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Does trading Joel Anthony mean Heat are going after Andrew Bynum? Maybe.

Jan 15, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

It was obvious why Golden State wanted Jordan Crawford as the centerpiece of the three-team trade that went down WednesdayStephen Curry has played more minutes than any point guard in the league this season and they need to get him some rest the second half of the season (not to mention the whole injury history concerns).

It’s obvious why Boston was willing to take on Joel Anthony and his salary in this same trade — they are rebuilding and they got three picks out of the deal.

Finally on the surface it was obvious why Miami would get in on this deal — it saves them about $7.7 million in salary and luxury taxes this season and next. Even if you’re the defending champions there is no reason to spend millions on a guy at the end of the bench.

But this could clear the way for one more deal, if the Heat are willing to waive either the just acquired Toney Douglas (they already have Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole at the point, Douglas is a luxury) or Roger Mason Jr., and if the Heat are willing to put some of that just saved salary back on the books:

Get Andrew Bynum. Zach Lowe at Grantland makes this educated guess in his column on the trade.

Mini-prediction: One of those guys, probably Douglas, will go in order to make way for Andrew Bynum. The big fella cleared waivers long ago, the Clippers (another possible Bynum suitor) are on the verge of signing Hedo Turkoglu (BALL), and we’ve yet to see Greg Oden in a real basketball game. Regardless, this is a no-brainer for Miami. They traded a guy who was never going to play, despite his prodigious pick-and-roll defense skills, and saved a ton of money.

Greg Oden is activated and in uniform for the Heat Wednesday, but the point remains the same.

For all of Bynum’s flaws, he’s still a better player than Oden at this point — the Heat are looking ahead to a Eastern Conference Finals showdown with Indiana and Roy Hibbert, and Miami knows they need size. Bynum’s post game is a poor fit in general with the “space and pace” offense Miami runs, but either Bynum or Oden (or both) would be in a limited role until called upon to bang on big bodies on the post season.

The question is how much is Miami willing to pay for this? Bynum wants more than the league minimum, Miami still has its $3.2 million tax payer exemption it can spend on Bynum. But does Miami really want to add on that salary and the associated taxes just to have another chip to play against the Pacers?

Just something to watch.

  1. antistratfordian - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Oden looked more active in 5 minutes today than Bynum has been all season. But perhaps Oden playing today was for Riley to get a look at where his knees are – and if they swell tonight – to better determine whether a Bynum type move is necessary.

    • davidly - Jan 16, 2014 at 2:57 AM

      Necessary? Necessary for what?

      • antistratfordian - Jan 16, 2014 at 4:00 AM

        Well what do you think? They just moved Joel Anthony – and Chris Andersen was inactive against the Wizards – so the Heat went into last night’s game with only 2 true bigs available, outside of Oden.

        It’s necessary for depth.

        So they’re obviously going to have to add size if they don’t have confidence in Oden’s knees.

    • chasycabym - Jan 16, 2014 at 3:45 AM

      Agreed. I’m sure that Pat Riley is doing his “due diligence” by taking a closer look at how Oden looks on the game floor; but the fragility of Oden’s knees is probably a big concern– 5 minutes in a regular season game is very different than 10-15 minutes in a physical playoff series against more established teams. Signing Bynum would help alleviate some of the pressure on Oden come playoff time.

      Having said that, I think that signing Bynum will probably depend on how talks with him go and what exactly is motivating him now-a-days. You hit it right on the head of the nail when you implied that Bynum has not been performing all season and that is a real concern. But, I think that was mostly a premeditated move in order to force his way out of a slumping team with no apparent intentions on improving in sight. Maybe having an impact role in a contending team (with better chances of winning it all with him on the roster than any other contender, imho) is the added motivation he needs.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Riley makes him an offer that pays Bynum close to the non-guaranteed monies he would have earned with the Cavs (but probably less than the savings from trading Anthony), with a team option for next year, and maybe some extra incentives dependent on performance. — Riley has a great track record when it comes to signing previous starters into role player positions and motivating them into performing when necessary. Afterall, he might be in the front office now, but let’s not forget that Pat Riley is a Phil-Jackson-caliber coach that can still promise rings and knows how to deal with personalities.

    • davidly - Jan 16, 2014 at 7:46 AM

      Depth is fine, but why centers with knees problems?

      • jcmeyer10 - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        They are the only ones available without paying through the nose.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 16, 2014 at 5:58 PM

        Who else is there? Bynum is the best available center out there right now, isn’t he?

    • davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:07 AM

      He the best one if he can mesh with championship calibre players and play hard. Still, what do you need the best one out there for? Earlier in the season you were touting how the Heat didn’t even need Oden, because they proved they can stomp the Pacers whenever they want.

      If it’s depth for the regular season you’re concerned about, there’s gotta be other minimums that can give you a couple of minutes. How about Joel Anthony;-)

      Anyway, I could see it going either way — either way. So, sure I am concerned as a Pacer fan if they sign Bynum, and have been a fan of his enough that I don’t like hoping it doesn’t work out for them. I respect his game. But I’d prefer to see them meet in the ECF more or less as they were last year. Beasely and Scola, notwithstanding.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        Well they don’t absolutely need the single best one. But if the best one is willing to play for small dollars then why not?

