Saturday, October 27, 2007

Heat trade Antoine Walker to Minnesota for Ricky Davis in a 5 player deal

Ricky Davis shown playing against the Heat last year

Miami Heat fans can finally say goodbye to the tippy-toe three-point shots of Antoine Walker. No longer will we have to endure another frustrating season of clanks from the free throw line and 3-point line from the notoriously inconsistant Walker. The Heat traded Walker along with Michael Doleac,Wayne Simien and a conditional first round draft pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Ricky Davis and Mark Blount.

This trade should make the Heat a better team for now. But not good enough to return to championship glory. The Heat will begin the season without Dwyane Wade who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The Heat are hoping Ricky Davis can help fill the void during Wade's absence. When Wade returns, Davis will likely move from shooting guard to small forward. Davis brings instant offense and athleticism, having averaged 18.6 point per game in the last three years in Minnesota. With the loss of Jason Kapono to free agency, Davis also fills another void--a quality perimeter shooter from 3 point range.

Fans of both Miami and Minnesota are happy about the deal. Both Walker and Davis have talent and also have the ability to make their coaches rip their hair out. In addition to his inconsistant play, Walker showed up for training camp out of shape. His body-fat was way above the requirements of Pat Riley, who demands all his players conform to his strict standards of conditioning. A fed-up Riley barred Walker from practicing with the team. It was only a matter of time before Riley would completely run out of patience and dump the lazy Walker.

Davis is not without his faults. While gifted and athletic, he's been known to be somehwat of a ballhog who lacks the discipline to play team basketball. Looking at his track record, he hasn't shown the ability to make his teams better. His numbers are nice, but the victories don't seem follow. Davis is no stranger to Miami. He played for the Heat back in the 2000-2001 season. But he only played in seven games due to an ankle injury. He was then traded to Cleveland and feuded with Cavaliers head coach Paul Silas. Riley later admitted trading Davis was a mistake. But Davis was labled as selfish by fans and the media. In a game against the Utah Jazz in 2003, Davis missed a shot on purpose on his own team's basket just so he could get a rebound and reach a triple double. Now I gotta admit, that's pretty selfish. Since then, he's bounced around from Boston to Minnesota and now back to Miami.

But like any great coach, Pat Riley has an enormous ego. He obviously thinks he can get Davis to buy into his system. But this trade was much than just getting Davis. It was about dumping Walker's salary along with Doleac and Simien, who was a mediocre bench player.

The Heat also get Mark Blount who can play both power forward and center. Blount can basically do everything Doleac can and probably better. The 7-foot, 250 pound Blount averaged double-digits in points and gives the Heat a quality big man off the bench.

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