Riley Reloading: Possible HEAT Trade Scenarios

Commentary6 years ago6 min readNekias Duncan

The Miami HEAT may be ready to blow things up.

Our very own @Lefty_Leif dropped a bomb 💣 of his own the other day, reporting that Slovenian slasher Goran Dragic is on the block and at least six teams—the Spurs, Pelicans, Sixers, Kings, Rockets and Timberwolves—have interest:

I’m told that quietly the Miami HEAT are making Goran Dragic available to teams in an attempt to add a young player and/or stockpile an additional first-round draft pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The HEAT are willing to trade Dragic and would prefer to do so well in advance of the NBA Trade Deadline on Feb. 23, per sources.

If that wasn’t enough, Hassan Whiteside could also be moved if the right deal came along:

Although logistically unlikely, rumblings also persist that the HEAT will dangle Hassan Whiteside in trade proposals between late December and February in an effort to explore all options to acquire a franchise centerpiece. Such a scenario would potentially speed up the rebuilding process in Miami.

It should be noted that the trade market likely won’t heat up until Dec. 15, when most of this summer’s free agent signings are eligible to be traded. There are a few players, like HEAT guard Tyler Johnson, who can’t be traded until later than that:

I don’t have #sauces, but I do have time to burn, a trade machine to abuse and an English paper to procrastinate on. With that said, let’s look at five potential Dragic and/or Whiteside deals that could work out.


1. Expiring & Young Gun

Sacramento Kings ReceiveGoran Dragic, Wayne Ellington

Miami Heat ReceiveRudy Gay, Willie Cauley-Stein

In terms of a good return on the surface, this may be the most realistic deal Miami can pull off.

The Kings desperately need a point guard, and the HEAT have that. The HEAT needs wing and big man depth (especially if they plan on moving Whiteside down the line), and Sacremento has both.

Both Gay and Cauley-Stein reportedly want out, and Gay is in a contract year. In theory, that lowers their value, which could help Miami get a deal like this done if they pursue it.

2. Stop-Gap & 1st Rounder

Houston Rockets Receive: Goran Dragic, Luke Babbitt

Miami Heat Receive: Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer, Sam Dekker, 2017 1st rounder

The Rockets don’t necessarily have a need for a point guard with James Harden doing the heavy lifting. Dragic is a supremely underrated defender at this point, but Beverley is a better one and Houston needs all the peskiness on that end as they can get.

However, in the event that Houston wants to lower the workload for Harden, adding Dragic makes sense. The pace is an obvious fit (Houston ranks No. 16, while Miami is No. 23) and Dragic’s ability to create for others could finally allow for Harden to get more spot-up attempts. Harden ranked in the 96.7 percentile as a spot-up shooter, but only had 2.3 attempts per game via Synergy.

Houston has been a mess on both ends when Harden has gone to the bench. Adding Dragic would allow coach Mike D’Antoni to stagger the two so that the offense won’t fall off a cliff.

For Miami, they’d get a first rounder that’ll likely fall in the low 20s, an intriguing forward prospect in Dekker, a solid stop-gap point guard in Beverley, and…whatever the heck Brewer has turned into at this point.

3. Pie in the Sky

Golden State Warriors Receive: Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson

Miami Heat Receive: Klay Thompson

This isn’t happening and our own Jack Alfonso (@alfonsohoops) would probably quit everything. This one’s just fun to dream about.

4. Dallas Do-Over

Dallas Mavericks Receive: Hassan Whiteside, Luke Babbitt

Miami Heat Receive: Andrew Bogut, Dwight Powell, 2017 top-ten protected 1st rounder (with future protections)

Ah, the Dallas do-over.

I literally sat here for 10 minutes debating myself on if the Mavericks would include Powell in a deal like this, and ultimately went with “yes” because Harrison Barnes is thriving at the 4. Dirk Nowitzki is on his way out, but being able to flank either Barnes or Quincy Acy at the 4 could probably suffice in stretches because Rick Carlisle is a freakin’ magician.

Bogut is mostly a throw-in from a long-term perspective, but his totally-legal screens, passing, and rim protection still make him a valuable 5 when he’s upright. Powell and the pick are the real prizes here for Miami.

5. Flippin’ For A Whale

Sacremento Kings Receive: Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, Cameron Payne, Alex Abrines, Kyle Singler

Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: Rudy Gay, Malachi Richardson

Miami Heat Receive: DeMarcus Cousins, Arron Afflalo, Anthony Tolliver, Ben McLemore


There would have to be picks involved—and probably a whole ‘lotta liquor.


This trade is (somehow) valid after Jan. 15, assuming Johnson doesn’t block the deal. And it makes at least some sense for all sides.

The HEAT gets their whale in Cousins. That’s really the only thing that matters. Barring another deal, they’d have a hole at (backup) point guard, but you could do a lot worse than a starting lineup featuring Josh Richardson, Afflalo, Justise Winslow, Luke Babbitt or Derrick Williams, and Cousins. A core of Cousins, Winslow and Richardson is young, talented and intriguing for free agents (I would imagine, anyway).

The Thunder would get a wing scorer in Gay to complement Russell Westbrook. There’s already been interest from the Thunder side in Gay, and a deal almost went down involving Payne before he got hurt. There’s nothing too far-fetched about those two completing something.

The Kings are the kicker here for obvious reasons. They would be sending out the best player in the trade, and I had to go back-and-forth. If they ever got seriously serious about dealing Boogie, would they want to get back as much talent as possible or would they rather bottom out and take picks and young assets?

I went with the former thinking since they’ll be moving into their new arena soon and will need talent and name-recognition to put butts in the seats. This does kinda remind me of the Chris Paul trade, though.

The Hornets were originally slated to get Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Dragic and a first rounder, but the trade was nixed for “basketball reasons.” The Hornets eventually got a young stud (at the time) in Eric Gordon from the Clippers and were gifted the No. 1 overall pick eventually drafted Anthony Davis the next summer.

If the Kings want to bottom out, then all of this falls apart.