In some circles, the Heat drew more attention on NBA trade deadline day for what they didn’t do (complete a trade for Danilo Gallinari) and for the popular player they relinquished (Justise Winslow) than what they actually acquired.
And that, in retrospect, was regrettable, because not only have Jae Crowder and to a lesser extent, Andre Iguodala, contributed significantly to this Heat playoff run, but that deal now ranks among the top five February trade deadline transactions in the franchise’s 32-year history.
Of the 17 deals made by Miami at the trade deadline (and we’re only talking about the February trade deadline), the top three on the list are pretty clear: the 1996 Tim Hardaway deal (with Chris Gatling for Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles) that helped fuel Miami’s six consecutive playoff appearances; the 2018 acquisition of Dwyane Wade from Cleveland (for a conditional second-round pick) that repaired the relationship with the franchise’s all-time MVP and set the stage for a memorable 14 month grand finale to his career; and the 2015 acquisition of Goran Dragic that gave Miami an All-Star caliber point guard – or close to it – for the past six seasons.
Fourth on the list likely would be the 1997 pickup of Jamal Mashburn for Sasha Danilovic, Kurt Thomas and Martin Muursepp. Mashburn, who is now on the Board of Directors for the company that owns The Miami Herald and 29 other newspapers, went on to average 15.8 points in four seasons here.
But based on this postseason run, the Crowder/Iguodala deal could end up fifth on this list, eclipsing the Walt Williams/Tyrone Corbin pickup (for Billy Owens and Kevin Gamble).
The value of the Crowder/Iguodala deal initially seemed every bit as much about dumping the contracts of James Johnson and Dion Waiters as acquiring two well-rounded veterans.
But Crowder has exceeded all expectations, earning a starting job and averaging 13.7 points and 6.1 rebounds during these playoffs, including 22 points (his most since joining the Heat) on 7 of 11 shooting in Game 1 against Boston.
“The Iguodala and Crowder acquisitions at the trade deadline were huge,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I think the opportunity for them to play small ball, with even more versatility, and to surround those great shooters with more skill, but also guys that could guard the best players on the other teams for multiple possessions [at the] end of games has added a great deal to their team.”
This, incidentally, was not a case of the Heat only wanting Iguodala and the deal then growing to include Crowder merely as a cap facilitator to dump Johnson and Waiters.
We’re told the Heat also wanted and asked Memphis for Crowder, believing his defense, versatility, toughness, 3-point shooting and team-oriented approach would fit the Heat DNA.
“Jae has been on a lot of winning teams; there are so many different qualities that we had him tagged as a Miami Heat type guy,” Erik Spoelstra said. “He has lived up to all of them, if not more. He has really surprised me; it’s his leadership qualities in the locker room that have really helped. And it feels like he has been with us for years rather than just months. That kind of leadership helps with guys like Tyler Herro.”
But nobody could have envisioned him shooting threes at this rate of accuracy.
A career 34 percent three-point shooter, Crowder went from shooting 29.3 percent on threes with Memphis to 44.5 with Miami in the regular season and 41.7 in the playoffs.
Crowder cites one reason for that: playing with this veteran, talented group of players, which has resulted in more open threes.
And consider this: In these playoffs, when Crowder was the primary defender, Victor Oladipo shot 7 for 22, Khris Middleton 15 for 38 and Giannis Antokounmpo 9 for 22.
And the Heat, Crowder said, has made “me feel wanted. I’ve been able to carve out a role on the court and inside the locker room and have a voice.”
The Heat is expected to try to keep him with a one-year offer this summer, possibly with a team option for 2021-22.
One important note: A notable February trade that involved one of the biggest names in franchise history – Shaquille O’Neal – would in no way qualify for any list of best Heat trade deadline deals.
Shaq requested that trade in 2008 and Miami accommodated him, dealing him to Phoenix for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Marion averaged 12.7 points during a brief and forgettable Heat tenure before being dealt a year later in another February deal that brought disappointing Jermaine O’Neal to Miami.
The Heat’s other trade deadline deals were far more mundane, involving acquisitions of Derek Anderson, Steve Smith (for only the final 13 games of a career that started in Miami), Brian Roberts (who was here for less than day before being traded again), Luke Babbitt, Brent Barry (never a good fit here) and Tony Smith, plus draft considerations for Roger Mason, Jarnell Stokes and Dexter Pittman.
