2 Under-the-Radar Moves the Miami Heat Could Make

Sam RichmondCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28:  Pat Riley looks on during the East Regional Round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Verizon Center on March 28, 2013 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Miami Heat are unlikely to make a big splash via free agency or trade in the coming weeks.

Excluding the guys they would never trade (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, etc.), the Heat lack the assets necessary to land a game-changing player through trade. Nor is there anyone of great talent currently on the open market.

Still, there are a couple of under-the-radar moves the Heat could make to potentially better their chances of hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy for a third straight year.

Let's take a look at some of those moves.


Wait and Sign Caron Butler

The only way Butler, who is making $8 million in the final year of his contract, finds himself back in Miami is if the Milwaukee Bucks buy him out.

Considering the veteran Butler was unhappy about his bench role, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, before a recent high-ankle sprain, a buyout by the March 1 playoff eligibility deadline seems likely.

This season has been a disaster for Caron Butler in Milwaukee.
This season has been a disaster for Caron Butler in Milwaukee.Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

Following a buyout, the Heat could come in and swoop up Butler for next to nothing. 

At 33, Butler's game has declined significantly from his peak years. He's averaging 10.4 points on a putrid 38.2 percent shooting from the field and 34.6 percent from three, while not being the defender he once was, either.

But there are a couple reasons why a Butler signing would make sense for Miami.

We've seen talented players leave losing situations to join the championship-contending Big Three Heat and play harder and better than they were before; Michael Beasley, Rashard Lewis, Chris Andersen come to mind as examples. Butler would undoubtedly be more motivated in Miami than he is right now in Milwaukee.

He's also just one year removed from a fairly decent season with the Los Angeles Clippers; he shot 42.4 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from outside in 2012-13.

The Heat are in the market for a wing player, according to a Jan. 21 report from NBA.com's David Aldridge; a Butler signing would allow Miami to address that desire as cheaply as possible.

Considering Toney Douglas has played three minutes since the Heat traded for him on Jan. 15, he'd be the top candidate to be cut if Miami were to sign Butler. 


Trade for John Salmons

Salmons' shooting ability would be helpful to the Heat.
Salmons' shooting ability would be helpful to the Heat.Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Another wing player Miami could pursue is the 34-year-old Salmons.

The current Toronto Raptor fits the profile of the veteran player coming to the Heat and committing to Miami's philosophy of sacrificing stats and minutes to win.

He's a tough, hard-working defender, and he can shoot the ball on the other end. The three-point shot is a huge part of Miami's offense, and Salmons' 41.1 three-point percentage this season ranks 20th in the NBA.

The bad news for Miami is Salmons' salary is $7.5 million. The Heat would likely have to trade a pick, Udonis Haslem ($4.3 million) and two of their cheap contracts (Douglas, James Jones, Roger Mason Jr., etc) for a deal to get done. Point being: it would be easier and smarter to pursue Butler over Salmons.

However, if the Heat are feeling the pressure and don't want to wait on Butler's availability, Salmons could certainly help them.