Dwyane Wade‘s absences from the Heat lineup have grown frequent, and the team is pursuing trades that would either bolster the backcourt or allow Miami to clear a roster spot so it can sign a free agent replacement, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The Heat want to deal from their surplus of backup big men, and are making Joel Anthony available, Windhorst writes.
Wade isn’t playing in back-to-backs, and Miami has six back-to-backs scheduled over the next six weeks. He missed Tuesday’s game against the Pistons, which wasn’t part of a back-to-back, with knee soreness, and last night’s game against the Bulls because of an illness. The Heat lost both games and are 2-3 overall without Wade this season.
The Heat have used three different starting shooting guards in those five games, highlighting the absence of Mike Miller, who was last season’s plug-in at the two when Wade was out. The Heat amnestied Miller over the summer.
Miami is carrying 15 players, the roster limit, so the team would have to either release a player or make a trade to add a free agent like Leandro Barbosa, Daniel Gibson or Richard Hamilton. The team could also release Michael Beasley or Roger Mason, both of whom are on non-guaranteed contracts, though Beasley has become a mainstay in the rotation and cutting Mason, a shooting guard, wouldn’t help the team’s backcourt depth.
It might not be easy to find a trade partner willing to take on Anthony, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel points out via Twitter. The 31-year-old is a rugged inside player, but he’s only 6’9″ and isn’t offensively gifted. He’s a former starter for the Heat who’s seen just 30 total minutes this season. Most troublesome is his contract, on which he’ll make $3.8MM this season with a player option for the same amount next year.