March 15--CHICAGO -- Miami Heat management is looking for something big. That part we already know.
It’s why they have worked out Joel Przybilla and Rasheed Wallace, spoken to Kenyon Martin and Dan Gadzuric, and kept an eye on Chris Kaman.
The team’s players, however, are merely counting the hours. Because, to a degree, Thursday’s 3 p.m. expiration of the NBA trading deadline will deliver stability.
No, the Heat are not expected to be involved in any high drama as the deadline approaches, nothing close to the Orlando Magic’s deliberations with Dwight Howard or what the Milwaukee Bucks already accomplished with their playoff-push acquisition of Monta Ellis from the Golden State Warriors for Andrew Bogut.
But simply by the clocking striking midnight at 3 p.m. Thursday, it will ease any lingering tensions in the locker room.
“I think that the benefit of the deadline passing is that the second it passes, you know this is the group you have going forward,” forward Shane Battier said in advance of Wednesday’s late game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. “If not personally, there’s a collective sigh. Anytime you have harmony, from that standpoint, it’s a benefit to the team.”
For the most part, the Heat have not been linked to trade rumors. Instead, they made moves toward Martin and Przybilla before they signed with the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively. There also has been contact with a series of veteran free-agent big man, with the Heat’s power rotation lacking in the middle with Joel Anthony, Dexter Pittman and Eddy Curry.
There had been some thought about a move with reserve swingman Mike Miller, but Miller’s latest ankle injury could render such discussion moot.
Until Thursday at 3 p.m. lives, to a degree, are on hold.
“I can answer the question for myself. It is mentally fraying with when your family is involved,” Miller said. “If something would happen to happen this year for me, the kids would have to stay in school, so it would be half a year apart. So we’ll have to see what happens.”
Udonis Haslem also has found himself part of the rumor mill in recent years. It has reached the point where the veteran power forward said he tunes out the speculation and the deadline itself.
“I’ve been around this league long enough and you can’t control none of that,” he said, “Those situations are out of your control. The only thing we’ve been doing is coming here and practicing every day and working hard and trying to help ourselves win games.”
Because of the Heat’s limited tradable assets, including the future first-round picks due to the Cleveland Cavaliers from the LeBron James sign-and-trade deal in July 2010, there has been little trade buzz around the team.
“We haven’t talked about it,” Haslem said. “Nobody’s mentioned it. Everybody’s just playing basketball and trying to take care of business.”
While quietly also waiting for the moment to pass.
“For sure,” Miller said. “It’s obviously a relief when you’re comfortable, you’re happy somewhere, and then you don’t have to move. So, yeah, I mean it’s definitely a relief.”
Battier is more than familiar with what the deadline can bring, dealt from the Houston Rockets to the Memphis Grizzlies at last year’s deadline.
“You never know what trade rumors do to a guy’s psyche. Some guys aren’t affected by it, some guys are really sensitive to it,” he said. “From a standpoint for me, it was unnerving because last year at the deadline I knew I was probably going to be dealt. My wife was pregnant. I have a kid who is two years old at the time.
”The basketball part is almost secondary. You’re just worried with the life transition with your family. And that’s why it’s unnerving for a lot of guys.“
With a vacant roster spot in the wake of the team allowing Mickell Gladness’ second 10-day contract to expire, the more significant deadline for the Heat might be the March 23 deadline for teams to buy out or release players in time for playoff eligibility elsewhere.
To a degree, that could make what doesn’t happen by Thursday’s deadline just as significant for the Heat, with the likes of New Orleans Hornets center Kaman, Toronto Raptors guard Anthony Carter and others in the final season of contracts, at positions of need for the Heat, possibly to come free next week.
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