Yesterday at the NBA trade deadline, the Miami Heat acquired Goran Dragic, along with his brother Zoran (don’t ask me what’s up with the names) in return for Danny Granger, Justin Hamilton, and two first round picks. Miami fans can now breathe a sigh of relief, as this season is not over quite yet. If you’ve been watching this season, you know that injuries have killed Miami all year.
In the beginning of the season, Dwyane Wade missed eight games, then Chris Bosh missed seven games, and then Wade went out with another hamstring injury (in the other leg) that has sidelined him until now in the same way that Kramer sidelined the Jimmy. In the midst of all of those injuries, other players have been bitten by the injury bug. Chris Andersen was out for a bit, and Luol Deng missed some time as well. With that being said, Miami has had to fight tooth and nail to get a 22-30 record, as of Friday morning.
Right now, they sit at eight games below .500 which is still enough eighth place in the Eastern Conference. But have no fear Heat faithful, Dragic is here. The star guard who last year was in the MVP discussion, began to feel unwanted by his Phoenix Suns family. Dragic wasn’t shy about making his feelings known either, telling ESPN, “I don’t trust [Phoenix] anymore.” It’s likely that these feelings were based in part on the team’s decision to run the team through his unique skill set, particularly his ability to create for other teammates.
Unfortunately for the Suns, it was only a matter of time before their drafting practices caught up to them. Dragic shared time with Eric Bledsoe, whom the Suns just paid max-type dollars for, and Isaiah Thomas (who was actually traded to the Boston Celtics). In addition to sharing court time, both Bledsoe and Thomas were cutting into Dragic’s shot attempts.
So who else has a need for a scoring combo guard on their team, the skill to do something in the playoffs, and the nightlife to amuse a 28 year-old player? Miami does. And the godfather, aka Pat Riley, was able to get the deal done. The last two big deals that Miami has been able to close have led to a combined three championships and five NBA Finals appearances.
Now, the Heat have Dragic, Wade, Luol Deng, Bosh and Hassan Whiteside as their starting unit. Whatever anxieties that might have been built up over the losses in the first half of the season should be dispelled immediately. Miami will be a force going into the playoffs.
To everyone who is not in Miami: Hate on it.
Previously from Christopher Cruz:
♦ Why I’d Prefer Harper Lee Not Publish Again
♦ Why I am Drawn to “Togetherness”
♦ The Deflated (But Not Yet Defeated) New England Patriots
♦ Why Our Choices Matter
♦ A Listicle You Can’t Refuse: The Five Best Movies I Saw This Year