The Miami Heat’s roster has experienced a severe case of shrinkage in the last 24 hours, with the team unloading Shabazz Napier (trade), Zoran Dragic (trade) and Henry Walker (release) — all without returning anything more than roster spots and cap space.
The roster now stands at 14, one below the regular-season max, but this doesn’t include unsigned rookie Josh Richardson, taken 40th overall in last June’s draft. Assuming they sign Richardson as expected what’s that mean for Mario Chalmers, carrying a 2015-16 salary of 4.3 million?
If I’m Pat Riley, I’m still trying to move Rio.
His $4.3 million salary seems reasonable at first glance, ranking 39th among all point guards, according to Spotrac. But you realize why they’re actively trying to move him when you consider the tax ramifications of keeping him. Chalmers’ salary actually would cost the Heat around $16 million, via Albert Nahmad, when considering Miami’s tax penalties. For perspective, Goran Dragic is earning just under $15 million next season.
Chalmers may be worth $4 million but certainly not $16 million or even half that. The key here, however, is the tax penalties don’t kick in until the end of the season, so the Heat has until next February’s trade deadline to maneuver. This could — in an ideal world — translate to Chalmers being a part of Miami’s early-season rotation, thus boosting his value and appeal in a trade.
Affordable backup point guards aren’t that difficult to come by and the Heat ought to place higher value on Tyler Johnson anyhow, who displayed a nice combination of explosiveness, shooting, and energy in his first year with the team. Chalmers is too volatile of a player to be valued even as a rotation player on a contender. Some might say, “well, he started on Miami’s title teams!” I might say you could’ve started in his place.
Rio ranked 89th among all guards (min 15 min/gm) in effective field-goal percentage last season. His career has been characterized by one amazing play followed by two head-scratchers. That’s not the trait a potential contender is looking for off the bench. Stability, efficient shooting, and smart defense are.
Unloading Rio is a wise move from a savings standpoint. It’s a wise move from a basketball standpoint.
Plus, then this video made last summer can finally be relevant. I am gonna miss him when he’s gone…
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