Scarier thought: Playing a better version of the Heat.
Despite spending much of the 2013-14 regular season in cruise control, the Heat are still scary good. Naked-pictures-of-Robin-Williams scary; any-movie-starring-Jason-Bateman good. And according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge, they’re hoping to get even better:
With Oden looking like he can be a contributor, the Heat sent veteran center Joel Anthony to Boston last week as part of a three-team deal that brought guard Toney Douglas to Miami. But people around the league think the Heat are still looking to make another deal, for a wing, before the trade deadline.
Nothing to see here. Probably.
Roster-managing sage Pat Riley is always looking for ways to get better, constantly upending rocks in hopes of finding a steal. This is no different.
Well, almost no different.
Dwyane Wade is resting more than usual this season as Miami continues its quest for a third straight championship and fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance. They’ve been looking for a “wing” long before now, when Jordan Crawford was still on the Celtics.
Ultimately, they landed Toney Douglas from the Warriors, a deteriorating shooter known for his defense. Douglas’ role, if he even has one, in Miami remains unknown. But we know he’s not a “wing.”
What the Heat need is a shooting guard who can step in and provide valuable minutes with or without Wade. They really don’t have that right now.
Shane Battier, Rashard Lewis and Michael Beasley have all seen valuable playing time, but none of them are a shooting guard. Though Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have each seen time at the 2 as well, they’re no shooting guards, either. The Heat only have Roger Mason Jr., the veteran combo guard who has been used sparingly.
Another, more capable or statistically sound player could garner more playing time. Who that player might be, we don’t know, since the Heat don’t exactly have assets to burn.
Their most valuable draft pick was sent to Boston in Joel Anthony’s departure, and as far as tangible assets go, it’s unlikely anyone other than Cole or Chalmers would generate interest—maybe Udonis Haslem, but that’s a big maybe. Once you consider who they would be giving up, it’s clear whoever they’ll get won’t be a show-stopping household name. Hell, they may not even come via trade.
With Oden playing more and Mason still receiving minutes, the Heat could be holding a tryout of sorts, figuring out which player to cut, giving them the ability to sign a free agent. Having traded Anthony, it’s unlikely to be Oden, who has actually shown he can withstand actual playing time.
Douglas and Mason are more likely candidates. The Heat could cut ties with one of them, then attempt to sign a Shannon Brown or maybe a Richard Hamilton. Both are intriguing names, the former for his athleticism and the latter for his Wade-esque mid-range game.
Whatever the Heat decide to do—pursue a trade or free-agency signing—their options are limited. Absence of cap space and lack of tradeable assets means they cannot set sights too high.
Luckily for them, they don’t need another star or flashy name. They’re already pretty good.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com.