Mike James back to Miami? Maybe

By Marc Stein

The Miami Heat’s position on trades is no secret. They won’t even
consider making a deal for anyone whose contract extends beyond this
season to preserve every cent of their projected trove of salary-cap
space for July 1, 2010.

But the Heat have, according to NBA front-office sources, explored the possibility of trading for Washington’s highly available Mike James, whose first coach in a 11-team career in 2001-02 was Pat Riley in Miami.

Sources say that the teams discussed a trade during the preseason, but the Wizards balked because Miami would not send back an expiring contract. The Wiz have a similar mindset to Miami’s, determined not to take back anything but expiring salaries in minor deals like this one.

Yet it remains to be seen if the Heat — whose search for guard help has likewise been well-do*****ented — amend that stance.

Quentin Richardson and Udonis Haslem are the only expiring deals Riley can offer in exchange for James without a third team being recruited to help faciliate a trade. Trading Haslem for a guard obviously makes no sense and Riley has likewise resisted the idea of surrendering the well-traveled Richardson. BUT Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has also gradually decreased free-agent signee Carlos Arroyo’s minutes and has very limited alternatives. Riley might ultimately decide that bringing in a veteran to ease Dwyane Wade’s backcourt load is a must.


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