Three-team trade: Michael Carter-Williams to Bucks, Brandon Knight to Suns, 2015 first round pick to Sixers


In what was an insane final rush before the trade deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers sent reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee as part of a three-team deal that included Phoenix.

In return, the Sixers get the Lakers’ top-five protected 2015 first round pick that was owed to Phoenix, while the Suns get Brandon Knight from the Bucks (to help replace Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, who were sent out).

Milwaukee also receives Mason Plumlee and Tyler Ennis from Phoenix.

Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the story, but it was quickly confirmed by multiple sources.

This trade broke all at once — with some false reports along the way — but here’s how it shakes out.

What the Sixers got that they wanted more is picks. Maybe some very good picks.

That pick is top five protected this season and next (it’s likely the Lakers are one of the five worst teams in the league this year, but 2016 is up in the air).

The Bucks are fans of Carter-Williams and they landed their man (on a rookie deal) along with Tyler Enis and Miles Plumlee of the Suns. That’s three guys with some potential. They wanted to get rid of Knight because they were afraid he would get overpaid this season.

The Suns may be willing to pay Knight because he will make less than Dragic. Knight is averaging 17.8 points a game, shooting 40.9 percent from three and has a PER of 18.5. He was a borderline All-Star in the East and can be a solid fit next to Bledsoe.

The Suns made massive changes to the roster through multiple deals — they traded away both Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, they get in return two Miami first round picks (likely 2017 and 2019), the Cavaliers 2016 first-round pick, Marcus Thornton, Kendall Marshall, Danny Granger, Shawne Williams, and Justin Hamilton, in addition to Knight. They have remade the roster, and not in a way that’s just about grabbing the eight seed this season.

Suns trade Goran Dragic to Miami Heat


The Suns have traded Goran Dragic to the Heat, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Goran and his brother Zoran Dragic went to Miami, and the Suns received Danny Granger, Norris Cole, Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton and two first-round picks — one from 2017 (top-seven protected), the other from 2021.

The deal was part of a big roster shakeup for the Suns, but one that leaves them in a better position going forward, and especially heading into next season.

Dragic had informed Phoenix that he wouldn’t re-sign there as an unrestricted free agent this summer, due to trust issues he had with the front office, along with being unhappy with his off-the-ball role alongside fellow point guards Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas.

The Suns netted two first-round picks for Dragic, which is a lot for someone who would have been gone at the end of the season regardless. Most of the ancillary players in the deal are likely to be waived, and one — Norris Cole — was already traded to the Pelicans.

Phoenix also netted Brandon Knight from Milwaukee as a very nice Dragic replacement, and one who will be a restricted free agent this summer, yet won’t command the max contract that Dragic is likely to (and almost certainly would have been seeking). That move cost them Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis, but neither player was a key part of the rotation this season.

Finally, the Suns solved their too-many-point-guard problem by sending Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics, in exchange for Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first round pick (via Cleveland) that is top-10 protected in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and unprotected in 2019. With the Cavaliers expected to be one of the league’s top teams again next season, however, Phoenix will likely get to use it next year.

Josh McRoberts tears meniscus, possibly out for season


Josh McRoberts’ time with the Heat hadn’t been going well.

From offseason toe surgery that limited him in camp to ripping his jersey in frustration to another minor injury sidelining him, something has often been going wrong. There was hope the new acquisition would get back on track, but it won’t happen anytime soon.

As poorly as McRoberts has played this season – he’s averaging 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game – the Heat have been much better with him on the court.

McRoberts on:

  • Offensive rating: 103.9
  • Defensive rating: 97.8
  • Net rating: +6.1

McRoberts off:

  • Offensive rating: 103.5
  • Defensive rating: 110.0
  • Net rating: -6.5

His skills – passing, shooting and defending with length – just work in Erik Spoelstra’s system.

Justin Hamilton and Shawne Williams figure to get a larger roles going forward, and they can hold their own by playing hard. But without McRoberts, Miami’s ceiling is considerably lower.

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Miami Heat


Last season: A fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals resulted in disappointment, as the Heat were steamrolled by the Spurs in five games. The ease with which Miami was dispatched was troubling, so much so that LeBron James re-signing — something most believed to be a foregone conclusion — was suddenly thrown into question. And as the team scrambled to show a willingness to improve by signing guys like Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger in the early days of free agency, the underwhelming nature of those additions ultimately saw James expedite his plan to return home to Cleveland to once again play for the Cavaliers.

