Miami Heat's Trade Deadline Strategy Blueprint

John Friel@@JohnFtheheatgodAnalyst IFebruary 11, 2013

MIAMI - JULY 09:  Head coach Erik Spoelstra (L) and President Pat Riley (R)  of the Miami Heat talk during a press conference after a welcome party for new teammates LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Not even a NBA championship could quell the spoiled Miami Heat fanbase into accepting the unorthodox roster that has represented the Eastern Conference in the Finals the past two seasons.

Impatience reigns supreme in Miami, where there is always a new convoluted idea that could possibly improve the status of the Heat. It seems as if the NBA community of analysts and know-it-all's have traded off or amnestied players that have proven to be essential in the Heat's two championship runs. Not even the 2012-13 team could avoid this, despite being the current number one seed in the East.

If only that impatience could be replaced with vaster memory banks. Particularly, memory banks that could store and withhold information that pounds the notion of the Heat not needing to make a trade into their minds.

It's only been four months since the start of the season, not even a year since the Heat won the 2012 title, and essential pieces such as Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and even Dwyane Wade have been at the center of ill-conceived articles that aim to trade away a player that's either been in a slump that has lasted longer than a week or is still recovering from an injury.

Excuse after excuse is made as to why the Heat should trade away their second, third and fourth best players but so many fail to realize what each player means to the roster. There is a reason why each player is a member of the Heat, just like why there's a reason why the organization has decided to stick with players that were traded or waived long ago by those who thought they knew more.

How easy we forget that Chris Bosh is shooting a career-high 55 percent from the field and is shooting a staggering 56 percent from 16 feet to the perimeter. The Miami Heat just beat Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers without Bosh, yes, but it took 63 combined points from Wade and LeBron James to beat Houston and an incredible shooting display to defeat the Clippers.

The Heat certainly have the shooters to have performances like what they had against the Clippers (Game 5 against the Thunder ring a bell?) and they do rank third in the league in three-point percentage, but those are low-percentage shots you can't depend on for an entire regular season and an arduous postseason.

There are perimeter shooters to rely on, but Bosh's mid-range game has been one of the most reliable aspects of the Heat offense all year, and that's an extremely significant cog in the way Miami's offensive machine is run. James and Wade need a shooter like Bosh to keep the offense honest and devoid being one-dimensional.

Miami can't always rely on the likes of Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and LeBron James to combine for 13 three-pointers as they did against the Clippers, but they can rely on Bosh, who is having the best shooting season of a decade-long career laden with All-Star appearances.

When the idea of trading Bosh comes about, the popular dealing has included the Heat bringing in a player who can rebound, say a DeMarcus Cousins or even a Dwight Howard-type. The rebounding issues of the Heat have been blown out of proportion. It's only been an issue because it's one of their extremely minute flaws.

However, the rebounding margin is thin with Heat opponents garnering 41 boards per--a two carom difference. It has been on the offensive glass where the Heat have suffered, succumbing over 11 per while grabbing only eight of their own. Allowing offensive rebounds isn't only about size, it's about fundamentals and keeping your man away from the rim.

Having size helps, but that doesn't fit in with a Heat system that relies on transition points on offense and quick rotations on defense.

Have the Heat been disgraceful when it comes to grabbing boards this season? If you consider being dead last in total rebounds, then yes. They're grabbing only 38.9 boards per this year, but they weren't much better in their postseason run last year garnering 40.4 per and ranking 11th among 16 postseason teams.

Nine of those games were played without Bosh, including all but the first half of Game 1 against that titan-filled Indiana Pacers team everyone is talking about these days. That year's frontcourt is nearly the same as this year's, the addition of Ian Mahinmi, the increased role of Paul George, and the injury to Danny Granger being the lone differences.

As mad as David West is at the Heat, the Pacers rebounding isn't going to be the key in a series that could potentially match Indiana and Miami possibly in the Conference Finals. Indiana will certainly have an advantage, but they had an even larger advantage last year when they were playing a Heat team without its starting power forward and featured Shane Battier playing against Roy Hibbert.

Adding Chris Bosh is only giving the Heat a leg-up if Miami does take on Indiana in the postseason. There isn't much of a need to go into the theory that the Heat can turn it on come playoff time. It's been proven in the past two years that the Heat do have a higher level they can jump to, even if numerous injuries attempt to detract them from their ultimate goal as they did last season. 

Rebounds have been the source of negativity surrounding the Heat this year. It's tough to blame the Heat's detractors, Miami has greatly underachieved at that part of the game, especially Bosh who is averaging a career-low 7.1 boards per game and is getting set to rival Brook Lopez and Andrea Bargnani as the league's worst rebounding big men.

Udonis Haslem has solid numbers for short minutes, he's getting 10.3 boards per 36 minutes, but he's also been a non-threat at times against the bigger teams. He had zero rebounds in 18 minutes against Minnesota, three rebounds in 21 minutes against Chicago and three rebounds in 23 minutes against Indiana just to put out a few examples. He has had trouble all year rebounding in traffic.

Is it worth trading a player for, however? It's certainly worth signing an out of work free agent like Chris Andersen, but not worth losing anybody over.

Andersen, by the way, is already making his presence felt on the boards. Foul trouble has unfortunately plagued him in his return, but he has been effective in his short time on the floor. 'Birdman' has recorded an offensive rebound in each of the six games he's played with the Heat and is averaging 12.1 boards per 36 minutes.

The Heat are repeating what they have done in past seasons when signing the likes of Erick Dampier and Ronny Turiaf; they're bringing in some help for the long haul of the regular season and then using them in spot minutes in the playoffs once small-ball comes into serious play.

And as for everyone else?

As much as people want to trade Joel Anthony, they forget that he's one of the league's most effective defenders in the pick-and-roll and is one of the Heat's few shot-blockers. As much as people want to trade Mike Miller, they fail to note that he's another shooter in the reserves who also provides the Heat with an extra ball-handler.

Also, there are few teams out there that would pay Joel the money the Heat are giving him ($3.8 million per year over the next two seasons) nor are there any teams that want Mike Miller and the remaining two years of his deal that's going to pay him over $10 million.

For those that want to move Dwyane Wade, living in ignorance is a hard enough fact without having to go into why the Heat shouldn't trade a top ten player because 20.9 points on 50 percent shooting isn't enough while still recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Judging by the Heat's moves in the previous two seasons of 'Big Three' basketball, it's unlikely that a trade is made. If this team didn't make a move in that roller coaster ride known as the 2010-11 season, then it's unlikely they do so with 12 players from last year's championship team and three additions that include a future Hall of Famer.

The Heat haven't made a trade since the summer of 2010. They have exhibited an admirable amount of commitment into sticking with a roster that has done nothing but sacrifice and make adjustments for the good that comes with winning a title.

Even though coach Erik Spoelstra's rotations can vary and players can go from starters to receiving no playing time in the span of a week, there has never been news in the press featuring a Heat player complaining about their playing time.

It's so non-existent that there isn't even a quote a media outlet can run with. There is no material going into the manufacturing of a story.

A trade hasn't been necessary before and there isn't one now, amidst the Heat's rebounding problems which don't correlate with Miami losses nearly as much as how well the defense performs and forces turnovers that night.


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