MIAMI LeBron James could see Derek Fisher being a good fit for the Miami Heat. Of course, that was before J.J. Hickson became the latest NBA veteran given his freedom.
Its buyout season in the NBA, which is like the day after Christmas. If you didnt get what you wanted at the trade deadline, theres still a chance to make up for it. And prices could be cheap.
The Heat didnt have the assets to do much before last Thursdays trade deadline. But teams now have until Friday to waive players, and they still would be eligible for the playoffs.
Among those having been turned loose so far are Fisher, a point guard, and big men Ronny Turiaf and Hickson. All could draw interest from the Heat.
I dont know what our plans are, but I dont see that as a bad fit for us, James said after practice Monday about the possibility of the Heat signing Fisher, who was traded by the Lakers to Houston last Thursday and then bought out early this week by the Rockets.
But James made that comment before Hickson was surprisingly waived later Monday by Sacramento. James played with Hickson in Cleveland from 2008-10, and the two are good friends. They gave each other a big hug when the Kings played the Heat last month.
So who would James prefer, Fisher or Hickson? Then again, how about both?
Why shouldnt the Heat load up as much as they can for the stretch run? It wouldnt cost them much.
Miami has a 15th roster spot it has been keeping open primarily for a veteran big man. But they have the ability to create another roster spot, something they should do if there is a line outside AmericanAirlines Arena of quality players wanting to join the Heat.
For a second open spot, the Heat could waive rookie guard Terrel Harris or center Eddy Curry, who both hardly ever play. Both have minimum contracts, so it wouldnt cost much to let either go.
Harris is a reasonable, although hardly great, prospect. And, if the Heat bring in a veteran big man, that might assume there is no postseason role for Curry, who has gone from nearly 400 pounds to under 300 but still cant find the court. So it could be time to dub the Curry experiment a failure and move on.
As for a big man, Hickson, 23, is just 6-foot-9. But he averaged 8.7 rebounds, in addition to 13.8 points, last season for the Cavaliers. And James always has liked him.
Hickson, though, is making a reasonable 2.35 million this season. He could be claimed on waivers by a team that has cap room to absorb that prorated amount, denying the chance of the Heat, who only can sign players to minimum deals, getting a shot at him.
As for Turiaf, 29, he could end up being a consolation prize. With no chance anybody will claim his 4.36 million contract, he will clear waivers Wednesday morning.
Turiaf is 6-foot-10 and has Finals experience with the Lakers in 2008. The drawback is hes only played four games this season due to a broken hand, although he professes now to be healthy.
Another big-man candidate for the Heat is Rasheed Wallace, 37, who worked out with the team recently. But theres no guarantee Wallace will agree to come out of retirement.
Theres also 6-foot-11 Mikki Moore, a 12-year NBA veteran now toiling in the D-League. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Monday that Heat officials have talked to him about his client. But Moore, 36, hasnt played in an NBA game since Dec. 14, 2009.
Its quite evident Miami, beaten up inside when Chris Bosh recently missed games against Utah and the Lakers, needs a big man. But why not another veteran point guard as well?
Starter Mario Chalmers has slumped since the All-Star break, and backup Norris Cole has recently hit a wall after showing so much promise earlier this season. And, as a rookie, it remains to be seen playoff pressure will affect Cole.
Fisher, 37, doesnt have much left. But most believe he still can hit a big shot in the postseason.
One thing you know about Derek Fisher is hes a winner, James said. Hes not afraid of the moment, and hes won multiple championships (five).
As a fallback for a veteran point guard, theres Anthony Carter, who played with the Heat from 1999-2003 and was waived last week by Toronto. While Carter, 36, wouldnt be able to bring the big-game ability Fisher still might have, he could be a guy helping for a few minutes here and there in the postseason. And he would love to return to Miami.
I definitely would go to Miami, Carter said late last week, saying at the time he had not heard anything from the Heat.
Theres still time for the Heat to see if anybody else might get bought out by Fridays deadline. It wouldnt make sense if they dont end up with at least one new player.
But how about two?
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson