Miami Heat (5-12)
I know it’s sacrilege to suggest Pat Riley tank. He’s vowed to only rebuild through free agency and so far it’s worked for him. He’s won three championships as an executive with the Heat.
But after what happened with Dwyane Wade and what’s still happening with Chris Bosh, Riley can’t be a popular guy among NBA players. What if is Riley overestimating his ability as a closer without Wade to attract the top free agents?
Trading Whiteside — a ridiculously common rumor — would be a horrible idea and Riley would never do it, but there are other methods to take.
Moving Goran Dragic is the most obvious example. He’s scoring more this season (16.3) and making his three’s at a higher clip (.391) so his value is at its highest.
Before the season ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that Miami would consider trading Dragic if the team struggled early. Riley is one of the best executives so he’ll only trade his star point guard for the right deal.
Riley is also smart enough to know that he needs to consider a different strategy. He’s been flexible before, but tanking would be new.