This past spring was the first without either the Heat or the Magic in the playoffs since 1993. Florida figures to have at least one postseason representative this coming season, with Chris Bosh set to return from the blood clot ailment that prematurely ended last season, and Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade, each of whom signed new deals, will be back, too. The outlook is murkier for the Magic, but they added No. 5 overall pick Mario Hezonja and re-signed Tobias Harris. Here’s the latest from the Sunshine State, where both teams hooked up on a trade earlier this week:
- One GM who spoke with the Heat told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the team simply concluded that Shabazz Napier “was not good enough” before trading him to the Magic for a draft pick that represents a virtual non-asset. The GM cited a lack of height, quickness and shooting skill.
- Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel believes the Napier trade had more to do with the Heat‘s belief in Tyler Johnson and second-round pick Josh Richardson than tax concerns. The Heat didn’t really affect their store of talent with the deals that sent out Napier and Zoran Dragic, but trading Mario Chalmers or Chris Andersen would represent a true on-court sacrifice in the name of tax savings, as Winderman surmises in a separate mailbag column. Still, bringing back Mike Miller, should the Trail Blazers let him go as seems likely, wouldn’t be a significant help, Winderman opines.
- The Magic have reached a turning point, and even though they missed out on luring Paul Millsap from the Hawks this month, their roster now is better than at any point since the Dwight Howard trade three years ago, as Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders argues.