Winderman: Dumping Beasley might be Heat's best option

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Beasley_Block.jpgAmid the Heat’s epic struggle in its first-round series against the Celtics, and amid Michael Beasley’s no-show against both Kevin Garnett and Glen “Big Baby” Davis in the opening two games, arrives the debate of where Beasley’s trade value stands.

Granted, two years is hardly is the best evaluation period for a 21-year-old power forward whose (lack-of) maturity level has been well-chronicled. But Dwyane Wade made it abundantly clear in his Tuesday comments at TD Garden that patience is wearing thin, that Beasley shouldn’t be waiting for his opening.

“There’s an opening for him every night,” Wade said. “He’s just got to walk inside the door.”

Appreciate that not only is Wade shooting 61.1 percent from the floor despite standing as the Celtics’ overwhelming focus, but no other Heat player is shooting better than Mario Chalmers’ 41.7 percent in a series the league is poised to dump on NBA TV (seriously, for Game 5). By contrast, five Celtics are shooting at least 50 percent.

Beasley is at 9 of 22, with 19 total points.

So what would Michael fetch on the open market?

It doesn’t matter.

It well could wind up being in the Heat’s best interest to trade him for nothing.

Zippo. Zero. Nada.

In fact, that just might be the best trade the Heat could make.

With the new 2010-11 salary-cap projection of $56.1 million, it is possible for the Heat to position itself for three max-level free agents if it is able to get a team with cap space to bite on a package of Beasley and Daequan Cook for a future draft choice.

For a less-attractive market such as Sacramento and Minnesota, it essentially would be something for nothing, utilizing cap space without having to recruit, able to walk from Beasley’s contract in a year if there is another offseason of distraction.

That’s where this confluence of 2010 free agency and Beasley’s uneven play has delivered the Heat.

His $5 million 2010-11 salary might best serve the Heat by simply disappearing, especially if the Heat can get a suitor to also sign off on acquiring Cook’s $2.2 million. That, somewhat astonishingly, would leave the Heat with only about $3 million in committed 2010-11 salary, even less if Chalmers’ option is not picked up.

For as much upside as many believe Beasley has, the question is not whether an additional $7 million in cap space would prove more beneficial, but whether it would be more to Wade’s liking.

Both the Kings and ‘Wolves could absorb Beasley’s 2010-11 salary without having to send anything out. He would be a bridge to Ricky Rubio for the ‘Wolves, someone to develop alongside Tyreke Evans for the Kings. For the Heat, there could be a valued draft pick in return.

It comes down to this for the Heat: Could it do more with $7 million-plus in cap space then it currently is doing with Beasley?

These days, the cash has a higher shooting percentage.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.

Report: Clippers PG Patrick Beverley out rest of season

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Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley underwent knee surgery – never a great sign.

The prognosis is about as bad as could be expected.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This injury isn’t just a setback for this season. It could derail the Clippers’ long-term plan.

They’ve already lost nine straight, and Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic are injured. If they fall further out of playoff position, they could become sellers before the trade deadline, especially with DeAndre Jordan ($24,119,025 player option for next season) and Lou Williams ($7 million salary on expiring contract).

Health was always the major question with this team, and it won’t soften as Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari age through lucrative contracts.

The final year of Beverley’s contract is guaranteed for just $5,027,028 next season, and the 29-year-old will spend most of the summer recovering from this injury. That salary is probably low enough that the Clippers will keep him without hesitation.

Until then, down a couple point guards, the Clippers have no choice but to continue leaning more on Austin Rivers. That also means greater roles for second-round rookies Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. That’s just too many players facing outsized responsibility.

The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Jazz and any other team competing for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference ought to feel better about their chances. They’re still competing with each other, and it’s doubtful all three make it. But Beverley’s injury helps clear the way.

The Clippers, who didn’t want to take a major step back after Chris Paul‘s departure, must confront an even more uneasy reality.

Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Bucks-Suns Eric Bledsoe revenge game

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Giannis Antetokounmpoone of the NBA’s best players – won’t help new Bucks teammate Eric Bledsoe in a revenge game against the Suns tonight.

Not only is Milwaukee missing Mirza Teletovic and John Henson (and Matthew Dellavedova and Jabari Parker), Antetokounmpo is out.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Antetokounmpo will miss Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right knee soreness.

Antetokounmpo says his knee soreness is the same injury he dealt with in the off-season, which caused him to withdraw from the Greek national team.

“It feels good,” Antetokounmpo said after sitting out shootaround. “I’m just trying to be careful with it and not make any damage. That’s it, because it’s a long season and I’m trying to be careful.”

The Bucks have been outscored by 18.6 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo this season (and are +2.3 without him). Phoenix isn’t good, but neither is Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo.

I don’t think Bledsoe will mind a chance to get more aggressive tonight, though.

Report: Mexico City could host NBA’s 31st minor-league team

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said his league would look into placing a franchise in Mexico City.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s minor-league has affiliates for 26 of 30 NBA teams and counting. The league also has youth academies in China, India, Australia and Senegal – and also counting.

Jonathan Givony of  ESPN:

The NBA will announce a new basketball development and training academy in Mexico City during the Global Games December 7th and 9th, in conjunction with CONADE (Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport) and the Mexican Basketball Federation, sources told ESPN.

Mexico City could emerge as the 31st G League franchise, where prospects from the seven academies graduate up to, according to sources.

A minor-league team in Mexico City could be a nice testing ground for an NBA franchise. An unaffiliated minor-league team is also an interesting wrinkle, especially how it’d be stocked.

Ultimately, experimentation is a purpose of the NBA’s minor league. This would be running multiple test cases at once.