A week out from the Trade Deadline (February 23), and while the odds probably favor Pat Riley and the Miami Heat — wait for it — standing pat that’s not nearly as fun to write about as exploring some riveting trade possibilities.
Serge Ibaka, a Heat target, per the Miami Herald, before eventually landing in a deal to the Toronto Raptors, may be off the table (the Heat did make an offer, according to Ric Bucher), and considering the Heat can’t trade a first-rounder until their pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, it’s tricky to drum up trade scenarios where the Heat improves in the short-term.
Boogie to South Beach
I don’t care who they want and how much of a head case he is — DeMarcus Cousins is among the five most talented players in the game. There is nothing the 26-year-old big can’t do with the ball in his hands and coaching magician Erik Spoelstra could mold him into a plus defensive player. He’s a superior talent to Hassan Whiteside, who I think should be traded for many reasons.
While you’re worried about Boogie swapping in South Beach for sleeping, Riley is dreaming about rings. You have to risk it to get the biscuit.
While it’s been reported he’s not attainable, let’s assume he is — for the right price.
So the meat of the deal includes the following:
- Miami receives Boogie Cousins, Rudy Gay (injured), and filler (Trey Burke)
- Sacramento receives Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Washington’s first-round pick, and this Satoransky fellow who holds extreme value to Kings GM Vlade Divac because they’re both from the same continent.
- Washington receives James Johnson and Darren Collison.
Miami says yes because although they give up a bulk of their young core they land their whale in Boogie without trading Goran Dragic (or Dion Waiters!), while also having the flexibility to lure another key piece in Free Agency this summer when Chris Bosh’s salary is likely expunged. The injured Gay is coming off a torn achilles but could add value down the road if he opts in and makes a nice recovery.
Sacramento says yes because outside of the New York Bricks, they’re the most dysfunctional organization in basketball. In realty they also land the intriguing and polarizing Whiteside for Round 2 and a package of talented youngsters that includes Richardson, Winslow (tough to sell this early and this low but Boogie is a superstar), and a Euro, in addition to not only Washington’s first-rounder but also increasing the value of their own pick (which could now land in the Top 5).
Washington says yes because they’re sizzling of late and built to win now. They add tremendous depth to both their front court and backcourt in James “poor man’s LeBron” Johnson and the explosive Collison.
Could a potential best five of Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gay, and DeMarcus Cousins contend next year? I think so…
Here we have what amounts to the Heat unloading Whiteside for what’s currently slotted as the No. 7 pick in the upcoming draft. Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans (filler) are both on expiring deals.
Miami says yes because it gives them more liquid ammo to pursue a whale this summer while also possessing more salary cap flexibility. Or it gives them the right to develop another young talent in what’s being billed as a loaded draft. Maybe they could then package both first-rounders to try to move up for a Top 3 pick on draft night if the lottery doesn’t fall in their favor.
New Orleans says yes because apparently they’re going to try to have Anthony Davis play the 4 long-term despite it violating every law of modern basketball. A Whiteside-Davis tandem has the potential to anchor Top 3 defenses for years to come and there is elite perimeter talent in Free Agency this summer.
As for the current season’s implications, Holiday is a very good point guard who’d be joining a crowded Heat backcourt but could definitely help them push towards the playoffs, albeit with some unconventionally tiny lineups.
This deal, trading Dragic for Orlando’s first-rounder, is purely to appease the Tank Season crowd. In reality I don’t think I’d make the move even if the pick is unprotected because Dragic likely pushes the Magic’s pick (slotted at fifth now) to somewhere in the No. 10 range and I think a player of his caliber is worth more than that.
Now if Orlando’s pick ends up being slotted in the neighborhood of No. 5 after the lottery, I’d be comfortable making the move before the draft because it’d give them a good shot at landing an elite young talent with superstar upside or a big trade chip.
The return of Dwyane Wade
It’s incredible to think that even if this deal were possible despite the incredibly lopsided salaries, Miami would definitely say no. The 25-year-old Waiters, because of his shooting and defensive potential, offers Miami a superior pairing with Dragic.
There’s absolutely no question Waiters at $3 million is more valuable than Wade at $23 million but it may still hold truth even if their salaries were equal.
Long live Waiters Island.