With the NBA trade deadline looming, the amount of rumors and possible deals are at a season high. While the plethora of developing teams are the most active, you rarely see changes from the upper echelon of the league.
A tweet by ESPN.com's Chris Broussard suggested San Antonio's DeJuan Blair could end up in Boston, Portland or Miami. Another report by SB Nation suggests the Spurs are willing to send their power forward to the highest bidder.
Yet it should not be the Heat.
The defending champs' rebounding difficulties have been well-documented. Miami is dead-last in rebounds per game at 38.9, and has a minus-1.4 rebound differential per game. Their offensive rebound-per-game average of 8.7 comes in at 28th. (However, that's indicative of their league-leading team field-goal percentage.)
Blair, who is averaging 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.6 minutes, would certainly be a help on the boards. He stands just 6'7" but is a physical presence in the paint. Quite in the mould of the Heat's Udonis Haslem, Blair muscles his way to snatch misses and finish close to the rim.
Unless Miami is willing to surrender their veteran forward in Haslem, Blair seemingly has no place in the rotation. If you review the Heat's frontcourt rotation, the distribution of minutes would be thrown to accommodate Blair:
As the above table suggests, the flexibility for Miami to alter their already stellar rotation is minimal. Blair should and would only be acquired to play a large role, as the Heat presently have players that perform just as well in fewer minutes.
Haslem and Blair are seemingly the same type of player, but the latter is more restricted in terms of ability. The four-year big man has a limited offensive game, shooting just 8-of-24 from mid-range this season. Haslem, who is knocking down the same percentage, is 22-of-67 thus far.
While their accuracy is about equal, Haslem's increased volume for that area on the floor points to his usage as a jump-shooter. Blair needs to be close to the rim, and while he would absolutely benefit in the Heat's system, their need of spacing for driving lanes is invaluable.
The Spurs reserve would be great in pick-and-roll situations or on cuts, but defenses could easily double-team any of the Heat's players and leave Blair open without the concern of him scoring. Haslem, who is shooting just 33 percent from mid-range, is able to knock those shots down and has demonstrated that throughout his career.
There is a major difference in knowing a player can make those shots, or wondering if he will sink them. The very same analogy applies to Haslem and Blair.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that Miami does not have the assets to bring him to South Beach.
As both Miami and San Antonio are over the salary cap, any trade between the two teams must be equal financially (or within $100k). Blair's $1.05 million contract makes this trade realistic in terms of matching salaries, yet unless additional players are added, Miami does not have any personnel to entice the Spurs.
Norris Cole and Dexter Pittman are the only two members of the Heat that are close to Blair's salary. Miami could seemingly include Philadelphia's draft pick that may prove valuable to sweeten the trade, but with the team outside of the playoffs, the Sixers will retain their rights to it (as the pick is lottery-protected).
In a nutshell, the Heat would benefit from adding Blair to the roster. His youth and physicality are welcome attributes in a team that is somewhat scarce in both, yet are unable to compile a package to convince San Antonio to part with him.
The only personnel Miami is capable of trading are not those who Blair can replace, in that he will not take Cole or Pittman's place in the rotation. A deal involving Mike Miller or Haslem would be a different story, but the latter is absolutely remaining with the team. In such a case, the salaries do not equate to each other to make a successful transaction possible.
Unless the Heat and the Spurs are able to loop in a third team, it would seem this potential deal is unrealistic. As much as Blair would assist in the paint for Miami, the chances of him coming to South Beach are slim.
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