The Miami Heat are depleted, yet they are still finding ways to win.
The Heat (32-24) have won three straight and nine of 12 to get to eight games above .500 for the third this year. Miami is currently in third place in the Eastern Conference playoff race and coming off a 101-93 overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday. The Heat started the game with just 11 healthy bodies, as Chris Bosh and Tyler Johnson are currently dealing with ailments, and then reserve point guard Beno Udrih left the game with a foot injury after just six minutes of action. ESPN reported that Udrih tore his plantar plate in his right foot and will require surgery, which means the 33-year old will miss the rest of the season.
Udrih, who came to Miami in the trade that sent Mario Chalmers to Memphis, appeared in 36 games for the Heat which included five starts. He finishes the season, averaging 4.7 points along with 2.6 assist and 1.6 rebounds in 16.1 minutes of action.
With Udrih done for the season, Miami will likely enter tonight’s game against Golden State (50-5) with just 10 available players as Bosh and Johnson are also unavailable. Bosh will miss his fourth consecutive game with a calf injury and is getting pressure to sit out the rest of the season. Johnson has missed the past 10 games and is out for at least 10 months with a shoulder injury.
Miami also has two open roster spots due to their trades of Jarnell Stokes and Brian Roberts in order to get below the luxury tax line. For the Heat to avoid the luxury tax and therefore being repeat offenders, they are unable to anyone to more than a 10-day contract before March 6.
Still, the Heat are currently scouring the waiver wire according to the Miami Herald.
Miami really needs a point guard as Udrih’s injury leaves the Heat with just Goran Dragic, rookie Josh Richardson, and Dwyane Wade as the primary ball-handler though justice Winslow is a capable playmaker from the wing position. Richardson played point guard for the Heat during Summer League action.
The Heat are reportedly interested in Jordan Crawford, Jason Thompson, Dorrell Wright, and Tony Wroten.
Crawford spent this past season in China, averaging 43.1 points in 35 games and hasn’t played in the NBA, other than spending this preseason with Chicago, since the 2013-14 season when he appeared in 81 games for Boston and Golden State. The 27-year-old produced 11.0 points and 3.7 assists a game that year.
Wroten hasn’t played since being released by Philadelphia earlier this year. The 22-year-old is a scorer who doesn’t shoot very well and while he is a decent playmaker, he turns the ball over way too often. Wroten averaged 8.4 points and 2.5 assists along with 3.5 turnovers in eight games this season.
Thompson saw sparse time with Golden State, averaging 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 28 games this year. The 6-foot-11 power forward-center is drawing interest from overseas teams.
Wright also played over in China this season. The 30-year-old spent time with the Portland Trail Blazers last season, appearing in 48 games and averaging 4.8 points while seeing 12.4 minutes of action. Wright, known for his three-point shooting, made 38.0 percent of his three-point attempts last year and is a career 36.5 percent shooter.
Miami has several other options like John Lucas III, Tim Frazier, Bobby Brown, Jeremy Pargo, A.J. Price, Lorenzo Brown, Toure Murry, Keith Appling, Jason Maxiell, Earl Clark, and Andrea Bargnani. Lucas, Frazier, Bobby Brown, Lorenzo Brown, Toure Murry, and Earl Clark are the most likely candidates of the rest to get a shot with Miami.
Lucas III has seven years of NBA experience and is currently playing with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Lucas, the No. 20 D-League prospect, is currently averaging 18.4 points and 5.1 turnovers while committing just 1.6 turnovers and shooting 47.0 percent from the field. He has appeared in 235 NBA games, mostly off the bench. Lucas’ agent and the Heat had conversations earlier this month about the 33-year-old joining the club.
Frazier was released last week by Portland to make room for Anderson Varejao, whom the Blazers acquired from Cleveland. The 25-year-old is an excellent playmaker but struggles with his shot as well as turnovers.
[AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast]