The Miami Heat haven't made many monumental trades throughout the past two decades of the franchises existence, but they have made the right deals and that's what has usually counted in the end.
The team could attribute all of their success to trades since their key players in the late-1990's, the championship runs in the mid-2000's, and even the team today were all brought to the Heat via trades. Aside from Dwyane Wade, the Heat have found each and every one of their All-Star caliber players by acquiring them as part of a trade.
Miami has also built teams from trades, including the 2006 championship team that was built on a deal that involved five teams and 13 players. The deal was made a few months after the teams supporting cast failed to help lead the Heat to their first championship appearance where Dwyane Wade was hampered by an injury in game six and seven of the Conference Finals. Miami knew moves had to be made and they were able to secure a title a year later because of it.
For over 20 years, the Heat have always somehow been able to make the right moves. Here are ten of the greatest deals that they have made since the franchise has been around.
Toronto Raptors trade Jermaine O'Neal, Jamario Moon, and a 2010 second round pick for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks
It wasn't the type of deal that was going to put the Miami Heat over the top, but it was the deal that needed to be done.
The team needed a center and Shawn Marion wasn't fitting in with the Heat's slower, more methodical pace of offense. The Heat packaged Marion and Banks once again by sending them to the Toronto Raptors for former All-Star center Jermaine O'Neal, a young role player in Jamario Moon, and a second round pick that would turn out to be Da'Sean Butler.
O'Neal would play in one and a half seasons with the Heat before walking. He averaged 14 points and seven rebounds per game in the one full season he played with the Heat and would help lead them to the post season. Jamario Moon would only play in 26 games before being let go.
Marion would only play in 27 games with the Raptors before being sent to Dallas and winning his first title a year later. Banks is still in Toronto, but is hardly seeing any time and only played in three games last year.
It was fun while it lasted.
After four seasons with the Miami Heat where he had already secured his fourth NBA title, Shaquille O'Neal decided that it was time to talk his way out of another team. Once he began to criticize the training staff for his injuries and the entire organization as a whole, the Heat decided it was time for the Shaq era to end and the Dwyane Wade era to truly begin.
The Heat would trade O'Neal to the Phoenix Suns for one of their top swingmen in Shawn Marion and back-up point guard Marcus Banks. Marion would only play in the 16 games the year he joined the team would play in 42 more the next season before being traded. He would average 12 points and six rebounds per in the half of a season he spent with the Heat.
Banks would be seldom used by the Heat and would only be seen in 28 games in the two years he spent with Miami.
As part of a three team trade: the Portland Trail Blazers trade Brian Grant to Miami; the Cleveland Cavaliers trade Shawn Kemp to Portland; Miami trades Clarence Weatherspoon, Chris Gatling, and a 2001 first round pick to Cleveland; Portland trades Gary Grant to Cleveland.
As you can tell, the Miami Heat became desperate in their search for a center.
After a few productive seasons with the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers where he would average as much as 14 points and ten rebounds per in different seasons, the Heat decided to take a chance by offering Grant a deal he couldn't refuse. He would spend four seasons with the Heat and would average a career high of 15 points per game in his first season with the team.
He would also average his career high of 10 rebounds per in his final season with the team.
Clarence Weatherspoon and Chris Gatling would only play one season with Cleveland. The first round pick ended up being Brendan Haywood.
Charlotte Hornets trade Eddie Jones, Ricky Davis, Dale Ellis, and Anthony Mason for P.J. Brown, Rodney Buford, Tim James, Jamal Mashburn, and Otis Thorpe
After years of heartbreak suffered in the post season, mostly at the hands of the New York Knicks, the Heat organization decided it was time to make significant changes. Miami had reached their peak with the roster they had put out on a nightly basis for over five years and were now ready to start signing young players to bring in a new era of Heat basketball.
By sending out long time Heat players in P.J. Brown and Jamal Mashburn among others, the team would acquire Eddie Jones and a young Ricky Davis from the Charlotte Hornets. Jones would play for the Heat from 2000-2005, as well as a stint during the 2006-'07 season, and would have some of his best basketball come from Miami as the scoring leader for a time. He would average over 17 points per game for four seasons, before averaging 12 in his final season with the team.
Davis would only play in seven games for Miami and Ellis would be waived by the Heat before playing one game. Mason would spend one season and would average 16 points per game.
Brown would be a member of the Hornets from 2000-2006 and would average over ten points per game for three consecutive seasons. Mashburn would play for the Hornets from 2000-2004 and would average at least 20 points per game in each season before suddenly retiring at only 31 years old.
Rodney Buford was waived a month after joining Charlotte, Tim James would only play in 30 games, and Otis Thorpe would play in 49 games before retiring.
Dallas Mavericks trade Jamal Mashburn for Sasha Danilovic, Martin Muursepp, and Kurt Thomas
No wonder the Dallas Mavericks wanted to beat the Miami Heat so badly this year in the Finals, they were just trying to get revenge after the Heat robbed them blind of Jamal Mashburn in 1997.
Mashburn would be the Mavericks first round pick and would be selected number four overall. He would average 19 points in his rookie season and 24 in his sophomore. He would only play in 18 games the next season due to injury trouble and would only average 11 points per game in the 37 games he did play with Dallas the following year. The Mavericks seemed convinced that Mashburn's career was over and they traded him before the 1996-'97 came to an end.
Jamal would join the Heat and would be one of the teams most important role players during their post season runs throughout the late-1990's and early-2000's. He would spend three and a half seasons with the Heat before being traded to Charlotte.
Sasha Danilovic would only play in 13 games with Dallas, Martin Muursepp would play one and a half seasons for the Mavericks before being a part of the deal that brought Steve Nash to Dallas, and Kurt Thomas would only play in five games.
