This column’s premise is ripped off the one Bill Simmons created on ESPN and carried over to Grantland. Salaries matter. Age matters. Contract length matters. Imagine any player can be traded straight up regardless of salary-cap ramifications, but the next morning everything reverts back to normal.
Even sans the sad Chris Bosh news — I imagine we’ll know after the NBA Trade Deadline — the Miami Heat has experienced a yo-yo season through 53 games. Their defense took a giant step forward but their offense has been limited due to a mismatch of parts and inept perimeter shooting.
Hours from Thursday’s deadline and Pat Riley’s brain has to be spinning. It would be surprising to see them pull off an impactful move at this time considering their limited tradable assets and Bosh’s health situation.
Let’s rank the Heat roster by trade value. Bosh was not included for obvious reasons.
14. Udonis Haslem
Haslem will almost assuredly remain in the only NBA uniform he’s ever worn. He’s a Heat Lifer in every sense as his career winds down. He’d actually have some sort of value had he developed a 3-point shot.
13. Chris Andersen Brian Roberts
12. Jarnell Stokes
11. Josh Richardson
These two are young, cheap, and have value similar to future second-round picks. They’re both former second-rounders who potentially could carve out bench roles down the line.
They’re both developmental prospects who appear at least a season or two away from having a shot at cracking a rotation.
10. Beno Udrih
9. Amar’e Stoudemire
8. Gerald Green
The three veterans above are specialists, each capable of doing one thing well but none truly impact the game on both ends.
Beno is a capable reserve point guard who can get you into your offense. Amar’e can still get buckets in a hurry. Gerald probably ranks in the NBA’s 97th percentile based on pure physical ability, but like Michael Beasley before him, can’t seem to put it together. You’d think he could’ve been at least an asset as a 3-and-D wing, but he’s just too inconsistent.
7. Josh McRoberts
Fun fact: McRoberts leads the team in Net Rating in a limited sample size, with the Heat outscoring opponents by 4.7 points for every 100 possessions he’s on the court. This is even with his reluctancy to ever attempt to put the round thing through the net anymore.
With Bosh likely out for some time, they’ll need his versatility now more than ever. Unfortunately McBob’s ligaments are apparently made of string cheese.
6. Luol Deng
A consummate professional and somehow the Heat’s leading 3-point shooter among healthy players at 36 percent. Yet his game has fallen off and he’s not as good as he once was across the board, from shooting to defending.
Once a formidable two-way wing, he’s just another guy in 2016 and likely won’t be back next season. He could have some value to a contender looking to add 3-and-D help to the middle/back of its rotation.
5. Tyler Johnson
Potentially out for the season with a shoulder injury, Johnson’s presence is sorely missed. Statistically he’s the best 3-point shooter on the roster and hounds the perimeter defensively.
He’s also a restricted free agent this summer and turns 24 in May, making him an attractive asset, whose value is temporarily limited because of his injury.
4. Hassan Whiteside
If only Whiteside had Bird Rights, allowing his team in free agency to offer him more money than any other on the open market. But he’s making less than $1 million on an expiring deal and unless he’s going to a fringe contender, it makes no sense to trade for him.
The enigmatic Whiteside is clearly both wildly talented and immature, playing in an era where the conventional big man is becoming extinct. I think Hassan definitely has value as a player going forward but cannot fathom paying this enigma $20 million a season. One GM will.
3. Dwyane Wade
2. Goran Dragic
The Wade faithful will want to bash my skull in after seeing him ranked behind Dragic on this list but there’s no argument to be made for the contrary.
Dragic is not only younger (29 to Wade’s 34) and healthier but his team plays dramatically better with him than they do with Wade, notes NBA cap guru @AlbertRandom1.
- Miami’s Net Rating with Dragic and Wade: +0.2.
- Miami’s Net Rating with Wade and no Dragic: -5.4.
- Miami’s Net Rating with Dragic and no Wade: +11.4.
Wade is a Miami sports icon, one of the NBA’s greatest 25 players of all time, and has done more for this franchise than any other player in its history but the 2016 version of Dwyane Wade is neutering Goran Dragic. His team would benefit from him coming off the bench.
If both were on the market, Dragic would bring back much better value in return, hence the higher trade value. His $85-million contract over five years will look solid after the summer.
1. Justise Winslow
With Bosh’s status unknown the No. 1 guy on the Miami Heat in terms of pure trade value is indisputably Winslow.
He’s already a lockdown defender in what has quickly become a perimeter-driven league. Worst case, he’s an ace defender with a high basketball IQ and an inconsistent jump shot. Best case, he’s a do-it-all specimen who can carry a team on both ends. I don’t think Justise will ever be the No. 1 player on a contender but I do think he’ll develop into a surefire No. 2.
Compound the immense potential with his rookie deal that will pay him just $11.2 million through the 2018-19 season (restricted free agent in the summer of 2019) and his value is through the roof.
The only chance of Riley listening to a deal involving the 19-year-old — again, 19-year-old — is if a proven superstar is coming back in return. There’s no more valuable asset on the Miami Heat than Justise Winslow.