First off, I'd like to wish a happy (belated) birthday to Dwyane Wade, who turned 28 yesterday. It's kinda refreshing to think that he is just 1 year and 13 days older then I am. Being that we're pretty close to the same age, I starting thinking about ‘our' age and how much more a (relatively) young and healthy athlete could perform at the highest level. He is obviously in much better shape then yours truly (as any of my flag football teammates would be happy to attest to) and that makes me feel better about how many ‘good' years D-Wade has left.
I feel very confident that I'll be playing football and hockey and whatever else I want to for many many years to come, so I can only imagine how much D-Wade will have left in the tank considering that he has some of the best trainers in the world to keep him as fresh as possible. I'm bringing this up because so many people are upset with the Heat for ‘wasting a year' of his prime. I still believe that you have to look at the bigger picture. Maybe after the Heat follow through with the bolstering of their lineup, the naysayers will jump back on the ‘In Pat We Trust' bandwagon.
Dwyane also achieved a major Heat milestone during their loss in Oklahoma City on Saturday. His 5th assist gave him 2,868 for his career, passing Tim Hardaway for the all-time assist leader in Heat franchise history. Dwyane reached the mark in a very cool way. All 5 assists were on dunks by Wade's teammates; three of the first four were all ally-oop lobs, 2 to Michael Beasley and 1 to Udonis Haslem. The record-breaker was a nice pass to Jermaine O'Neal, setting him up for a big 2-handed slamma. Congratulations, Dwyane!
Moving on, I was reading Ira Winderman's blog earlier and his latest entry brought up an interesting point regarding Dorell Wright. Apparently, the Memphis Grizzlies really like the Heat forward and may look to acquire him on or before the February 18th trade deadline. Should this kind of move go down, the Heat would instantly save $7 million that they would have had to spend due to the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax.
Dorell will be a free agent after this season and it made me wonder what he would be worth in a new contract. I would have to assume nowhere near the big dollar deal he signed when drafted as a young 1st round prospect, but probably something closer to the $2.9 million that he is making this season. I imagine the Heat would take some picks in exchange for Dorell, and Memphis has three 1st round picks to dangle in front of Pat Riley.
Would that be worth dealing Wright? Saving money and gaining a pick or two sounds pretty nice, but how much better can D-Wright get? Is the ceiling still high? Is this year just the scratching of the surface or more a glimpse into the future of Dorell's career? He has always been a solid defender and I can see that improving as he gets some consistent game time under his belt.
We'll see how this all pans out. I'm curious to see how high of a 1st round pick Wright could be worth. I am still unsure how I'd feel about the Heat dealing Dorell when he is just starting to get his career going, but looking at the short term I don't think it makes much of a difference. As far as Miami's record and where they will finish in the standings, having Dorell Wright on the team isn't going to have big influence on if they finish 5th or 7th or whatever.
The one guy who may not mind is James Jones, who would likely be the beneficiary of the minutes that are vacated with Dorell's departure. It would also mean that Yakhouba Diawara might be able to wear his Heat uniform instead of a suit and tie at the end of the bench in Mark Blount's old season ticket. With exactly one month until the trade deadline, it gives Heat fans something else to think about. And as you all know, with Pat Riley you never know what may happen.