Report: Miami Heat Pursuing Trade for Depth Behind Dwyane Wade

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 19: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat looks on against the San Antonio Spurs during a game on October 19, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright NBAE 2013 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
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While the basketball world worries how Dwyane Wade's health will affect LeBron James' future with the Miami Heat, the franchise's focus remains squarely on the short term.

According to's Brian Windhorst, that focus now involves scouring the trade market for backcourt depth.

Wade, whose history of knee problems dates back to his college days, has missed five of Miami's first 19 games. The Heat are just 2-3 on the season without their starting shooting guard, a record that dipped below .500 after Thursday's 107-87 loss to the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls.

Windhorst reports that Miami hopes to use its frontcourt depth to solidify its backcourt. The Heat have a collection of versatile bigs for Erik Spoelstra to use, a group that could grow if former No. 1 pick Greg Oden is able to log regular-season minutes for the first time since Dec. 5, 2009.

But those excess bigs might not hold a lot of appeal outside of South Beach. Not with Windhorst naming seldom-used center-forward Joel Anthony as "one of the players who has been available."

Anthony's a 31-year-old defensive specialist who's making $3.8 million this season and has a $3.8 million player option for 2014-15, per The trade market for his services—if it even exists—can't be big:

Of course, when Spoelstra's throwing darts with players like Roger Mason Jr. and James Jones in Wade's absence, it might not be that hard to find an upgrade. The 38-year-old Ray Allen is hardly ready for a major minutes increase.

Don't feel sorry for the two-time defending champs, though: This lack of depth is the direct result of a self-inflicted wound.

Sharpshooter Mike Miller, a spot-starter for Wade in seasons past, was axed by way of the amnesty provision this summer. Miller posted 10.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and shot 45.7 percent from distance in 17 starts for the Heat last season.

This does, however, lend some credence to those forward-thinking worrywarts. As Miami's Big Three inch closer to their first chance to exercise early-termination options in their contracts, Wade's knee problems have hardly instilled any confidence in his future production.

Would this be enough to convince James to bolt next summer? Maybe not.

But it could dampen his and Miami's chances to add to their ring collection. If Wade's not at full strength and Anthony is the one netting his insurance, suddenly the Heat don't seem quite so immortal.

With Pat Riley calling the shots, though, maybe we'll be surprised to learn what kind of value he can sniff out for a part-time contributor like Anthony. It's hard to argue against Riley's track record.