid perimeter defense for the Heat while also being a capable three-point shooter.
Bell's perimeter defense would be a big boost and take some pressure off LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. With Shane Battier moved to the power forward spot, most of his defensive skills have been shifted to opponent's big men.
Bell would be a great defender off the bench for Miami and hit the occasional perimeter shot.
Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland has undoubtedly been receiving plenty of calls about Anderson Varejao.
With the Miami Heat limited in the amount of draft picks they have and young players to deal, they probably wouldn't be first in line to land the Cavaliers big man.
Still, if Pat Riley can find a way to pull this trade off, Varejao would be a huge improvement to the Heat's frontcourt.
Varejao is a stellar rebounder, leading the NBA in boards per game at 14.1. He also shoots an efficient 50 percent from the field and is a reliable defender.
He provides plenty of intangibles such as veteran leadership, hustling and a will to win.
He also benefits from having been LeBron James' teammate for six years, which would surely help him adjust to Heat's roster.
Varejao could start at the power forward spot over Shane Battier, helping with the matchup problems that have hurt the Heat this year. A frontcourt of James, Varejao and Chris Bosh would give Miami a very dangerous frontline who are all capable of scoring, rebounding and defending.
More importantly, he would highly boost the Heat's rebounding numbers and alleviate the workload of Bosh.
Jarrett Jack, Golden State Warriors
While Jarrett Jack hasn't been on the rumor mill, it could be a wise decision for the Golden State Warriors to part ways with the veteran point guard.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson already eat up most of the backcourt minutes, and Jack comes with a hefty $5.4 million price tag for someone who only averages 24 minutes a game.
The Warriors have a young point guard in Charles Jenkins to come off the bench if need be.
Miami could deal Norris Cole to the Warriors to give them extra point guard security, as well as take a nice chunk off of Golden State's books.
Jack would be a huge upgrade over Cole off the bench. He has decent averages of 8.4 points and 4.4 assists per game while also grabbing nearly one steal per contest.
He is a good ball-handler and runs the offense well while also boasting a 3.5:1 turnover ratio. The Heat's previous midseason point guard pickups haven't fared too well (see Mike Bibby), but Jack is having a good season and would likely flourish in the Heat's second unit, which is full of talent.
Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors
Jose Calderon's name has been widely thrown around as trade bait this season.
The 31-year-old point guard has been on his way out of Toronto since they acquired Kyle Lowry in the offseason.
Calderon has certainly boosted his value this season, averaging 10 points and eight assists per while shooting an impressive 45.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Calderon's expiring contract is a perfect fit for the Heat, who can't afford to keep his services at $10.5 million per year.
The Spain native would challenge Mario Chalmers for the starting spot and would surely see his assists numbers bump up with the Heat's wealth of scorers.
Calderon has great court vision and is more of a traditional point guard than Chalmers. Having spent his entire career on the Raptors, Calderon hasn't seen much postseason action, so he would thoroughly enjoy playing for Miami.
Miami likely doesn't have the pieces to get Calderon, but he would be a great fit for the Heat. He would take off a lot of pressure from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's point guard duties and allow them to do what they do best.