The Miami Heat need a center. They could use a point guard, too, but center is the big need. They gaze into their playoff crystal ball and they see the Celtics and Lakers and their giant front lines. They realize what a matchup nightmare that would be for them.
So the Heat are dangling swingman Mike Miller in an effort to find a center (or a point guard), according to Brian Windhorst at ESPN.
Miller is the Heat’s most tradable asset, even though he’s in the first season of a five-year, $29 million contract he signed last summer and is averaging just 5.9 points on 41 percent shooting as he recovers from a hand injury that cost him the first two months of the season.
One executive said the Heat have been calling around but just “don’t have much they can trade.” This is literally true, as several of Miami’s players who signed minimum contracts this summer — such as Jamaal Magliore and Carlos Arroyo — can’t be traded without their permission because they’d lose their Bird Rights. Two other players, Udonis Haslem and rookie Dexter Pittman, are both out recovering from surgeries. The only other significant asset the Heat have that would merit any interest is the Timberwolves’ 2011 second-round pick, which would be a sweetener at best.
Center is the biggest issue for the Heat. Not so much on offense, but on defense the Heat need a guy who can clog the lane, block shots and rebound. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra started Erick Dampier at center Tuesday. He’s that desperate.
Miller did not play Tuesday, but that has noting to do with a trade. He is still suffering some concussion symptoms after getting hit in the head in three consecutive games last week. But when Miller was signed he was going to be the missing piece — the spread-the-floor swingman who would make teams pay for collapsing on the slashing LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. However, James Jones has become such a reliable three-point threat that Miller could be moved if they can find the center they desperately need.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.
Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.
His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.
Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.