Remember that we only considered trade deadline deals in this piece, not summer moves like the acquisition of O’Neal from the Lakers or the November 1995 acquisition of Alonzo Mourning.
Here’s our Wednesday Heat notes, with news on another remarkable feat Bam Adebayo is achieving, plus notes on Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, the Celtics and more.
Here’s my Wednesday pack of Dolphins nuggets.
Here’s my Wednesday piece with news from Brian Flores’ Dolphins press conference.
Jamal Murray beats LeBron James for unreal lay-up
Jamal Murray’s onslaught in the 2020 NBA playoffs continued on Thursday with a lay-up that had to be seen — multiple times — to be believed.
Late in the second quarter of Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers, Murray caught the ball at the perimeter and started running downhill. A lurking LeBron James awaited Murray in the paint and seemed well-positioned to at least prevent the easy basket.
Murray responded with a much, much harder basket:
JAMAL MURRAY WENT MJ ON THIS LAYUP 🤯 pic.twitter.com/V3pkJv3VOB
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 25, 2020
The spin Murray puts on the ball to get it to kiss up and in is what really makes it. Murray would finish the first half with a team-high 16 points and 4 assists.
Reminiscient of Michael Jordan?
The highlight quickly drew comparisons to another incredible move nearly 30 years ago, when a young Michael Jordan reversed the prevailing narrative of his career at the time with a 33-point game in Game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals.
You may remember the call of Jordan’s brightest moment: “A spectacular move!”
This isn’t the first time Murray has heard his name in the same conversation as Jordan this postseason. For all we know, it might not be the last.
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Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins lead Jaguars 21-7 at halftime
Ryan Fitzpatrick hit his first 12 passes before his first incompletion with 47 seconds remaining in the first half. It gave him a streak of 21 consecutive completions over two games, the second most completions in a row in franchise history.
He finished the first half 12-of-14 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
The Dolphins scored on three of four possessions, taking a 21-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
They dominated the Jaguars with 32 plays, 17 first downs, 218 yards to Jacksonville’s 27 plays, 10 first downs and 131 yards. The Dolphins held the ball for 17:48.
Miami’s points came on a 3-yard touchdown catch by Preston Williams, a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan Howard and a 15-yard touchdown catch by Mike Gesicki.
The Jaguars’ only touchdown came on an 11-yard run by James Robinson, his second of the season.
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Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins lead Jaguars 21-7 at halftime originally appeared on Pro Football Talk
How a Bradley Beal trade could put Wizards in control of the 2020 NBA Draft
How a Beal trade could put Wizards in control of the draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Bradley Beal fell short of making the All-NBA team this season and the Wizards are excited about the prospect of pairing him with a healthy John Wall, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from predicting how many different ways Washington could trade the shooting guard before next season.
Though it’s unclear how motivated the Wizards would be to trade Beal after he signed a two-year max extension in October 2019, one team that would have the assets to make an intriguing offer is the Golden State Warriors. Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes proposed a trade scenario Saturday that would put the Wizards in a pivotal spot ahead of this winter’s NBA draft.
Hughes suggested the Wizards trade Beal to the Warriors in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall and the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, while also noting Washington could push for the Warriors’ rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2021 first-rounder to complete the deal.
“Andrew Wiggins’ salary is an albatross, but Wall’s is already dragging the Wizards’ prospects down,” Hughes wrote. “The theory here is that the Wizards are going to be bad regardless and that getting a high lottery pick and an all-rookie first-teamer is worth the price of acknowledging this is a rebuild—albeit one made more difficult by Wall’s contract.”
The Wizards already have the No. 9 overall pick—the same draft position they used to take Rui Hachimura last year—but adding the second pick would make them the only team with two selections in the top 15. While there is no clear choice for the Timberwolves with the No. 1 pick, adding any of James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards would give Washington a significant piece to build around.
Not to be forgotten are the acquisitions of Wiggins and Paschall.
Wiggins, who the Warriors traded for at the deadline this season, is signed through the 2022-23 season at about $30 million a year. He’s averaged 19.7 points per game in his career while managing to avoid any major injuries. Paschall was drafted by Golden State in the second round last year and proved to be a steal, making the NBA All-Rookie First Team behind a scoring average of 14 points per game.
It would be an enticing scenario, though one that would force the Wizards to concede they won’t be ready to contend by the 2020-21 season. But if any team has the assets to entice Washington to hit the reset button, it’s the Warriors.
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