Yes, you heard us: Pat Riley made a move! Rejoice!
The dapper GM has worked a deal that sends seldom-used Heat center Mark Blount to Minnesota in exchange for the Timberwolves' veteran guard Richardson, who's now on his fourth trade in the last two months. Blount, who was last on the Heat's depth chart down low and easily the most disposable big man, is expected to be waived before training camp; Richardson is expected to contribute off the Heat's bench with significant minutes or push for even more time at small forward.
Our expectations? We're gonna sit back and enjoy it.
The move is a good one. It doesn't turn the Heat into title contenders overnight or solve its depth issue at point. But it does exchange a deadweight $7.9 million salary in favor of a $9.3 million player that will contribute. In the course of his 9-year career, Q's averaged 11.5 points a game with 5 rebounds -- and he could fit at the 2 or the 3, giving Miami options.
"[Richardson] has proven to be a fierce competitor, a great locker room presence and a very prolific 3-point shooter who may be one of the strongest perimeter players in the NBA," said Riley in a statement. "We feel that he will be able to match-up well against the top scorers in the league."
And then there's Dwyane Wade, who hasn't gotten a fellow superstar yet, but does get a good faith roster upgrade -- and should be temporarily placated with the addition of his good friend and summer workout partner. (In fact, Richardson is tight with several Heat boys -- Dorrell Wright's son is named for both Wade and Richardson, his godfathers.)
"Welcome my big homie Q-Rich to the family. Who would of [sic] ever thought we would play 2gether. Let's get it," Wade said on Twitter when the news broke. "Family, this is crazy we about to get it."
We assume he's not talking about take-out or the plague. The deal also works in the Heat's favor because Richardson's contract expires after this season, leaving Miami with just as much in the bank for the 2010 free agent class as before.
And then they can get whatever they want.