As the Miami Heat near the first trade deadline after their NBA title season, it's worth exploring whether the team needs to make any moves to solidify its already-talented roster.
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With LeBron James playing at other-worldly level (27.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists per game, 42.4 percent from the three-point line) and superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in tow, the Heat seem poised to make another serious run at postseason glory. At 36-14 coming out of the All-Star break, they are entrenched as the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, a full four games ahead of the nearest competitor, the New York Knicks.
But the best teams always strive to get better via any means possible. Fortunately, they may have already fixed their biggest issue with one of the league's smallest signings. Then, there's the fact that the Heat have recently shifted from their normally active ways in February after acquiring the superstar trio of James, Wade and Bosh, as Ira Winderman of the Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel writes.
Joel Anthony is one potential trade chip because of his $3.8 million due in 2013-14 and player option for the same in 2014-15.
Veteran Chris "Birdman" Andersen was brought in to address Miami's deficiencies in the frontcourt. In 50 games, the Heat are averaging a league-worst 38.9 rebounds per game. Though he's averaged just 10.8 minutes per game in Miami this season, he's averaging 11.7 rebounds per 36 minutes and giving them valuable energy off the bench.
Miami signed him to a 10-day contract on Jan. 20 and liked what they saw enough to extend him through the remainder of the season on Feb. 9. It may be the best move they've made all year long. It also may be the only move they need to make
DeJuan Blair was on the radar for a while, but that would have been a more expensive move in a potential trade and likely would have cost the Heat some key personnel in order to make it work from a salary standpoint. The inexpensive signing of Andersen cost a fraction of the price and is effectively serving the same purpose. The only thing Blair could have added that Andersen doesn't bring to the table is a slightly more refined offensive game.
At this point, it's hard to imagine any players as potential trade chips in this market. A player like Josh Smith could fit, but he would be too rich for Miami, as he's been reportedly seeking a maximum contract. With more than $84 million on the books for this season and more than $86 million in 2013-14, the Heat aren't going to be willing take on any big salaries via the trade market.