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Miami Heat Trade Rumors: Is Mike Miller on the Outs, and Nene Coming In?

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 08:  Mike Miller #13 of the Miami Heat posts up Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers during a game at American Airlines Arena on February 8, 2011 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.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Danny DolphinAnalyst IFebruary 23, 2011

The NBA trade deadline is quickly approaching, and the rumor mill is churning. The Heat weren’t thought to be major players in the trade arena this year, but Pat Riley just may have something up his sleeve.

According to ESPN‘s Brian Windhorst, the Miami Heat may not be done making major moves and have “floated” Mike Miller around in various trade scenarios. Windhorst believes Miller, who’s on the first of a five-year contract worth $29 million, is the Heat’s most tradable asset, a fair assessment.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports has reported Miami is among one of several teams who’ve contacted Denver about starting center Nene. He would be a vast upgrade at center for Miami, but it currently appears Denver would like to give him an extension. Also within the same story from Yahoo, it states the Heat are among several teams interested in forward Troy Murphy once he is bought out.


Analysis

Nuggets center Nene would be an amazing option for the Heat. He’s big (6’11", 250), nimble, efficient (he leads the league in shooting percentage) and would be the Heat’s answer at center for years to come.

Whether Miami could put together a good package for him remains iffy. He is making $11.6 million this year, meaning Mike Miller ($5 million) would surely have to be included in the deal, as would someone like Joel Anthony ($3.3 million). Dexter Pittman and next year’s lone draft pick in the second round would likely sweeten the deal.

Then again this could be another Carmelo Anthony situation as Nene has the option of opting out of his contract at the end of the season. He could theoretically control his own destiny by only agreeing to a contract extension with certain teams. This would put pressure on Denver as they don’t want to lose him for nothing this summer when he can opt out.

The Nene situation is going to be interesting, but I don’t consider the Heat major players just yet. To make things more difficult, most of the Heat’s roster is made up of players on minimum salaries, meaning they would have to agree to be traded. This matters because Miller, Pittman and Anthony wouldn’t be enough salary for the trade to be legal under the CBA rules.

The trade deadline is Thursday at noon.

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