MIAMI — With the trade deadline approaching, Heat players wait.
Some are waiting to see if the roster around them will look different and others are waiting to see if they will be traded before Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline. Heat point guard Goran Dragic has been there before, as he was traded twice around the deadline — a Feb. 24, 2011 trade from the Suns to the Rockets and a Feb. 19, 2015 trade from the Suns to the Heat.
“It’s hard,” Dragic said. “For me, it was hard the first time I went through it. But then the second time and every year it’s easier and easier because I understand it’s part of the business and you can’t control that.
“The only thing you can do is help your teammates on the floor, in the practices, in the locker room. In the end of the day, you can’t play in a different way. You just say, ‘OK, some teams, they want me.’ It depends how mentally strong you are. But I never pay attention to those rumors because they can mess your head up.”
There have been a few trade rumors involving the Heat. According to reports, Miami has expressed interest in Brooklyn’s DeMarre Carroll, Memphis’ Tyreke Evans and Atlanta’s Marco Belinelli.
But the The New York Post’s Brian Lewis tweeted on Tuesday night: “Hearing the Nets will not be trading DeMarre Carroll to the Heat for Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson (whom they’d given a 4-year, $50M offer sheet in the summer of 2016).”
A lot of the teams looking to trade away players are asking for draft picks and/or expiring contracts in return. The Heat don’t have much of that to offer.
After trading multiple draft picks for Dragic in 2015, the Heat aren’t allowed to trade a first-round selection before 2023, according to league rules. And Wayne Ellington is the lone expiring contract Miami has to offer in a deal at more than a minimum salary.
The trade restrictions the Heat face this year include: Josh Richardson is not eligible to be traded until after the season because of the four-year, $42 million extension he signed last offseason, Udonis Haslem can’t be dealt without his permission as a veteran on a one-year contract with Bird rights, and Miami can’t send out any cash in trade.
Even with the trade deadline sandwiched between Wednesday’s home game against the Rockets and Friday’s home game against the Bucks, coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t believe it will become a distraction for the Heat.
“Each year is different. Each team is different,” Spoelstra said. “I haven’t brought it up with our group. I haven’t felt the need to and I don’t anticipate that I will make it a discussion point.
“This league doesn’t stop for anything — anybody or any team — business is always open.”