A few days ago, I wrote about the rumor that would send Kyle Lowry to the Heat in exchange for Joel Anthony, James Jones and a first round pick. While that deal seems unlikely to happen (see: it won't be happening), reports are still floating around that the Heat are looking to add backcourt depth for nights when Dwyane Wade sits.
While Lowry is very unlikely to join the Heat, that doesn't mean the team won't be looking around for somebody to fill in for 3 (are we still calling him this?). There are three potential routes that the Heat can take to fill that void:
2) Free agency
3) Stay in house
There are also a few things that the Heat will inevitably be looking for in that replacement player
1) Three point shooting
2) Defensive ability
3) Fit in the system
It's unlikely that they find a player who fits all three of these things. The most important, at least given the culture of the team, is that the player fits in the system, and is willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if that means sitting out four out of every five games.
Between the other two, it's really a toss up. There are guys available who can give either/or, but finding a combination of both seems a little unlikely. Ideally, you find somebody who is good at one, and not bad at the other. It's useless finding a fill in if they're going to hurt you on one end of the floor.
I'm of the belief that the Heat would need to be blown away to include their first round pick in this year's draft in any potential trade, due to the depth of the draft and the uncertainty surrounding next year's team, and without including the pick, the Heat really lack the assets to make a move that way. I mean, is anybody really going to be interested in paying Joel Anthony $4.5 million next season to not play basketball with no other incentives? Probably not.
Here is a complete list of guards who are looking to make a mid-season impact, courtesy of Mark Deeks (@MarkDeeksNBA).
The Heat roster is at capacity right now with 15 players. They have two non-guaranteed contracts on the roster right now, in Michael Beasley and Roger Mason Jr. Beasley and Mason's contract become fully guaranteed on January 10th. The only way for the Heat to sign a free agent off of that list is to trim the roster to 14, which they would have to do by either trade or waiving one of Beasley or Mason. Like I said, a trade seems unlikely to me, and they aren't going to waive Beasley, so the question becomes if they value Mason over anybody in the free agent pool (more on this in a bit).
A few players jump out at me off of that list:
- Leandro Barbosa: According to Deeks, Barbosa is averaging 22 points in 33 minutes a night playing in Brazil right now. Barbosa seems to fit what the Heat would be looking for: He's a career 39% three-point shooter, and he isn't a bad defender (albeit he isn't Dwyane Wade).
- Richard Hamilton: This one only jumps off the list because he played for the Bulls last year and it seems that he's going to re-enter the league at some point this season, but I would be surprised if he ends up in Miami. His three-point percentage dropped to 30.8% last season, the second worst mark since the 2005-2006 season. Defensively, the Bulls were 1.2 points per 100 possessions better with Hamilton on the floor, but they were 5 points worse offensively. I just don't see this one happening.
- Troy Daniels: Daniels played his college ball at VCU, where they run a defense similar to the Heat in the sense that they like to trap and create chaos (or havoc, as some might say), and Daniels thrived in the system. Offensively, Daniels is on pace to break every three-point record known to man. Seriously. The Rockets waived Daniels during the preseason, and he is currently in the D-League. He wouldn't fit the mold of past Heat pickups, but his skillset seems to fit.
- Trey McKinney-Jones: Miami [Hurricane] fans will recognize this name. Truth be told, I had forgotten about Trey until reading this article, but the fit makes some sense: he has range and plays hard on defense. As Deeks mentions, he's currently averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game in the D-League. I'm not expecting this to happen, but it's an interesting name.
Stay In House
This is, by far, the most likely option. Roger Mason Jr. is a career 38% three-point shooter, and is actually shooting 48% from deep in limited action this season. He's well liked by his teammates and the organization as a whole, and has had no problem adapting to life as a bench warmer. Basically, he's this team's Juwan Howard, if Juwan Howard was actually needed to play once in a while.
When the Heat added Birdman last season, the need was obvious (see: tall person with functioning limbs) and the fit was obvious (Birdman plays hard, rebounds, and doesn't need to touch the ball on offense). The thing is, the Heat didn't have anybody already on the roster who could provide those things, at least in a competent manner (sorry, Joel).
This season the story is a bit different. While it may be more exciting to bring in somebody new and shake things up, that doesn't seem like it will be the case this year. My guess is that the Heat will eventually decide that Mason is their guy when he's needed, and that they are okay sacrificing a few regular season games in favor of keeping Flash ready for the playoffs (seriously, how many nicknames does this guy need?).
Did I just write almost a thousand words telling you that the Heat will do nothing?
Oh, I did?
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