More than 20 trade deadlines have come and gone since Pat Riley arrived in South Florida.
For the most part, the last week in February has passed without the Miami Heat making a blockbuster deal. … for the most part.
Riley has used the mid-season deadline to reshape his team on four memorable trading deadlines in his more than two decades with the Heat. With Thursday’s deadline approaching, will Riley pull off a deal that approaches any of the following in significance?
1996: In three separate trades the Heat acquire Tim Hardaway and Chris Gatling from Golden State for Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles; Walt Williams and Tyrone Corbin from Sacramento for Billy Owens and Kevin Gamble; Tony Smith from Phoenix for Terrence Rencher.
This is the single biggest trading day in Heat history with the biggest franchise altering move being acquiring Hardaway. While the other four played a combined 153 games for the Heat, Hardaway capped a career that could end up in the Hall of Fame this summer with 5½ memorable seasons as the Heat’s point guard, each ending in the playoffs. The franchise leader in 3 pointers and second in assists, Hardaway had his number retired by the organization.
1997: The Heat acquire Jamal Mashburn from Dallas for Sasha Danilovic, Kurt Thomas and Martin Muursepp.
Mashburn spent 3½ seasons as the Heat’s starting small forward. And although he averaged 15.8 points on 44 percent shooting, most fans remember the playoffs when his numbers dipped to 11.8 and 38 percent and the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals when he passed up what could have been a game-winning shot in Game 7 against the Knicks, instead deferring to Clarence Weatherspoon whose shot rimmed out.
2009: Heat acquire Jermaine O’Neal, Jamario Moon and picks from Toronto for Shawn Marion, Marcus Banks and cash.
Although O’Neal’s stay in Miami was brief – he played 97 games for the Heat – he did bring a low post presence and was the starting center on two teams that made the playoffs. But the biggest benefit was Miami received a decent player and were able to maintain its cap flexibility for the summer of 2010, which allowed it to pursue LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
2015: Heat acquire Goran Dragic and Zoran Dragic from Phoenix for Danny Granger, Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton, Shawne Williams and two first-round picks in a three-team trade.
Dragic has been a solid acquisition for the Heat, taking over the starting point guard duties since arriving two years ago and now evolving into a team leader. He has flourished in Miami, especially this season, averaging 20.3 points and 6.2 assists. In two years with the Heat, Dragic is averaging 16.6 points, 5.9 rebounds while shooting better than 48 percent. He was rewarded with a five-year, $85 million contract in 2015.