While most of Miami was focused on the annual end-of-season pants-pooping by the Miami Dolphins, Heat players were slowly picking themselves off the ground and recovering from their own early-season trousers-soiling. When December began, the Miami Heat was one of the worst teams in the NBA. Since then, the team has rallied to a comfortable position as the sixth seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference. Despite the walloping Milwaukee gave the Heat last night, things seem to have markedly improved.
Here are five
1. How long will "Point
We'll see what happens when Dragic returns, but Winslow has proven he's a bona fide piece of the Heat's future plans at the position. He may not look like your traditional point guard, but you can't argue with the results. The longer Winslow thrives, the likelier it is the Heat trades Dragic.
2. Will Dwyane Wade's retirement tour
Wade has been a solid contributor and a reassuring voice. He's provided guidance for the young guns: Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Bam Adebayo. Moving forward, the hope is Wade can stay healthy and see out the season.
Heat fans known one bump of the knee can send things sideways for Wade. No one wants to see the greatest Heat player ever end his career in a suit.
3. How much will Chris Bosh be around the Heat this year? While Bosh sitting courtside has nothing to do with the team's performance, it's an intriguing
Bosh is forever a huge part of Miami Heat history. He could be an enormous piece in its future. Adding Bosh to the fold would trump anything that goes on in the playoffs this season.
4. Does Pat Riley indicate he'll join Wade and Udonis Haslem in retirement after this season? Last week, a report regarding Riley's future led to some raised eyebrows. It confirmed what many assumed: Erik Spoelstra is the most likely candidate to take over when Riley decides to retire to his Malibu beach house. But for the report to come out in the middle of the season was odd. Who was talking about it?
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Spoelstra just notched his 500th win as head coach. He could continue coaching, take Riley's role as decision-maker, or keep both titles. Watch for hints in June. Or down the road.
5. Does the Heat make any major moves before the trade deadline? The NBA trade deadline is fast approaching (February 7). The Heat has too many 20-minute players. It makes sense for the team to unload one or two guys. Likeliest to see his way out of Miami is shooting guard Wayne Ellington, who would merit a decent pick in return. Ellington is a sharpshooter with enormous three-point
Also possible, but far less likely, is a trade of Hassan Whiteside. Bam Adebayo is the future at center for Miami, and the Heat would love to be rid of Whiteside's $25 million (more next season) contract. Outside of that, the Heat could potentially move other players like James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, or Dion Waiters.
You never know with Pat Riley. He's always looking to improve. The Heat is better but nowhere near a championship contender. Trades could change that.