The Miami Heat looked to stop a two-game skid on Saturday night as they continued a four-game road trip at the Minnesota Timberwolves. The defending champs had just suffered their worst loss of the season to a Chicago Bulls team without Derrick Rose. With trade speculation creeping around the team and a duel with the Indiana Pacers set for Tuesday, Miami needed a win.
As for the Timberwolves, they had hoped to keep the race for eighth in the West close, but without star big man Kevin Love, it seemed like an impossible task. The Heat opened up the game in the second quarter and never relinquished the lead again as they cruised to a 103-82 victory.
It was a big win for a team that welcomed back Dwyane Wade from a two-game absence as they continued to chase the Pacers for first in the NBA Eastern Conference. More importantly, Miami has reportedly been interested in a trade to acquire some extra backcourt help and a steady backup to Wade. The star guard has already missed five games this season and is expected to miss more as part of a cautious approach to his bad knees.
Rumor has it that some of the names on the trade block are one of the Heat’s big men like Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, but Roger Mason Jr. could also see himself switching cities. The veteran guard has seen limited time this season as he works under a non-guaranteed contract. He has played in eight games, averaging about four points in 11 minutes.
Miami has been unable to find a consistent replacement for Wade on his off-days, but Mason Jr. tried to prove his worthiness against Minnesota. In only five minutes of garbage time, Mason Jr. went 4-5 from the field for nine points in the win over the Timberwolves.
The problem with Mason is his inconsistency. Some of that can be blamed on his sporadic opportunities, but he is a pro and has to be ready to go. His performance against Minnesota will probably do little to change Erik Spoelstra‘s mind, but Mason Jr. could get a few extra looks.
As for Mason Jr. and the Heat trade rumors, it is possible that they will deal him because of his non-guaranteed contract, but the deal and player has to be right. Mason has the ability to be a solid backup to Wade, but Miami does not have time to wait around. Time is money and money, is made with wins.