Signature highlight from last season: It was tempting to go with the pair of alley-ops Dwyane Wade and LeBron James connected on in the Christmas Day win over the Lakers, because the way the two consistently got out on the break like this for easy buckets in transition during their four years together was about as signature as it gets. But with a nod to the upcoming season where James won’t be present, it felt fitting to go with Wade’s drive and dish to Chris Bosh for a game-winning three against the Blazers — a contest in which James sat out due to injury.

Key offseason moves:

Keys to the Heat season:

Life after LeBron: Having the game’s best player on the roster definitely has its advantages, and it isn’t something anyone in the Heat organization would choose to change about the last four seasons. But now that James has moved on, everything is immediately different on both ends of the floor. The continuity in place with Wade and Bosh being the team’s leaders, and with the highly competent Erik Spoelstra on the sidelines should ease the transition to a certain extent. But Miami will need to reinvent itself from an Xs and Os standpoint, and just how quickly the players get acclimated to those changes will largely determine their success, especially in the early parts of the upcoming season.

The health of Dwyane Wade: Wade was on a strict maintenance program last season to keep his knee from flaring up during the playoffs as it did the year prior, and that left him a gametime decision most nights. It was part of the reason he was limited to participating in just 54 regular season contests, and for the Heat to be successful in the post-LeBron era, they’re going to need a lot more than that out of Wade — not only in terms of minutes played, but also in terms of increased production. The good news for Heat fans is that Wade is planning on doing exactly that, but it’ll be interesting to see how he holds up while pushing himself to play more than he has in any of his previous three seasons.

The return of CB4: Chris Bosh is a perennial All-Star, but since coming to Miami, his numbers have dipped due to having to change his role, while sacrificing personal levels of production for the greater good of the franchise. Thankfully for the Heat, he has proven to be capable of doing so much more. In his final season in Toronto, Bosh averaged a career-high 24 points and 10.8 rebounds, and was unquestionably the team’s best player every single night. Bosh may have to return to his Raptors form for Miami to achieve postseason success, especially in light of Wade’s recent injury history — and he may be more ready than ever to do so.

Why you should watch: Wade and Bosh are still All-Star caliber players, and the addition of another one in Deng should make the Heat consistently competitive most nights. Spoelstra is one of the game’s top coaches at the professional level, and you can bet that he’s relishing the chance to lead his team to success in spite of the loss of Lebron James.

Prediction: With LeBron out of the picture, there are no longer championship expectations placed on this Miami team, which should be a weight off of their collective shoulders. The Heat can be in an underdog role for the first time in a long time, and there’s still more than enough talent in place to make a run at the postseason.

Miami is definitely a playoff team in the East, but is probably not deep enough to claw itself into one of the three top spots in the standings. A ceiling of fourth place in the conference feels about right, with an opportunity to surprise someone in the first (and possibly second) round of the playoffs if Wade, Bosh and Spoelstra find a way to have things clicking by the time the regular season is finished.

Agent: Michael Beasley won’t be back with Heat next season


Michael Beasley is an unrestricted free agent, after Miami took a chance on him as a bit of a reclamation project last season.

Beasley was waived by the Suns last summer after multiple off-the-court incidents, but since he came into the league with the Heat, the franchise was hopeful that the familiarity there, along with the strong locker room presence that the championship team possessed would be enough to help him turn things around.

It didn’t work out that way, however, and after the Heat reportedly had plenty of reasons for not wanting to re-sign Beasley, his agent confirmed that Miami won’t be having him back next season.

From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (via Basketball Insiders):

No surprise here: Michael Beasley definitely won’t be back with the Heat, agent Jared Kearns said Tuesday. The Heat never made an offer, preferring instead to sign journeyman Shawne Williams, whose career hasn’t been nearly as productive as Beasley’s.

The Lakers twice have watched Beasley work out, and they remain a possibility for him. The Heat’s decision not to retain Beasley — in spite of his offensive gifts — ultimately came down to the coaching staff’s lack of complete trust in him. Defense and maturity issues were cited by one NBA official briefed on the Heat’s decision, though Beasley behaved more maturely last season than in his earlier stint with the Heat.

This comes as little surprise, of course, considering that Miami gave Beasley’s number away the moment they signed Shawne Williams.

The Heat citing maturity issues won’t help Beasley in his efforts to land somewhere else, though the second overall pick in the 2008 draft will still have teams taking a hard look at him in workouts, wondering if their situation might finally be the one where Beasley can find some focus, and play the game the way he was projected to all those years ago.