NEW YORK (AP) — Sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, the banged-up Miami Heat are hoping to make a push after winning the Goran Dragic sweepstakes.READ MORE: With Topic To Be Discussed At Special Meeting, Broward School Board Chair Says She’ll Vote Again In Favor Of Mandatory Masks
The NBA-worst New York Knicks have increased their chances of winning the draft lottery with Carmelo Anthony finally deciding to shut it down.
Chris Bosh won’t be available, but Dwyane Wade is expected to return as Miami visits New York on Friday night.
The Heat (22-30) are one of six teams within two games of each other for the last two playoff spots, but they could have a leg up with Dragic running the offense. Miami acquired the disgruntled point guard from Phoenix in a three-team trade Thursday, sending Danny Granger and two first-round picks to the Suns and Norris Cole, Shawne Williams and Justin Hamilton to New Orleans.
Dragic was averaging 16.2 points and 4.1 assists in the Suns’ crowded backcourt, down from last season’s marks of 20.3 and 5.9 when he earned third-team All-NBA honors. The Heat also landed Zoran Dragic, Goran’s brother, in the deal.
“We are incredibly pleased to take another step in getting the Miami Heat back to real championship prominence with the acquistion of Goran Dragic,” team president Pat Riley said. “Goran is an All-NBA player, including the Most Improved Player last season, and we felt that once he became available, we would do all that we could to acquire him.”
It’s unclear if Dragic will suit up Friday, while Wade should be good to go after missing seven games with a strained hamstring. Bosh didn’t make the trip due to an illness and went to a hospital Thursday night to undergo tests for a medical issue related to the area around his lungs.READ MORE: ‘This Is About Freedom’: Republican Leaders Gather At Versailles For Another Cuba Rally
The Heat entered the All-Star break having dropped six of eight.
“There should be a little desperation to play better,” said Wade, averaging a team-leading 21.4 points. “Thirty games is a short season, but it’s still a lot of games. Whoever’s out there on the floor, we just have to do a better job. … We have to find a way to pull these games out.”
The Knicks (10-43) have turned their attention to the future. They bought out Amar’e Stoudemire’s contract Monday, then announced Wednesday that Anthony would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a nagging left knee injury.
Anthony’s last appearance came in Sunday’s All-Star game in front of the home crowd at Madison Square Garden, where he scored 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting. New York is 0-13 without him this season.
“It’s obvious that he physically can’t do the things that he’s capable of doing, so this is a necessary step for him to take, I think, in order for him to get to the level that he’s capable of getting to,” coach Derek Fisher said.
Anthony and Stoudemire were averaging 24.2 and 12.0 points for the team’s top two marks. Tim Hardaway Jr. could take on a bigger scoring load, and the injury-plagued Andrea Bargnani figures to get more involved, too.
“We’re going to have to do a lot more activity as a team, but we’re not going to sit on our hands during this period of time,” team president Phil Jackson said. “We’re going to continue to look for players as we go through this season.”
New York completed a trade before Thursday’s deadline, sending Pablo Prigioni to Houston in exchange for Alexey Shved and two second-round picks.
The Knicks return from the break looking to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat. They have dropped five straight to Miami for their longest skid in the series since a seven-game slide Feb. 28, 2009-Dec. 28, 2010.MORE NEWS: ‘2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back’: South Florida Businesses Feeling Effects Of COVID Resurgence
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)