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What Should LeBron Do?

Affordable Trade Targets to Boost Chances of Miami Heat Title Repeat

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Affordable Trade Targets to Boost Chances of Miami Heat Title Repeat
Marc Serota/Getty Images

For a team that has made it to consecutive NBA Finals, and currently on a good enough run to lead you to believe they'll soon make a third, the Miami Heat have continued to find a way to receive attention when the trade deadline rolls around near the end of February.

The Heat have made moves this year and the two seasons before, yes, but it wasn't at the expense of anything other than the waiving of a 14th or 15th men. For instance, this season the Heat waived Terrel Harris and Josh Harrellson in order to acquire the services of shot-blockers in Jarvis Varnado and Chris Andersen.

Erick Dampier and Mike Bibby joined the team midseason in 2011, while Ronny Turiaf made his debut with last year's championship team in late March. Bibby ended up becoming the Heat's inefficient starting point guard in the 2011 NBA Finals, Turiaf became a casualty of small-ball, and Dampier didn't record a single minute once the playoffs started.

At the end of the day, the Heat only ended up using their midseason pickups for the long haul of the regular season. It's going to be no different in Chris Andersen's case as he too will become a seldom-used interior presence that won't fit in with Miami's small playoff lineup. He'll see some time if the Indiana Pacers are on the docket, but it would be surprising to see him appear in any other series.

As far as a trade goes, it's unlikely the Heat will make a move. They're on top of the East by four games, riding a seven-game winning streak into All-Star weekend, witnessing the best stretch of LeBron's career and coming off a blowout win in what may have been a potential Finals matchup against Oklahoma City.

The only argument for a Heat trade would be in favor of an investment. Although the Heat are in win-now mode, they have a number of key pieces on the wrong end of 30, including 37-year-old Ray Allen, 34-year-old Shane Battier, and the 32-year-old Udonis Haslem. As incredible as LeBron Jams may seem on this recent stretch, he will need help around him at some point in the future.

Outside of James and Chris Bosh, Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers are the only players under the age of 30 worth investing in. My apologies to Dexter Pittman and Jarvis Varnado, who have played in a combined eight games this year.

Trade commodities are thin on this Heat team, too. Mike Miller (owed $12 million over next two years) and Joel Anthony (owed $8 million over next two years) both have contracts that are hard to swallow, James Jones was talking about retirement after the Heat's championship win, and Cole is one of the few young players on this team who can provide in the future.

Miami possesses a first-round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers, but it will only be useful if the Sixers make the postseason, something that doesn't seem to be happening this year.

They're stacked with wings and have received solid play from their up-and-down point guard tandem, leaving the lone chink in the chain under the boards. However, even that is overstated with the Heat having the league's top field-goal percentage, which limits their offensive rebounds, and averaging a rebounding deficit of only two against their opponents.

If Miami does look into a trade, however, it could give these five players an inquiry.

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