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NBA Miami Heat

Upcoming Deadlines Could Shape Miami Heat’s Season

Miami Heat

Andrew D. Bernstein-Getty Images

As the NBA season slowly grinds into All-Star break, the Miami Heat are creeping closer to two of the most important dates of 2014 — the March 1 buyout deadline for players to be playoff eligible and the February 20 trade deadline. Now, while the first date has not been much of a factor for the organization since the days of Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning, this year could be a little different — thanks to Joel Anthony.

You see, the deal that saved the Heat from Anthony’s overpriced contract also netted them a $2.2 million trade exception. And with Toney Douglas looking like he won’t have much of a chance to get off the bench, I don’t see a reason why Miami would let the opportunity to package his expiring contract with the gifted money go to waste — particularly when they could scheme their way into acquiring a defensive wing.

This means that fans would no longer have to watch Ray Allen struggle to check athletic guards or get out of rhythm starting for Dwyane Wade. But if you ask the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, a trade should not be the target:

“My thoughts are you wait until after the Feb. 20 trading deadline … after the March 1 buyout deadline for playoff eligibility and then you cherry-pick at the minimum, if there is someone out there worthwhile. And there will be, because there always is.”

It’s a practice that Pat Riley has taken advantage of for the past three years with the signings of Mike Bibby, Chris Andersen, Ronny Turiaf and Erick Dampier. Some have worked and some have been failures, but fans are hoping that Riles can find that extra player to propel the Heat to a three-peat.

Richard Nurse is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr or add him to your network on Google.