As part of a five team trade: the Boston Celtics trade Antoine Walker to Miami, the Memphis Grizzlies trade Andre Emmett, James Posey, and Jason Williams to Miami; the Grizzlies trade Greg Ostertag to the Utah Jazz; Miami trades Qyntel Woods, Alberto Miralles, a 2006 second round pick, and a 2008 second round pick to Boston; Miami trades Eddie Jones to Memphis and Rasual Butler to New Orleans; New Orleans trades Robert Duenas to Miami; Utah trades Curtis Borchardt to Boston, Raul Lopez to Memphis, and Kirk Snyder to New Orleans.
Following the disappointing end of the 2004-'05 season where they had lost in game seven of the Conference Finals, the Miami Heat knew that some changes had to be made if they were going to be vaulted over the top.
They managed to do that by being involved in a five team trade where 13 players changed teams and two draft picks were exchanged. The Heat traded away a few role players in Eddie Jones, Rasual Butler, Qyntel Woods, and Alberto Miralles for the talents of Antoine Walker, Andre Emmett, James Posey,and Jason Williams.
Walker, Posey, and Williams would all play significant roles on the Heat's 2006 championship team with Antoine starting at small forward, Jason starting at point guard, and James coming off the bench as the teams sixth man and main three-point threat.
The Golden State Warriors trade Tim Hardaway and Chris Gatling for Bimbo Coles and Kevin Willis
The Miami Heat were ready to become one of the Eastern Conference's most formidable foes. They had already obtained Alonzo Mourning and a quality supporting cast, but still lacked the point guard that would team up with Mourning in forming one of the league's top inside-outside duos.
They looked no further than the Golden State Warriors who had one of the league's top scoring trios between Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin. Hardaway spent his first five and a half seasons with the Warriors and had averaged career highs of 23 points and 11 assists per contest. Golden State decided to trade him along with Chris Gatling for basically nothing.
Hardaway would be a member of the Heat from 1995-2001 and would help lead the team to some of their best seasons in franchise history. He would go as far as to make the All-NBA First team following the 1996-'97 campaign.
Chris Gatling would only play in 24 games.
Bimbo Coles would play three less than stellar seasons with Golden State and Kevin Willis would only spend 28 games with the team.
Cleveland Cavaliers trade LeBron James for a 2011 second round pick, two future first round pick, and a future second round pick.
After seven seasons of post season failure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, small forward LeBron James decided it was time to take his talents elsewhere during the free agency period.
He held a nationally televised special dealing with where he would go on July 8th. Cleveland, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and the Los Angeles Clippers would all emerge as front runners, but it wouldn't be until the day of the decision that the Miami Heat began to emerge as the team most likely to get James after already signing Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh a few days prior.
James announced he would join the Heat and he would go on to help lead the team to their second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. The Cavaliers would suffer the worst losing streak in NBA history and would nearly finish dead last in the standings after winning 61 games the season prior. They would use the 2011 second round pick on Milan Macvan.
Charlotte Hornets trade Alonzo Mourning, LeRon Ellis, and Pete Myers for Glen Rice, Matt Geiger, Khalid Reeves, and a first round pick
With Alonzo Mourning feuding with Larry Johnson as members of the Charlotte Hornets, a trade needed to be made to keep the two away from each other and off of the same team.
Miami didn't have much to offer the Hornets, but they managed to obtain Mourning by giving up their lone superstar in Glen Rice and a few other pieces. Rice had spent his first six seasons with the Heat and was just beginning to develop into an All-Star after averaging 22 points per game in his final season with Miami.
The Heat hadn't found much success with Rice leading the way however, so it was time for the Heat to make some sort of change. They did that by trading him for 6'11" power forward/center Alonzo Mourning, who would go on to become one of the Heat's most beloved players in franchise history. He would have his best seasons with the Heat and the team would have their best seasons with him on the team.
Mourning would help the Heat become a perennial contender, but he would only make it to one Conference Final prior to his first retirement. It wasn't until late in his career as a back-up that he was able to secure his first and only championship. The players he arrived with in Pete Myers would be waived by the Heat mid-way through the season after averaging five points per game in 39 contests.
LeRon Ellis would play 12 games with Miami before being waived as well.
Rice would play three seasons with Charlotte and would average a career high 27 points per game in his second season with the team. Center Matt Geiger would also spend three years with Charlotte and point guard Khalid Reeves would be traded after playing 20 games with the Hornets.
Los Angeles Lakers trade Shaquille O'Neal for Brian Grant, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, and a 2006 first-round pick.
Considered one of the biggest deals over the past decade, the Miami Heat were the one team lucky enough to take advantage of the public feud between O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
With O'Neal unhappy in Los Angeles and demanding a trade, deals were considered with Shaq being sent to Sacramento emerging as one of his top destinations. It wasn't until Pat Riley stepped in that the Lakers started considering making a deal with the Heat for a few of their top players. The Heat were coming off of a 42-40 season where they made the postseason and advanced past the second round, led by rookie Dwyane Wade.
This deal is still recognized today as one of Riley's best moves since he was able to trade for Shaq and keep Wade at the same time. All he had to do was give up an overpaid Grant, a raw Butler, and a developing Odom, as well as a future first -ound pick that would turn out to be used to draft Jordan Farmar.
O'Neal went to Miami and won a title in his second season with the team after advancing to and losing in the Eastern Conference Finals the season prior. He spent two more seasons with the Heat before being traded away.
As for the Lakers, Grant was traded and retired a season late,r and Butler was used in a trade that brought Kwame Brown to Los Angeles. Odom was the only part of the package to stay with Los Angeles and he went on to win two titles.