Trade Deadline Marathon 2018-19: Day 1.66
I believe the first trade that the Miami Heat need to make before the trade deadline should involve Wayne Ellington, the man with the golden arm. Ellington fell out of the rotation about a month ago, and with Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder, Dwyane Wade, Tyler Johnson, and even Dion Waiters firmly ahead of him in the depth chart, it seems highly unlikely he will find enough minutes anywhere in the near future.
Ellington is more valuable than most people might esteem. He is a streaky three-point shooter that can knock down both stand-still and moving threes. He is a career 38% shooter from deep and connected on over 39% of his long-range bombs last year. To be impactful, all he needs is a consistent role on a team that is willing to let him shoot.
Ever since he came to South Beach, head coach Erik Spoelstra felt confident in Ellington’s abilities and gave him freedom to jack up threes as long as the shots were makeable and within the flow of the offense. Ellington rewarded him, shooting a then-career-high 6.4 threes per game in 2016 (his previous high was only 3.7) and making 2.4 of them each game.
Considering he currently is out of the rotation, 31 years old, and on a very cheap expiring contract it will not be hard to move him to a playoff team that desperately needs outside shooting.
It is worth noting, however, that Ellington essentially has veto power in any trade the Heat want to include him in. After re-signing on a one-year deal with Miami last offseason, the Heat need Ellington’s consent to ship him away to any team if the league; this is due to the fact that Ellington is an upcoming Bird free agent, thus giving him absolute control of where he plays this year.
To be honest, I do not expect Ellington to veto any trade that lands him on a team that needs him. Teams never have enough shooting and receiving any minutes on any team would clearly be an upgrade from the DNP-CD’s he is racking up in Miami. With this said, here is a perfect scenario for him.
With Ellington set to be a free agent this offseason and not a part of the Heat’s long-term plans, he is more than likely to leave. Instead of letting him walk for free, the Heat would be able to get an asset in a late first-rounder or an early second-round pick and get an extra youngster to develop. Lance Stephenson would pretty much take Ellington’s spot warming the bench, and he is still a decent backup just in case the Heat suffers from multiple injuries. He is also an expiring contract, so he represents no long-term threat.
The Lakers would be getting an extra outside shooter that should be very helpful should they pursue a deep playoff run (they most certainly will now that LeBron James is in town). We have previously seen how dangerous it is to surround LeBron with shooters in the playoffs, and it would be dumb for the Lakers to pass up on a chance to boost their depth and make James feel more comfortable down the stretch.