Most Miami Heat fans were hoping that in his quest to land a proven veteran post presence, Pat Riley wouldnt sacrifice the future before the recent trade deadline. There were reports flying everywhere of Rileys infatuation with Suns forward Amare Stoudemire and his desire to land him at all costs. This immediately sent shockwaves across the Heat nation. Because the key piece to a possible trade with Phoenix for Stoudemire would surely be number two overall pick Michael Beasley. Although Beasley is coming off the bench, still adjusting to playing defense at the NBA level, and averaging only 13.1 points a game, hes a tremendous talent. Beasley is a natural perimeter player with great shooting range, and hes still rounding out his game in the post. He just turned 20 and is a better player now than when Stoudemire was that age. In other words, he hasnt even begun to scratch the surface of the kind of player he will be. And that is great news for the Heat down the road.
In the end, Riley wound up trading Shawn Marions expiring contract for center Jermaine ONeal. This means Beasley stays in Miami and can potentially move into the small forward position sometime this season. Future secured. Miami takes on the Chicago Bulls this Monday night at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tip-off is at 7:30. Tickets range from $10 to $350 and can be purchased at nba.com/heat.
Mon., March 9, 7:30 p.m., 2009