ESPN’s Marc Stein reports:
The Miami Heat’s position on trades is no secret. They won’t even consider making a deal for anyone whose contract extends beyond this season to preserve every cent of their projected trove of salary-cap space for July 1, 2010.
But the Heat have, according to NBA front-office sources, explored the possibility of trading for Washington’s highly available Mike James, whose first coach in a 11-team career in 2001-02 was Pat Riley in Miami.
Sources say that the teams discussed a trade during the preseason, but the Wizards balked because Miami would not send back an expiring contract. The Wiz have a similar mindset to Miami’s, determined not to take back anything but expiring salaries in minor deals like this one.
Stein goes on to report that Miami may have added motivation to acquire James because during Michael Beasley’s troubles and subsequent rehab in Houston this past August, he hosted the youngster at a private gym for workouts.
It’s no secret that Ernie Grunfeld probably needs to make a move. Guys are getting healthy, the Wizards have a lot of guards, and Mike James likely won’t go down without a fight/quietly. But Grunfeld is one to bide his time, and I’m not necessarily seeing the Heat, a division rival, as a strong possibility for a trade (unless, as Stein mentions, a third team gets involved).
Stein also reports, “Quentin Richardson and Udonis Haslem are the only expiring deals Riley can offer in exchange for James without a third team being recruited to help faciliate a trade.”
Richardson doesn’t help the team much, unless Grunfeld, for some reason, wants a three-point shooter who has history of back problems, plays spotty defense, and doesn’t seem to get along with Brendan Haywood.
The two got into a shouting match late in the game during a Wizards loss down in Miami on November 10th, and I couldn’t help but notice a couple exchanges between the two when the Wiz won in Miami on November 27th.
If the Heat want to send Udonis Haslem in exchange for Mike James and Fabricio Oberto (after December 15th when Fab becomes eligible to be traded), no one will complain. Of course, Pat Riley values Haslem and doesn’t go for that in a million years. He’d likely ask for someone Grunfeld doesn’t want to give up, like JaVale McGee.
Mike Prada of Bullets Forever makes a plausible proposal:
Maybe something like James and Shaun Livingston to Miami, Haslem to Oklahoma City and a second-round pick to DC.
Makes sense if Grunfeld is interested in getting James’ contract off the books before it would count toward the luxury tax, which is calculated after the last game of the season.
The report from Stein is a timely, but early, speculative feeler. Nonetheless, stay tuned.