I know the idea sounds ludicrous, and you assume that I am on drugs or just plain stupid, but there are valid reasons for the Miami Heat to trade one of their superstars, Dwayne Wade. First and foremost Dwayne Wade is a great player and has led a team to a championship in the past. But, if we are all being honest we have to acknowledge that the Miami Heat play better when Dwayne Wade is out of the lineup. It’s obvious to the naked eye that their offense flows better without Wade in the lineup and that almost to a man every player on the team performs better and is utilized more efficiently without his presence. Dwayne Wade turned 30 this past week and you can see throughout history that every marquee shooting guard has seen their numbers decline steadily after the age of 30. Even the great Michael Jordan saw his scoring numbers and player efficiency rating decline after the age of 30(Basketball-Reffrence.com). As great as Dwayne Wade is, he does have an injury history and a penchant for crashing to the floor several times a game. Lastly, Imagine what the trade possibilities would be for a player like Dwayne Wade? Would Orlando turn down a trade offer of Dwayne Wade and Joel Anthony for JJ Reddick and Dwight Howard, knowing they would have Wade locked in until 2014? The thoughts is intriguing to say the least.
There is only one factor that would keep me from trading Dwayne Wade from the Miami Heat; Locker room chemistry. How would it affect LeBron James? Would he go into a shell like Rajon Rondo did when the Boston Celtics traded his best friend Kendrick Perkins? Or would he quickly get over it because he would see how the trade would quickly pay dividends for him and his teammates on the court. I cannot be the only that sees how LeBron James has been somewhat stifled by having to share the court and more importantly the ball with a player who plays exactly the same way that he does? I feel that James basketball growth is being stunted by playing with Dwayne Wade, and that if he were to be playing without Wade he would take more ownership of his team and it would bring out the best in him. This is essential for the development of a superstar such as LeBron James, he must take the final step of accepting full ownership of a team and not have a crutch to lean on, this is how you develop the mental toughness needed to take that final step in your career.
Still don’t believe me? Let’s delve into the numbers shall we? It’s too easy to say that LeBron and Chris Bosh numbers will be better without Wade, because they will get more shots and opportunities to make assists and grab rebounds, so there is no sense in bringing that up. But, let’s look at the team results with and without Dwayne Wade; 5-4 with him and 8-1 without him. The wins with Wade came against Dallas, Boston, Minnesota and Charlotte twice, while losing to Atlanta, Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver. In those 9 games the Heat have an average plus/minus of +3.22 points. In the 9 games sands Dwayne Wade the Heat beat Indiana, Atlanta(without Wade and James), New Jersey, San Antonio, the LA Lakers, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Detroit. The Miami Heat’s 1 loss came at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. The average plus/minus is +12 points in those 9 games without Dwayne Wade. So, not only are they winning by more points, but they are beating much better teams. The last bit of data I looked at is Wade’s advanced statistics, starting with his Player Efficiency Rating over the past 4 years, which was 30.41 in 2009, 28.12 in 2010, 25.70 in 2011 and this season has fallen to 20.52(Hoopdata.com). But the most telling stat in all are his shot attempts at the rim which have fallen from 7.5 to 6.1 per game, while his shots from 16-23 have risen from 3.7 attempts per game last season to 6.3 this season. Drifting further and further from the basket is the first sign that a player is slowing down because wade shoots 63.6 % at the rim, while shooting only 32 % from 16-23 feet. So why would a player of Wad’s caliber take a lower percentage shot with more frequency? It’s because it is becoming increasingly harder for him to get to the rim. Considering his injury history and his age, I feel like he will still play well, but his efficiency will keep dropping with each coming season.
People will always scream and shout that Dwayne Wade is champion, and he is, but that was the 2005-2006 season, it is now the 2011-2012 campaign. That was a very long time ago and he deserves some loyalty from the Miami Heat, but the 2006 Dwayne Wade is not walking through the door. He still plays at a very high level but I think that the fact that he is injured now, has never played 82 games in a season, has had a myriad of injuries and is injured as of now(Planter Fasciitis). So do you try to make a championship run this year with your big three of Wade, James and Bosh or do you try to see what trades can be made? Would Miami play better if they traded Wade and Mario Chalmers for Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen? How big would a Dwight Howard and JJ Reddick trade for Wade and Joel Anthony trade be? A 26 year old superstar, durable center and a dead eye shooter wouldn’t put the heat over the top? How about trading Wade for Deron Williams, a pointguard that can push the pace, score, create and has a knack for knocking down big jumpers? The Miami Heat have a structural flaw, because Wade and James are basically the same player, but they may be so talented that they will win the championship anyway. The way that modern players think now is extremely flawed, they think get 3 stars on the same team and everything will magically fall into place. Things don’t work that way, team building is an art and players who think they can be player/General Managers often times have flawed thinking. Even the greatest of all time Michael Jordan threw a temper tantrum when the Bulls drafted Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, while passing up on Joe Wolf, a player from Jordan’s Alma Mater North Carolina. I am sure LeBron and Dwayne are best friends, came together for all the right reasons, but remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions.