In the Heat's toughest and perhaps most important game of the season at Detroit on December 29th, Antoine Walker was a non-factor. In 15 minutes of play, Walker scored 3 points, grabbed 1 rebound, and dished out 1 assist. This was a very discouraging loss for the Heat, as Detroit's level of play was mediocre until the end of the fourth quarter and Miami still managed to fall short. Detroit is simply in a different class than Miami right now, and with the current rosters intact, there's no way that Miami could beat Detroit in a seven game series.
The Heat should make a move to acquire Ron Artest. The market value of Artest is ridiculously low right now, and Miami likely wouldn't have to give up much to get him. Obviously, I'd want Walker to be shipped off for Artest. Shit, package him with a draft pick or two, Wayne Simien, and a signed photo of Jessica Alba wearing that see-through top and bring Artest to Miami.
You may be thinking, "Why on Earth would a good team like Miami risk destruction at the hands of Hurricane Ronnie?" Well, it's pretty simple, really -- Miami can't beat Detroit, and its window is quickly closing. True, the demigod Wade will continue to improve, but he can't be counted on to carry this team past the Pistons. Shaq isn't SHAQ! anymore and his skills and health will continue to deteriorate over the next few years. The rest of the supporting cast is nice, but they're not enough to get over the hump. That's where Artest comes in. If Miami can't get past the Pistons without Artest (whether Riley wants to accept this or not), why not give it a shot with Artest? What's the absolute worst that could happen? If he flips out and goes AWOL, great -- just deactivate him like the Pacers did. Besides, it's not like Miami will be losing a lot in this scenario -- remember, they're not going to have to give up a lot to get him.
Ron Artest is a Tru Warrior.
How crazy is Artest? He's pretty nuts, but even Artest wasn't loco enough to fight Ben Wallace in the infamous brawl at The Palace. So, I'm guessing Shaq, who's much bigger than Wallace, would be able to keep Artest under control. And if not? Well, like I said before, deactivate the maniac.
What it comes down to is that this is a very low risk/high reward scanario for Miami. I hope it's an option they explore. And besides, don't you think Artest would love the chance to knock off the Pistons? I do.
The one hitch in this plan, of course, is the Pacers' reluctance to trade Artest to an Eastern Conference team. So maybe I just wasted 10 minutes typing this entry. Whatever, I would have been playing Duck Hunt anyway and wanting to shoot the dog instead of the ducks.