        “Earlier in the season you were touting how the Heat didn’t even need Oden”

        The Heat need Oden now, because they got rid of Anthony. If they still had Anthony they wouldn’t need Oden – but Joel was making too much money.

        Certainly, beating certain teams would be easier if Oden was healthy – but they can beat those teams either way. If they had their druthers they’d want to beat those teams in 5 games instead of 6 or 7.

    • davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      Suffice to say that the guys that got taken to 7 — in spite of the superior point differential over those games, and the game 7 blowout — are more concerned about it that you are as a confident fan.

      Like I said, I can see it going either way. Like you, I look at the Pacers’ offense and see problems, but then I recall that they did pose a challenge for the world champs — even the season before, before they became the world champs, they managed to have them down in the series. So, as a fan, I really have no choice but to believe they could get it done.

      A lot of hoops between now and then. I have much less of a problem hoping they don’t get Bynum than I do hoping that Oden doesn’t work out swimmingly. Because I want him to be healthy and happy. Oh, the irony if a Naptown guy is theh one to make a diff in the ECF. I shutter to think.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 17, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        What reason would they have to be concerned about that? If it was that important to them they would’ve looked for help from some place other than the bargain bin. Instead they added the likes of Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis because they know who they are and they know what they want to do. Their “weakness” is only that by design – it was a choice they made when constructing the team.

        But every problem for Miami in this regard is solved by effort. They will always have more talent than the other team, and they will always be more intelligent than the other team. It’s simply a matter of them wanting to – it doesn’t help that they know that when they put their foot on the gas there isn’t a team that can hang with them. This is why they’re so good in elimination games – and especially LeBron, historically.

        But that is also a problem, because LeBron doesn’t treat Game 1s like Game 7s. He basically said he considers the length of each series a luxury, meaning he feels they can afford to drop early games because they can always win the later ones. But if he approaches each game with a one and done mentality, a series against the Pacers probably wouldn’t go past 5 games.

    • davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      I dunno what reason they’d have to be concerned, but clearly they are concerned enough to use a spot for Oden. That’s not nothing. So they got him on the cheap. What else would anybody give for him at this point?

      We’ll never know how the Heat would fare if LBJ approached game 1s as close-outs. First, assuming he’s not just making excuses for relatively lackluster early outings, you’re making an assumption about how he would (be able to) perform in the rest of the games. Maybe one of the reasons he is so deadly in closeouts is that he has it in the tank.

      But that’s neither here nor there.

      You did get back to the point I was trying to make with my opening rhetorical: The Heat built themselves with what so many pundits are saying is a flaw; but it’s by design and has proven successful. Why futz with filling in a spot the naysayers say they should?

      Seriously. Just how many minutes and in which part of the rotation is one of the heretofore benched knees going to “neutralize the Hibbert effect” (again, that’s the punditry, not me speaking) enough to make a 7-game series 6 or 5?

      • antistratfordian - Jan 17, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        The spot for Oden was the same spot used previously for guys like your Jamal Magloires, Ronny Turiafs and Eddy Currys. If you have to choose between someone like Turiaf and Greg Oden… well, you go with Oden. If you recall, there were several teams trying to land Oden when he said he was going to try to return, including the Mavs, Kings, Hawks, Cavs, Pelicans and Spurs.

        But Riley started recruiting Oden before the Pacers emerged as a real threat. He thought that perhaps Oden could end up like Big Z or Kurt Thomas and still extend his career after initial years of injury. Riley would’ve tried to add him even if there was no Big 3 in Miami.

        In other words, Oden is not a direct response to anything in particular – it’s just a smart decision to try to add talent like that for so little cost. It was a big win for Riley to land Oden.

  2. dinofrank60 - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    With LBJ, DWade, Bosh and Ray getting the lion’s share of the shots, you think Bynum can handle that?

    • legend30 - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      yeah

      • dinofrank60 - Jan 16, 2014 at 12:10 AM

        Ok, no complaints, then! You’re a good man!!!

  3. provguard - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    A clown joining a bunch of clowns…

    • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:13 AM

      but everyone enjoys the “THREE RING” circus LOL

  4. mdag5252 - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    this guy Bynum is an absolute disgrace and an embarrassment to professional basketball. hell, this guy is an embarrassment to high school basketball. I really don’t think there is a more spoiled, lazy, arrogant, pompous, narcissistic, selfish so-called professional athlete in all of pro sports. having seen this guy when he was with the sixers, I think the heat would be making a huge mistake if they go after him. this guy is a cancer for any team.

  5. rockerrick - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Bynum is a must. The Heat have no one to play in the Eastern Conference but the Pacers. The Eastern Conference is a joke. The Heat will coast until the playoffs, win the first round handily and then beat the Pacers in 7 as Bynum and The Bog O silence the punks in the cornfields. After that, it’s hello ring number 3 and then Flash will be the Lord of the Rings with LBJ a close second. (Did I forget about Mike and Kobe?)

  6. rockerrick - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    sorry that was Big O Mr.
    Oden!

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