The NBA trade season is about to pick up some steam. That’s because on December 15, players who were signed in the off-season are now eligible to be a part of trades.
This is the first of two waves, the second will be at the trade deadline in February. With the Miami Heat struggling, at 8-17 on the season, it seems likely that at some point they are going to make some moves.
The question is whether these moves will to be to improve the team, or further send them down the pipe to create future flexibility and ensure a better draft pick. That question, I will not seek to answer. What I want to do is focus on the five most likely candidates to be traded this season.
#1 Luke Babbitt
Babbitt is a shooter, but he hasn’t found a great spot and role with this team. He has a small contract and could be valuable to a team that is seeking his skill set. Babbitt isn’t a necessity for the Heat. They like his shooting, but Ellington is a better player than him, and IF everyone is healthy he seems to be the last one out.
I see the Heat moving Babbitt if they can get an asset in return, and someone with an expiring contract as well.
#2 Goran Dragic
This only happens if Pat Riley decides to end this experiment and tank. Which he very well could decide to do depending on the team’s status later this season. Right now, Miami is 1.5 GB of last in the NBA.
Trading Dragic won’t be easy. There are plenty of teams who would want them, but Miami needs significant draft picks and salary to make it work. The Heat gave up two first round picks to get him, they aren’t going to give him away for free. This is likely a trade deadline deal if it were to happen.
#3 Rodney McGruder
He’s been playing a lot, but I don’t think the team is in love with him. If another team wants him and is willing to give up a good pick to get him (not highly likely), then they will move him. The backcourt is already crowded and they are committed to Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson moving forward.
#4 Dion Waiters
Again, this is a scenario if the Heat decide the season to be a tank. At his salary, there are a lot of teams that will take a bite. The issue is what will they give back. I think Riley would move Waiters for a first round pick if they decided to give up on the season. Maybe a team like Atlanta or Charlotte would take that chance to propel them forward.
#5 Josh McRoberts
Ideally he would be number one on this list but it is so hard to trade him. They have tried and failed. McRoberts is making almost $6 million this year and next year with a player option. Who wants that and who is giving up anything of value (asset included) for him?
It’s an unlikely deal, but it is a deal that will stay on the table until the deadline passes.
These are all just opinions and thoughts, I don’t have any insight into the Heat organization or decision making process. Feel free to chime in or disagree, just keep it civil.