The Miami Heat, despite their best-in-the-East record, have a glaring hole at the center position.
They don’t necessarily need a 20-10 center, just one who can provide solid defense and rebounding, and can finish around the rim.
Here are some trade targets the Heat should strongly consider making a trade package for to help bolster their 5 position.
As the roster currently stands, Joel Anthony provides a few minutes of energy without hands (can the guy rebound or catch?). In fact, the only reason I have to believe that he does have hands is the fact that he can block shots.
Dexter Pittman is a guy I’d like to see get more minutes. He can rebound and has moves down on the low block. While I’m aware the stats I’m about to provide are from VERY limited minutes, it would be interesting to see Dexter given a real chance to prove himself.
Per 36 minutes this season, he is currently averaging 18.0 points and 21.6 rebounds on 60 percent shooting. However, he’d also average six turnovers and 12 fouls a game (can we have the foul limit increased?).
Finally, Josh Harrellson doesn’t even get to dress for games, though with Pittman recently assigned to the D-League, he might actually get to put his jersey on again.
Clearly, Pat Riley and Co. aren’t overly enthused with their array of mediocre centers.
It's time to talk trades.
Dalembert was a target of Miami’s two offseasons ago, but he eventually chose to sign a much more lucrative deal with the Houston Rockets.
Of course, the Heat wound up with Shane Battier, who shot lights-out in the NBA Finals, and the rest is history.
However, it appears that Dalembert is on the outs and becoming frustrated with his lack of playing time (via HOOPSWORLD).
Dalembert currently averages 6.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 1.3 BPG in just 17.3 minutes.
With the Heat, he would likely be given most, if not all, of Anthony’s and Haslem’s minutes, while Bosh would shift back to the 4-spot, keeping Dalembert happy and the Heat more dominant than ever.
Potential trade options
Trade No. 1:
Miami receives: Samuel Dalembert
Having to part with Joel Anthony and the hustling Mike Miller would hurt Heat fans for a few moments, but they'd realize that they are now able to cheer on a 6'11" shot-blocking center.
Trade No. 2:
Miami receives: Samuel Dalembert, Doron Lamb
Milwaukee receives: Mike Miller, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem
Here, the Heat get to keep the 76ers' lottery-protected first-round pick for 2013, but are forced to give up their all-time leading rebounder and co-captain in Udonis Haslem.
While this would be a hard pill for the Miami Heat faithful to accept, they must also realise that Udonis is not anywhere near the player he once was, and is on a fast decline towards becoming redundant.
The Heat must also trade out rookie Norris Cole, but in return receive a prospect of their own in Doron Lamb.
First, I can't imagine Dan Gilbert doing anything to assist in making a team in which LeBron James plays far better than he already does, as he couldn’t even do it when LeBron was a part of the Cavs, but let’s have a look at some potential trade options anyway.
Varejao, who is currently injured, averages a league-leading 14.4 RPG, and is also providing 14.1 PPG on 47.8 percent shooting. He’s nearly too good to be true, numbers-wise, for the Heat to possibly think of striking a deal for.
This trade looks half-decent on paper, at least:
Miami receives: Anderson Varejao, Jon Leuer
Cleveland receives: Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis, Josh Harrellson, 76ers' 2013 first-round pick
Again, parting with Haslem would be tough to accept, but let’s be real here: getting Varejao for this bunch would be the best thing that could happen for the Heat, and so it should happen if the opportunity presents itself.
Rashard Lewis has provided excellent offense for the Heat this season, and could get more playing time in Cleveland.
Jon Leuer is a simple throw-in to match up salaries and player numbers. I doubt any Heat fan would be frothing over gaining Leuer.
Is it possible that Miami could land a future All-Star in Andre Drummond?
Who knows? Detroit already has Greg Monroe to build around and decent depth up front. If Pat Riley pulls strings, let’s just say that anything is possible.
As of right now, Drummond leads all rookies in rebounds and blocked shots.
Is it possible the Heat have any trade pieces to offer? Unlikely, but here’s a trade that works, financially, at least:
Miami receives: Andre Drummond
Detroit receives: Norris Cole, Josh Harrellson, Terrel Harris, 76ers' 2013 first-round pick
Obviously, I’ve chosen any young players on small salaries for the Pistons, because they’re just not at the stage of looking for aging vets to sit on the bench.
Here, they gain prospects in Harrellson and Harris (who legitimately could become solid role players) and second-year pro Norris Cole to continue to build towards the future.
Gaining the 76ers pick should not be overlooked either, as this should net them anywhere between the 15th-19th overall pick.
Of course, with this trade Miami gains its center of the future in Andre Drummond.
He would be able to contribute immediately, and in a few years, when Drummond has developed, Miami would have one of the greatest starting centers of all time.
Some of you just said, “Who!?”—and rightfully so. This man is still unknown amongst most NBA fans.
However, he is the starting center for the Orlando Magic, and is doing a heck of a job on a sub-.500 team.
Traded to the Orlando Magic in the blockbuster deal that sent Dwight Howard packing, Vucevic is having an outstanding start to his second year in the NBA.
He currently averages 10.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.1 BPG and 50.1 percent FG in 30.1 MPG.
Did I mention he can shoot mid-range jumpers?
He would suit the Miami Heat perfectly. The only problem? The Orlando Magic are rebuilding, and likely wouldn’t want to give up arguably their best and most efficient player.
The good news is, Orlando has great depth up front, with Gustavo Ayon and Glenn Davis able to play the 4 and 5 spots. Andrew Nicholson is a tantalizing prospect to develop off the bench.
Let’s not forget Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu are still on this roster, and the potential to make a deal just grew that extra bit higher. Here is a trade that could make it happen.
Miami receives: Nikola Vucevic, Hedo Turkoglu
Orlando receives: Norris Cole, Mike Miller, Rashard Lewis, Joel Anthony, 76ers' 2013 first-round pick.
Orlando is provided with a great young prospect in Norris Cole as well as the energetic, shot-blocking Joel Anthony (that’s too many compliments, but oh well).
Rashard Lewis and Mike Miller are able to return to their previous team and provide outside shooting for Joel to dominate down low on the block. (Ok, so that never happens, but Glenn Davis and Gustavo Ayon would surely benefit from this).
The Heat do their division rivals, the Magic, a favour by taking on Hedo’s ridiculous contract, then amnesty him right away.
And just like that, the Heat have a fantastic young center, and relieve some heavy tax penalties by clearing out cap space.
Realistically, these trades would be tough to pull off, but they are quite possible with Pat Riley at the helm.
Personally, I’d like to see Nikola Vucevic in a Heat uniform by the trade deadline.
Which of these trades do you prefer?
Do you have your own trade you’d like to see?
Leave your comments below for discussion!
Thanks for reading, and happy New Year!