The Miami Heat, reeling from the continued injury absence of Dwyane Wade and an 0-7 record in the preseason, have responded with a promising double boost for their aging roster.
Finding an unexpected taker for out-of-favor forward Antoine Walker, Miami on Wednesday completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire swingman Ricky Davis and center Mark Blount.
The Wolves will also receive Michael Doleac and Wayne Simien (and their expiring contracts) in addition to Walker. Minnesota initially balked at taking back Walker, according to NBA front-office sources, but the Heat threw in a future first-round draft pick to push the trade through.
If you're a T-Wolves fan, you're banging your head against the table, because your team just lost Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis and gained an out-of-shape Antoine Walker.
If you're a Heat fan, you feel good about this, because Ricky Davis is younger and a good role-player. As a leader and #1 guy, he's awful, but playing behind Wade and Shaq, he should shine.
It's basically trading baggage for younger baggage, although Davis is certainly better equipped to deal with the faster perimeter players who killed Miami all of last season and was THE reason other than Wade not being 100% that they got swept in the playoffs last year.
Miami had a litany of injury problems last year, although when healthy (after Wade comes back in about December) a starting 5 of JDub/Wade/Davis/Haslem/Shaq is capable of doing something. And Davis is capable of being a second option until Wade comes back, since one of the silver linings of what's been an awful preseason is that Shaq has looked good in limited time out there. As a Heat fan, one can only hope that Shaq is having one of his motivaed years.
Antoine gets to pretty much rejoin the Celtics team he bolted a few year ago because they were too young. Blount's only motivated during contract years, so he'll be useless, and Ricky needs the ball at all times, so how he co-exists will be entertaining.
I have to start my tradition a day early because I'll be on the road tomorrow preparing to run my first marathon. Tomorrow marks the beginning of NCAA basketball and the spectacle of "Midnight" Madness celebrations around the nation.