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Standing Pat? - Riley’s Past Moves At The Trade Deadline

The latest rumors and reports peg Miami as the team to watch as the trade deadline fast approaches and it’s easy to see why. In addition to their combination of several expiring contracts and soon-to-be free agent Dwyane Wade’s recent public pleas for help, Pat Riley and the Heat have historically been quite active at the trade deadline. In 1996, Riley’s first season with the Heat, he made three different trades at the deadline to bring in Tim Hardaway, Tyrone Corbin, Chris Gatling, Walt Williams and Tony Smith. Coupled with the preseason addition of Alonzo Mourning at the expense of Glen Rice, Riley had managed to completely overhaul the prior season’s roster leaving Keith Askins as the only pre-Riley-era player left at the end of the season. At the next year’s deadline, Riley (after attempts to deal for Derrick Coleman fell through) rolled the dice again and traded away second year forward Kurt Thomas in favor of Jamal Mashburn on Valentine’s Day. Despite having the league’s second best record (38-12) behind Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Riley still felt the need to tinker with the roster in a futile attempt to get past the defending champs in the playoffs. The following year Riley unsuccessfully attempted to trade for Sacramento’s Mitch Richmond but settled for making a swap with the Clippers, exchanging Ike Austin for Brent Barry. Both players were due to be free agents that summer and Riley was not going to be able to afford to re-sign Austin to a new contract. Barry only played 17 games for the Heat and was not even placed on their playoff roster. Over the next years as his teams went up in the standings, Riley preferred making major moves over the summer to overhaul the roster while making smaller moves at the deadline. Never being afraid to reboot and revamp his rosters when necessary, he brought in Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason and Brian Grant in 2000 while acquiring Antoine Walker, Jason Williams and James Posey before the 2005-06 championship season. Only minor moves were made at the deadline during these years such as acquiring Steve Smith from Charlotte for Malik Allen in 2005. But Heat activity at the trading deadline has been active recently. Two years ago Pat Riley traded an unhappy Shaquille O’Neal to Phoenix for Shawn Marion and then a year later traded the Matrix to Toronto for Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon. If recent rumors prove true, then it might be three straight years that Riley trades an "O’Neal" at the deadline. Jermaine’s $23 million dollar expiring contract might prove to be too attractive to move now to give Wade immediate help rather than wait this summer to sign a free agent to a max contract. The thinking was that the Heat could coast to a .500 record this season with the current roster and make a decent run at the playoffs before becoming the offseason’s biggest player. Unfortunately, the Heat’s younger players have not developed as expected and Jermaine O’Neal has been uneven in his comeback from knee surgeries which has forced Riley to take a look at what can be done immediately to appease Wade and fans who have had to sit through a mediocre 14-12 home record. Check back very soon as we take a look at what options the Heat have before 3:00 PM on February 18.