With two big names off the board, Miami Heat still have a few trade options available

Pat Riley's vision of rebuilding the Heat this summer will not be sacrificed as the trade deadline approaches.

Pat Riley’s vision of rebuilding the Miami Heat this summer will not be sacrificed as the trade deadline approaches.

Now that Serge Ibaka and DeMarcus Cousins are off the board, the prospects of the Miami Heat making a significant trade deadline deal appear to be dwindling.

The Heat are in a precarious position. A month ago, dealing James Johnson or Dion Waiters, or even Goran Dragic, would have been considered for the purpose of strengthening their attempt to rebuild this summer. Johnson and Waiters will be free agents anyway and considering Miami was sitting there with the second worst record in the league, getting something in return, likely a draft pick, would have made sense. Same with Dragic, which would have had the extra benefit of clearing another $17 million of cap space this summer.

But that plan was altered when the Heat (25-32) won 14-of-16 games entering the break, went from the team with the second-worst record in the league to the 13th and from 9.5 games out of a playoff spot to 2.

Still, Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg will not sit idly by as Thursday’s trade deadline approaches. But they are in a difficult spot of making a deal that could give this team a little push toward the playoffs but without sacrificing any long-term flexibility.

In other words, Miami is not going to make a trade for the sole purpose of helping this team. If a deal is made in the next couple of days it will be with the future as the primary focus but not tossing in the towel on this season, either.

With that plan, here are a few options for the Heat.

Wilson Chandler, 6-8 small forward, Denver: Chandler is unhappy in Denver despite career-highs of 15.4 points and 6.7 rebounds. Chandler is a solid defender who is shooting 45.8 percent from the floor but isn’t anything special from long distance at 33.8 percent on 3s.

At 29, he’s been in the league nine years. The Nuggets have a nice young core and may be willing to deal some of their veterans like Chandler or Danilo Gallinari.

Trading for Chandler likely would cost the Heat James Johnson as part of the package. But more pressing would be Chandler’s contract, which is $11.2 million this year and has $25 million remaining on its last two years. First, the Heat would have to like him enough and believe he is an important piece for the future to lose some of that cap space and Miami would insist Josh McRoberts be part of any deal that includes eating into its cap space to mitigate losing some of that flexibility.

Terrance Jones, 6-9 power forward, New Orleans: The Pelicans are actively shopping Jones, according to reports, after acquiring Cousins. Jones signed a one-year deal with New Orleans for just more than $1 million last summer after being released by Houston. He is averaging 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds. And although Oklahoma City appears to have emerged as a leader for Jones, the Heat are among the teams linked to the 25-year-old from Kentucky.

Dealing for Jones would take some creativity. A one-for-one deal would be difficult because of the salaries. Considering the Pelicans need perimeter help the only matches would be Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder. Richardson is out of the question and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has praised McGruder for what he brings the team beyond the box score. Still, nobody is off limits.

Jones would be a nice fit at power forward where Luke Babbitt has been starting. Jones is a career 50 percent shooter from the field  but under 30 percent on 3s. And for those thinking about it, although Babbitt’s salary matches up with Jones’, he was acquired from New Orleans last summer prohibiting Miami to trade him back to the Pelicans this season.

Trevor Booker, 6-8, power forward, Brooklyn: Perhaps the best fit at power forward – and perhaps longest shot to acquire – would be Booker. At, 29, he is having his best season after signing a two-year, $18.4 million contract with the Nets last summer, averaging 10.2 points and 8.5 rebounds. And Booker would fit right in for another reason, he has a reputation as one of the hardest-working players in the league.

Sounds like someone Brooklyn could use, but the Nets clearly are starting over and this process will continue for several more years, so why not try to move some of the veterans for either a young player or picks (which would prohibit the Heat considering they cannot trade their first round selection this year). Ideally, the Heat could do the deal for McRoberts, but that is wishful thinking seeing he, too, has one more year remaining, although at about $3.3 million less than Booker. The Nets need young players, the Heat have a few, but may not be willing to part with the ones necessary to make this work.

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