As the trade deadline nears (February 24th - 3:00 PM EST), teams are hastily calling each other to either round out their contending rosters, gut themselves for the re-building process or make economic adjustments to avoid the luxury tax. Surya has been diligently reporting the trade/signing rumors as they surge although some are unintentional fluff comedy (Curry: endlessly hilarious). Here's a quick light-hearted look at the possibilities for humorous purposes, silly and unlikely as they may be. For the record, I'm strongly against trading Mike Miller unless it's to acquire a proven big. (Note: Joel Anthony's contract has a Base Year Compensation worth $1.6M but the TM does not allow for such consideration. Include a combination of Eddie House/Mario Chalmers to make salaries work for each scenario.) Memphis Grizzlies: OJ Mayo + Hasheem Thabeet for Mike Miller + Joel Anthony + Jamaal Magloire Why? OJ Mayo has been vocal about his displeasure with coming off the bench and would like a change of scenery. The young guard would provide the Heat with a threat from outside, fresh legs and support when either Wade or James rest. Thabeet has been long labeled a bust as a product of his selection as the 2nd pick overall but could develop with the right nurture. You can't teach 7-foot-3 and his size could come in handy in the playoffs against the Celtics three-headed monster of the O'neals and Perkins, the Magic's Howard and the Lakers' Bynum. Why not? Riley has long been impatient with youth and giving up a seasoned veteran such as Mike Miller, a proven defensive stopper in Joel and the extra bag of bruise in Mags fails to reach any common sense. Mayo is merely a younger, quicker and shorter version of Mike and Thabeet has the blocking ability potential of Joel with Magloire's girth to go along with his foul-prone defense, court awareness deficits, unappealing contract and a perpetual state of Lost in Translation motions. Miami isn't a charity or composed for an influx of unproven youth but another team looking to rebuild could do much worse than Mayo with the Thabeet residuals. Pass. Dallas Mavericks: Brendan Haywood for Mike Miller + Joel Anthony Why? Tyson Chandler's resurgence in Dallas has resulted in diminished minutes for Brendan Haywood in a backup role not tangible with his contract. Knowing Mark Cuban, he's likely to offer Chandler a ludicrous, extended contract at some point, cementing him as the Maverick's starting center until his large body disintegrates. Haywood would be a notable upgrade in the middle and a solid big man for years to come for Miami. Dallas' Caron Butler contract expires this season and Mike would provide them with a decent replacement at the SF position in alternate rotation with Shawn Marion. Joel's defensive contributions would join Mahinmi's to complete the Maverick's frontcourt. Why Not? Haywood is currently 31 years old and his $41.7M contract lasts at least until the 2014/15 season when he'll turn 35. As his hefty contract increases every year, the Heat would find themselves deeper into the luxury tax than they'd like to absorb with such player unless it continuously paid off worthy dividends (namely, multiple championships). Either way, the Mavs are hesitant to trade away the only Tyson Chandler insurance and backup if they are to move past the Twin Towers in LA. This one is a risky wash even if considered. Unless.....this (sprinkle some picks all around). Denver Nuggets: Nene Hilario + Melvin Ely + Gary Forbes for Mike Miller + Eddie House + Joel Anthony+ Zydrunas Ilgauskas + Wishful Thinking + Roofie in Masai Ujuri's Morning Orange Juice Why? The large, 250 pound soccer-playing Brazilian would provide Miami exactly what it needs in the middle. Why Not? Miami has an Accept button permanently "ON" for this offer. Denver would have to be under the influence of supernova drugs to give up Nene unless they received promising talent to round out their rebuilding efforts. Nene is making a $11.4M this season with an $11.6M Player Option next season but is looking for a $12M/yr extension now to carry him through retirement. ESPN has reported talks of a contract extension to keep him but nothing has been confirmed on paper. Denver could bypass Nene's desire and use the savings for the incoming youth plus Miller and Joel as solid support with their skill-appropriate contracts. If so, Nene could enjoy being traded away to a contending team such as the Heat to increase his chances of a ring and a legacy before he becomes a free agent and reigns in the last contract of his career. Nene has been vocal about his indifference for money, as he has bigger things planned for his future following his planned retirement in 2016. Bonus Concoctions: Kaman would be an interesting quest for the Heat but would have to involve one or more teams to make contracts work. Going after Portland's Przybilla would be another risky move and one the Blazers would be wise to accept instead of losing him for nothing in free agency. The Raymond Felton fascination? More need for a big.
ChasersIt's a known fact the contracts given to Wade, LeBron and Bosh has Miami's flexibility for the future hanging on the Mid Level Exception availability after a new CBA and players willing to accept minimum contracts in order to chase a ring. Both will likely have to wait until next season and on, but let's take a look at long shots that could find themselves in Miami if circumstances align and Pat Riley opens his arms: Chauncey Billups - His trade to New York has all but erased the possibilities of a buyout thought possible if the Nuggets had traded Carmelo away and kept him with a surrounding of expirings and youth. Miami was said to be a possible destination if such event occurred and it would be incredibly foolish of Miami to reject him. Unless the Knicks fall out of contention and Billups becomes irreparably discontent in NY, he'll be at the MSG basking in the flashing lights. Now, next year...... Troy Murphy - The 6'11" big man with the deadly accuracy and rebounding prowess would be a fine addition to any playoff team. There's certain similarities with Bosh's skill set that might render him less useful in Miami and might lure Troy to a rival since he's looking to start. If given a starting frontcourt pairing with Bosh, the spacing they would provide for Wade and James would be of Moses' proportion. As previously reported:
UPDATE: As we noted earlier, Murphy is indeed on his way to Golden State for Wright and Gadzuric. If he's bought out, as The Oakland Tribune suggested he likely will be, it's possible the Magic could sign him, as the team could use another body in the frontcourt. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports last week, the Hornets, Celtics, Heat and Mavericks could also all show interest in Murphy once a buyout comes. So he could have a fair amount of suitors coming his way soon.Samuel Dalembert - Pure imaginary speculation from my part on this, but the Kings are the 3rd worst team in the NBA on their way to a high draft pick. Dalembert is the highest paid on the team with a $12.2M expiring contract that could net the Kings some youth and/or picks, followed by a buyout to further increase the savings and allowing him freedom to be acquired by a contending team looking for size. Why not Miami? He's an upgrade over the Big Cat, and....uhm...Miami is closer to his homeland of Haiti? Again, speculation. (UPDATE: Kings are actually not spending enough of the salary cap. Need to add $1.04M before the deadline.) Eddy Curry - Tim Grover is legendary for his training methods, but he's not a magician. In a best case scenario, he's 6 heavy handed fouls to give. How is it different from our boy, Mags? Veteran PG X - Uncle. Give up. The trade landscape for the Miami Heat is one of the smallest in the league with Miller the only viable player to offer alongside Joel's less appealing contract. The Miami Heat organization pride themselves of loyalty and breaking the team's current synergy built over the season could be detrimental to the team unless the additions were of significant, playoff pedigree nature. It never hurts to speculate, have some fun with the ESPN Trade Machine and refuse to give up hope on Pat Riley's swagger. He did manage to land three All-Stars in Miami and surely has plenty of tricks left in his swag bag. In Riley We Trust.