It's upsetting that Mario Chalmers' reputation has made him the butt of almost all Heat-related jokes. Despite being constantly yelled at by teammates, Chalmers has enjoyed a solid basketball pedigree.
Mario is an NCAA Champion in addition to being a two-time NBA champion. Moreover, while certainly not basketball related, what other NBA player do you know who's been named to People's sexiest men alive list. To say the least, Alaska's Sexiest man is a special player and has had his moments as a member of the Miami Heat, however he's declined significantly since the 2014 NBA Finals and thus it now appears as if his future with the Heat organization is in jeopardy.
Upon reading Zach Lowe's "Free Agency Winners/Losers" piece, it's clear where Miami's stance is on Mario and why they may or may not be shopping him:
Bringing Wade back on a one-year, $20 million deal puts the Heat about $13 million over the projected tax line, and Miami wants no part of the harsh repeater penalties that would come with paying the tax for a fourth time in five seasons. Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen are available for nothing, per several league sources, and the Heat have even put out Shabazz Napier feelers with an eye on carving out extra cap room next summer.
I can understand why the Heat would be shopping Birdman (he just turned 37) and Shabazz Napier (let's face it, he was really only drafted to make LeBron happy), however I do really believe that Mario has a role on this team even if it's shifted significantly since 2014.
Why he should stay:
Right now Miami's depth chart at shooting guard is as follows:
This depth chart as is should frighten you, once you remove Mario Chalmers it becomes terrifying. For Dwyane Wade it's not a question of "if" he will miss games to injury this season, but "when" and generally (or at least last season) when Wade is out, Mario performs at his best.
In the 18 games Mario started with Wade out he averaged 13.1 points, 5.8 assists, and shot 41% from the field, as per StatMuse. These numbers are significantly better than the 9.3 points, 3.3 assists and the 39.8% field goal percentage he averaged when Wade did play. With that being said, it's obvious that Miami needs Mario's output to be competitive with Wade on the bench.
Despite some impressive Summer League play, Dragic and Richardson are simply not NBA ready at this time, and Miami would become a liability from the shooting guard position if Chalmers was dealt. While Justise Winslow could spend time at that position as well, his skills seem to be more suited at the small forward position and will likely play behind Luol Deng in his rookie season.
Be that as it may, Miami does have solid reasoning from a basketball standpoint to want to deal 'Rio.
Why he should go:
Mario makes questionable decisions
Sometimes I can't help but praise Chalmers as he drives recklessly and contorts his body to make a difficult shot, but other times I have to take a minute to understand what was going through his mind. Mario has been in the league seven years, and can now be considered a veteran, so while he should be doing things like this:
He's usually doing things like this:
His shooting declined significantly
While a lot can be attributed to a shift in role, various statistics shouldn't have changed drastically for Chalmers from 2014 to 2015. In the 2013-2014 season Mario shot 38% from the three point line, however this year (when Miami desperately needed help from beyond the arc) he averaged 29%, a career worst for him. I know he entered a shooting slump in the 2014 Finals, yet it's hard to believe it could last a whole year.
He's lost touch with his role
Perhaps it's mental, but after the 2014 Finals, Mario seemed to lose confidence. He didn't think he would be re-signed by the Heat, and when Norris Cole stole the starting spot from him he appeared to be at an all time low. In April, Chalmers voiced his concerns explaining that he didn't really know what his role on the team was anymore and didn't improve as the season whined down. While this could change with a Dragic run offense, there's really no telling if Mario will be able to get back to his old ways.
While it's understandable why Miami might want to get rid of Chalmers, they simply cannot do so with the depth chart the way it is at this moment in time. Without Wade, there's nobody to pick up the scoring slack besides Mario, and thus he's essential to the team for the time being. Mario is also a product of the Heat culture and has been part of numerous championship runs, so he really does have veteran knowledge -- though oftentimes he doesn't show it.
The only reason why Mario should be dealt, is if Miami signs a veteran shooting guard to backup Wade. Other than that I don't think the Heat are in a position to part with him, especially for nothing.