Grading Miami Heat's Trade-Deadline Performance

Sam RichmondCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2014

Jan 7, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Roger Mason Jr. (21) dribbles against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 107-88. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat weren't very active at the 2014 NBA trade deadline, as expected.

Pat Riley and Co.'s only move of the day involved shipping scarcely used shooting guard Roger Mason Jr. and cash to the Sacramento Kings for a second-round pick that is so heavily protected Miami will likely never get to use it, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. 

Still, this was a smart move from the Heat's perspective.

Miami's ultimate goal at the trade deadline was to give itself some roster flexibility.

Erik Spoelstra said the following to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel after the deal went down:

"Right now," Spoelstra said, "the business side of it is that it gives us flexibility going down the stretch."

Had the Heat simply waived Mason Jr. to fulfill that desire, Miami would have had to pay the luxury tax on the guard's salary, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball InsidersInstead, the Heat will save a bit of luxury-tax money by shipping Mason Jr. to Sactown.

From a basketball standpoint, there was no reason to keep the nine-year veteran.

At one point, Mason Jr. was trusted enough to be given sizable minutes (sometimes 15-20 minutes) in games in which Dwyane Wade sat out, but his role continued to diminish as the season progressed.

His last appearance came on Jan. 26, with the Heat making Toney Douglas the beneficiary of Wade's absences and Mason Jr. strictly a benchwarmer. 

Although Miami likely envisioned Mason Jr. as being another helpful bench shooter when it signed him this offseason, the 33-year-old shot just 37.3 percent from the field and averaged three points in 10.4 minutes per game (25 appearances).

With Mason Jr. gone, the next step for the Heat is to wait and see if any interesting buyouts take place.

the Heat are reported to have interest in signing Caron Butler if he is bought out by the Bucks.
the Heat are reported to have interest in signing Caron Butler if he is bought out by the Bucks.John Raoux/Associated Press

Miami reportedly would have interest in signing Caron Butler, according to B/R's Ethan J. Skolnick, if the Milwaukee Bucks were to buy him out.

It's also possible a couple of big-name (and just a bit washed-up) players, Danny Granger and Jason Terry, will be bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers and the Kings, respectively. Expect Miami to kick the tires on any potentially useful buyout wing players. 

While the Heat didn't make a big splash, they'll leave the trade deadline in a better place than when they entered it. With their lone trade, Miami saves money and gains roster flexibility, all because it rid itself of a non-impact player.

Grade: A-