Several ESPN NBA analysts recently previewed the Miami Heat’s season and among the most interesting topics was potential trades.
Asked what deal would “make the most sense” for Miami, and Tom Haberstroh proffered a potential trade sending Goran Dragic to the Sacramento Kings for a package that includes Rudy Gay.
Something like Dragic and McRoberts for Rudy Gay, Willie Cauley-Stein and a 2020 first-rounder. The Kings, who employ a disgruntled starter in Gay, desperately need a point guard and the Heat could use Hassan Whiteside insurance up front.
There’s been plenty of talk about how Gay could be a good fit in Miami, and while I think that’s true offensively — especially as a stretch four — trading your best offensive playmaker isn’t a wise move unless it’s netting a legitimate upgrade in return. Gay’s resume doesn’t bode well for him being a top two or three option with the ball in his hands — at least not on a great team.
Also, Willie Cauley-Stein is a completely one-dimensional player and that 2020 first-rounder isn’t exactly super enticing to Pat Riley.
Haberstroh also talked of the Heat’s thin depth and how they should tank if one of their key players gets injured.
“Outside of Dragic and Whiteside, the rest of the Heat roster is filled with guys who have been fighting for NBA minutes or roster spots over the past calendar year,” Haberstroh said. “If Whiteside or Dragic falters or gets hurt, the Heat need to press the tank button.”
I regrettably agree tanking would be the move IF they were to lose Whiteside or Dragic to a season-ending injury. They’re just not deep enough at the top of the roster.
But if that were to happen, they’d probably lose games organically. There would be no need to then trade an asset like Dragic, who likely will thrive without Dwyane Wade siphoning his usage while failing to spread the court.
Miami’s shortest road to a title isn’t tanking until they land a gem in the draft. That path is painful and absolutely has no place within the Miami Heat’s culture, especially with Riley’s basketball years dwindling.
Let’s see what happens with Goran Dragic and Hasan Whiteside leading, with several fun and impactful young players rounding out the core. Erik Spoelstra also has a ton to prove this season, with this team perhaps best suiting his basketball ideals than any other in his coaching career.
While most are extremely down on Miami’s postseason chances this season, I’m confident that they have enough to be in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. They’re no contender, but they’ll be competitive, kind of like last year’s Boston Celtics.
Meanwhile, like Haberstroh, Jorge Sedano, Ethan Skolnick, Skip Bayless, and countless others, Amin Elhassan agrees wholeheartedly with the Heat’s dire outlook this season, saying “this team isn’t very good.”