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Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Trade season begins for Heat

By Tom Haberstroh

While Heat players may have circled December 15th on their calendars since it's a game day, team executives may have the date circled for a slightly different reason:

Newly signed free agents are now eligible for trades.

ESPN.com's salary cap guru Larry Coon gives us the rundown at TrueHoop and points out that the date is especially significant for the Heat organization since most of the roster was assembled through the free agent market this summer. Before today, only Mario Chalmers and Dexter Pittman could be moved if the Heat were so inclined. Now, everyone with the exception of Erick Dampier (who, as Coon teaches us, isn't trade eligible until February 23) can be put on the table in a deal.

No, it doesn't mean Pat Riley is suddenly going to break up the Big 3 despite some knee-jerkers calling for it earlier this season. But it does unlock some previously unmovable pieces. Here are some of Miami's players most affected by their new eligibility:

Eddie House -- The shooting specialist's minutes have gone by the wayside since Mario Chalmers has gotten fully healthy. Head coach Erik Spoelstra has preferred keeping a ball-handler on the floor next to Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. If House seems superfluous now, just wait until sharpshooter Mike Miller returns to the team. It's hard to imagine the Heat getting more than a rack of basketballs in return but a number of teams in playoff contention could use an injection from downtown. And the Heat won't be one of them with Miller.

Jamaal Magloire -- Don't laugh. As evidenced by the Lakers' acquisition of Joe Smith, veteran bigs are always in demand no matter how far down the bench they may be. Magloire, who hasn't seen any action over the past 11 games, is one of the few centers in the NBA who has to leapfrog three players to earn a starting gig. The only scenario in which someone calls for Magloire is if a contender is desperate to beef up their front-line with a veteran.

Joel Anthony -- Even if the Heat would want to unload the high-energy, low-skilled big man, it's nearly impossible to dump his 5-year contract onto someone else's books unless Riley packages him with valuable asset. To be fair, Anthony's contract is slightly less offensive once you consider it maxes out at only $3.8 million in 2014-15. It's more of a ding than a dent. Someone could covet his shot-blocking ability but unless they're head-over-heels for that commodity, the length of Anthony's contract will be prohibitive in any potential trade.

James Jones -- The Heat don't figure to deal the Miami native with the way he's shooting the rock (45 percent from downtown) and playing solid defense on the wing. With that said, his stock will never be higher than it is right now. Miller's return would likely displace Jones to a lesser role off the bench and torpedo the former Miami Hurricane's trade value in the process. With Miller around, Jones could be worth more to another team than his own. And Riley has never let sentiment get in the way doing business.