Currently, the Miami Heat are in a terrible position.
They've lost their best player and others to injury, Chris Bosh is hardly living up to his max deal, their point guards are barely league qualified (right now), and they are struggling to hold on to a playoff seeding after losing two straight games on the road against two sub-par teams and then struggling mightily against former NBA Finals rival San Antonio Spurs.
The Heat have dug themselves into a hole and it seems the only commendable escape will be a first round playoff exit, but that's if they can even make it that far since they're currently in the ninth spot in the East. Like it or not, it's time for the Heat to make some moves and start looking towards the future, as this season is, in all respects, a bust.
Who can the Heat trade?
Miami believed in Mario following a horrific NBA Finals display, and after offering him a solid deal in the offseason they have to feel as if their princess is in another castle.
Chalmers has been a shell of himself this season, and while playing fairly well when Wade has been hurt, he lacks consistency and it is costly for a team that needs him at his best. While averaging a career-best in points per game, Chalmers is shooting a career-worst from the field (40.2%) and from beyond the arc (27%).
Everybody knows that Chalmers is a capable point guard -- he's been a key part of two championship runs. Unfortunately, his services no longer suit this team, and it's time for him to leave.
I genuinely thought Norris Cole would have a breakout season this year. Everything was set up for him to succeed, a starting role, the confidence of his teammates, and more playoff experience than Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady combined. To say Cole has been horrible for the Heat is an understatement. He barely looks NBA-ready, let alone someone who's known nothing but reaching the NBA Finals. It's clear that Cole doesn't have a place in the rotation anymore as made evident by Erik Spoelstra's DNPs and the inbounding fiasco against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Cole is a great defender, but without a fifth straight trip to the Finals looming his upside is minimal in Miami.
I like Danny Granger a lot, and following the Cleveland game on Christmas Day I thought he had finally found himself after dealing with so many injuries. I was mistaken it seems. Danny Granger can't do what he used to, and I fear it is all mental. The once polarizing scorer seems to disappear after missing easy jump-shots, and trying to make up for it on the defensive end becomes a huge liability offensively and ultimately costs the Heat key possessions. Granger would be a great fit on a championship contender which is what Pat Riley initially envisioned, but at this point he's wasting away on our roster which is a shame for a man once compared to Kobe and LeBron.
It's clear that Birdman wants to stay in South Beach, however with the emergence of Hassan Whiteside he's become a valuable trade asset. Birdman can bring so much energy off the bench, and really deliver when called upon. Unless he plans on retiring in South Beach, this might be time to trade him given his injury proneness. I fear however, that Miami will reciprocate the loyalty he showed in free-agency and lose a valuable business decision in the process.
I scoffed when Memphis tried to acquire Deng just a few short months ago, and it seems my judgement may have been a tad premature. The LeBron replacement that Miami worked so hard to acquire has not been very good. When he was traded to Cleveland last season many chalked his poor play to a new city, and poor management. With that being said, Deng is averaging nearly identical numbers in Miami and that doesn't seem as if it's going to change anytime soon. Deng has flashes of greatness, but the way he hobbles up and down the floor it's clear that Chicago took his best from him. Deng is still a big name, and cutting ties with him might work in Miami's favor down the line.
I still get upset thinking about Josh McRoberts, I was so excited about him healing and becoming an integral part of Miami's roster especially after a great showing against Phoenix that ultimately sealed his fate. Miami doesn't need to trade Josh McRoberts, and I have him in this list because I still get upset about seeing him in all of the promotional materials. That being said, for the right offer McRoberts could be expendable. This is a business, nobody's safe. Right LBJ?
Who can't we trade?
He's Dwyane Wade. The Miami Heat aren't trading Dwyane Wade.
I personally would look to trade Bosh, but the Heat won't. Plus with his hefty contract it would be hard to find suitors.
The rook has potential, but he also has little to no trade value.
Johnson is solid, but nobody would trade for him (and the Heat haven't even decided if he'll stick around for the rest of the season). At least not until he demonstrates ability on the NBA floor.
Remember when Williams used to start and had some value? Yeah me too.
Hassan isn't going anywhere soon.
The two time NCAA champion has potential, but with frequent trips in and out of the D-League he doesn't exactly scream trade value.
Who can we get
There was talk recently about swapping Norris Cole for Gary Neal, and I think this could be a good trade, BUT Neal is also shooting a career low from beyond the arc (28%) compared to 40% last season. With that being said he's a good scoring point guard, and with the Heat skilled at moving the ball he could possibly become a useful asset from deep. I still have nightmares of Gary Neal in the 2013 Finals; okay I don't, but I'd still like him on our team.
The Heat were frothing at the mouth for Reggie Jackson before he was snatched away in the draft, forcing Miami to settle on Norris Cole. If Marc Stein is to be believed they are a potential sleeper team to grab the point guard. I would gladly part with Chalmers and Cole for Jackson. I think he has potential to be a great point guard and would be a quality performer for the Heat. He was fantastic following the multiple injuries to Russell Westbrook, and I have no doubt that he can perform consistently every night.
Brook Lopez has been linked to multiple teams, but the Nets seem unlikely to let him go. He's obviously not worth as much as Brooklyn thinks he is. Also, with Hassan emerging, Miami's need for a center has come and gone. I'd rather have his brother. He has better hair.
Phoenix has a ton of tradable assets, some who are living in the D-League right now. TJ Warren and Tyler Ennis are both very good players who could help out Miami, but with Pat Riley's reluctance to take a chance on inexperienced players Gerald Green becomes a possibility. There is no real backup for Wade when he's out, and Shannon Brown was never going to be that guy. So why not the four fingered assassin Gerald Green? He's incredibly athletic, and can shoot the three ball very well. If Wade's hamstring acts up after this layoff, the Heat need somebody to figure things out. Green can be that guy.
Minnesota's Thaddeus Young is also a possibility to help spacing and scoring on the wing. He's also a potential buy low candidate for the Heat considering his statistical drop off when compared to last season with the Sixers. Currently Young is averaging his lowest field goal percentage .445 to go along with 14.3 points a game. He's also had a mixture of injury and personal problems this season making him less valuable. He's not my favorite pickup, but Miami needs to do something to help right the ship and Young is good for a dunk or two.
I'm aware I've kept you here for awhile, so I'm going to wrap this up quickly. It's simple the Heat will not be successful in their current incarnation, and thus need to make changes while its still possible. I'm sure that without all these injuries this would have been a great Heat season, but it hasn't been. Despite the discovery of Whiteside, this season has been deplorable, and I for one would rather try to make a change to help things along rather than roll over and accept defeat.