NBA Trade Rumors: 10 Players Poised to Help the Miami Heat
We're halfway through this season's grand NBA experiment, the monstrous Franken-team that is the 2010-11 Miami Heat.
After a slow start that saw the Heat sitting at just 9-8 after the first month of the season, they seemed to right the ship and ripped off 21 wins in 22 games to shoot themselves up the standings into the place that most onlookers had expected them to be.
But now, they've hit their second rough stretch of the season, losing five of their last six, including last night's nationally televised loss at Madison Square Garden to the rejuvenated Knicks.
With the trade deadline starting to approach, does this team need to make any moves to get better down the stretch? With their thin bench exposed recently, they just might.
While their lack of cap room hurts them when browsing the trade market, here's a look a 10 players who might be able to help turn up the Heat in Miami.
10) Allen Iverson
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I'll be the first one to admit that this is a major stretch. See the italics, there?
Nevertheless, one of the Heat's major needs clearly is at point guard, where Dwyane Wade doesn't fit, and Mario Chalmers just isn't really cutting it.
Iverson, meanwhile, still harbors hope of restarting his NBA career after being relegated to Turkey this season, since no team stateside would touch him over the summer with a 10-foot pole.
Both sides could just be desperate enough to try to work something out. The problem is that Iverson is still under contract with Besiktas in the Turkish league, and Iverson has recently had to take time off due to pain in his calf, caused by an as-yet unknown ailment.
Perhaps then this is just a fantasy, but it's an intriguing one.
9) Kris Humphries
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As talks between the Denver Nuggets and New Jersey Nets over Carmelo Anthony dragged on for weeks, one thing became rather clear: the Nets are willing to trade just about anybody on their team.
Humphries has had a fairly pedestrian seven-year career, but he's been a pleasant surprise in Newark this season, leading the team with 9.4 rebounds per game, and chipping in a respectable 8.9 points per game, to boot.
The other thing the Heat have lacked this year, other than a solid solution at point guard, is a real banger down low. With Udonis Haslem out for the season after having foot surgery, that void isn't going away anytime soon.
Humphries is no great shakes, but he'd be a big body who would grab some boards, and he's relatively affordable.
8) Hasheem Thabeet
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Thabeet has been mostly a bust in his two seasons in the NBA after being the second overall pick out of Connecticut in 2009.
He has failed to work his way into the Memphis lineup, and is barely playing this season, averaging just 8.7 minutes per game.
He has looked to be even more of a project that he was initially viewed as, and with Memphis stuck in fourth place in the Southwest (how Memphis qualifies as the 'Southwest' is another story), they might be amenable to someone taking him off their hands for the right price.
Miami could offer a bench player or two who might actually get some minutes, and/or a draft pick. It wouldn't be the trade heard 'round the world, but as with Humphries, it would get Miami a big body (Thabeet is 7'3", 263 pounds) who might be able to bang a bit and play some defense, at least.
7) Joel Przybilla
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Przybilla is a veteran big man who's had his share of injury woes, but he's been taking advantage of an increased role lately with Portland in the wake of Marcus Camby going down, starting their last four games.
He might be available though, because Portland, with Brandon Roy also sidelined, has bigger needs, and could be amenable to parting with Przybilla for a reasonable fee. Other teams, such as the Knicks, have already expressed some interest.
For a player who would be expected to be nothing more than a backup center, playing 20 or so minutes a night, and grab some rebounds, Miami could do worse than the man with the easiest name to spell in sports.
6) Tracy McGrady
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McGrady wouldn't fill the Heat's biggest needs (point guard, big man who can bang), but he's still potentially a good fit.
He'd come extremely cheap for a player of his pedigree, as he signed with the Pistons this season for just $1.3 million, and with his deal expiring at season's end, Miami would be able to re-evaluate where they wanted to go at that point.
He can certainly still provide some scoring punch off the bench, and would be able to give the second unit a proven leader who defenses would have to at least respect. At this point in his career, he just wants to win, and he'd have no problem sublimating his ego for the good of the team.
5) O.J. Mayo
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After bursting onto the scene as one of the best rookies of the class of 2008, O.J. Mayo's career has gone downhill.
He's recently found himself in hot water with the league for testing positive for DHEA, a banned substance, and received a 10-game suspension.
That may have been the last straw for Memphis, who were already linked to trade talks involving Mayo a few weeks ago when the Knicks were trying to get back into the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes.
Now the Heat might be able to score him on the cheap. Perhaps it's not the most likely scenario, but Heat boss Pat Riley owes it to himself to at least examine every possible option of deepening his team.
Mayo, still on his rookie contract, would be reasonably affordable. He might not like coming off the bench, but he also might not have a choice, wherever he ends up.
4) Daniel Gibson
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The massive void left by LeBron James' departure has caused the Cavs to sink to the worst record in the NBA this season, 8-37 through Thursday.
One of the players who's been left to pick up the pieces is Daniel Gibson, who's clearly grown frustrated with the situation he finds himself in.
But he's still a productive enough player, averaging 13.5 points and 3.2 assists, and he's obviously already familiar with LeBron, having been one of his best friends on the team during their four years as teammates.
Whether or not Cleveland would feel like further helping out LeBron in a new city is an open question, but from the Heat's perspective, he'd be a good fit.
3) Sebastian Telfair
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Timberwolves fans aren't going to like the next three slides.
The team currently has a glut of options at point guard, and it makes no sense to keep everyone around. Minnesota's roster features Luke Ridnour, Jonny Flynn, and Sebastian Telfair, and that Rubio kid is still their property, as well.
With the worst record in the Western Conference, they'd be wise to move some of their assets for expiring contracts and draft picks, to continue the rebuilding process.
If you look at the next couple of slides, I'm not saying all of these guys will be traded, but at least one of them almost certainly will, so I'm examining each one in turn.
Telfair has never really found his niche in the NBA, but he's still young enough (25) to blossom more than he's been able to so far if he finds the right system. He doesn't really seem to have much of a place with the T-Wolves as they're currently composed.
2) Luke Ridnour
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Ridnour is the Wolves' other option to be on the move.
He's played well this year in his first season in the land of 10,000 lakes, but he's about to turn 30, and with the Wolves still at least a couple of years away from contention, his value to them would seem to be more in what he could bring back in a potential trade.
He'll have his fair share of suitors though, so the Heat won't be alone in their pursuit. Still, he's a steady hand who could provide the big three in Miami with the touches they need to gel even better than they have already.
1) Ricky Rubio
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Rubio has refused to sign with the T-Wolves since he was drafted by them back in 2009, continuing to play for his Spanish league team in Barcelona.
He's often expressed his desire for the team to trade him to a team on the east coast, specifically the Knicks, Celtics, or yes, the Heat, and he doesn't seem to be backing down from that demand.
The question is if the Heat have enough to offer Wolves GM David Kahn, and the short answer is right now, probably not. But that won't stop them from trying.
Rubio's unselfish, pass-first mentality and flashy, uptempo style would mesh perfectly with the Heat attack, and he'd be an instant star with the large Latin population in South Florida.
They might just have to wait until the offseason to see if he's still available, but Pat Riley and crew definitely already have their eye on Rubio as their potential point guard solution for the future.