The Miami Heat is off to a 31-14 start, making the franchise one of the top three or four teams in the NBA any given day. The revamped roster of young players and veteran leadership has been an overwhelming success this season, and it feels like the Heat hasn't come close to realizing the full potential of the squad it assembled.
In a matter of months, the Heat has gone from a team selling tickets to Dwyane Wade's retirement tour and not much else to a legitimate contender for an NBA title. As the February 6 trade deadline quickly approaches, Heat fans have been wondering what the team can do to improve.
The answer is nothing. The Heat shouldn't make any big moves at the trade deadline. It should, for all intents and purposes, run with what's in place. Pat Riley should stand pat. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Trading for a flashy player is tempting. Everyone loves new toys. Sometimes, though, teams find a formula that just works, a certain recipe that can't be duplicated. The Heat seems to have tapped into that sort of thing this season. This squad, for whatever reason, has the "it" factor. Trading away even a small piece of that team could throw off the entire vibe, like raisins in a chocolate chip cookie.
The Heat tried its damndest to unload Goran Dragic this offseason. At the time, the team needed to trade him to accommodate Jimmy Butler and his salary. But when the Dallas Mavericks backed out of a deal at the last moment, the Heat switched to Plan B: trading Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trailblazers. Dragic has become one of the best sixth men in the league this season, so now the Heat has a steady veteran presence off the bench and late in games, something it would be lacking if the team had traded him.
Many Heat fans are throwing Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson into ESPN's NBA Trade Machine because they're suddenly sought-after commodities who might help the Heat secure another star. That's backward thinking. The Heat is paying those three players a combined salary of less than what most teams pay a veteran benchwarmer. They're worth their weight in gold to keep and continue to watch blossom in Miami.
Justise Winslow is another common name thrown around in trade talks. His lack of breakout play — and, this season, health — has made him the forgotten man. His value is likely at an all-time low. Now is the time to add him back to this successful team, almost as if the Heat had traded for him. A healthy contributing Winslow back for the playoffs would be better than almost any trade the team could make.
The Heat has too much going for it this season, and making a move that would mess up the momentum makes no sense. The team owes it to itself to stick with what's working unless a tremendous star becomes available out of nowhere.
Sit tight, Miami Heat. Let the trade deadline pass — unless someone is willing to take Dion Waiters off your hands.
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