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South Beach No Place For Troubled Point Guard

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Much like the case of Zach Randolph, there probably aren't a lot of teams for which acquiring Jamaal Tinsley makes a lot of sense. 

We've discussed the myriad of problems with the Pacers' excommunicated point guard in the past, including his inefficient shooting, injury history and the fact that his talents on the court come nowhere close to outweighing his issues off it.  So while we might find a team that could reasonably consider taking the gamble, the likelihood will be that acquiring Tins wouldn't be too sound an idea for anybody.

But every now and then a trade rumor comes around that makes so little sense that it bears special note.  A few weeks ago, that manifested itself in the form of the Tinsley-to-Denver discussions, which left us wondering why the Nuggets would take great pains to rid themselves of Marcus Camby's salary and then follow it up by adding Tinsley's $21 million over three seasons.

This time around, it's the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence's note that the Miami Heat are interested in acquiring Tinsley that is baffling.


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Yes, the Heat have some uncertainty at the point.  Mario Chalmers is a rookie second-rounder.  Shaun Livingston hasn't played in an NBA game in a year and a half.  Chris Quinn hasn't exactly proven himself as a full-time starter in this league.  Marcus Banks is, well, Marcus Banks (and Celts fans in particular likely won't need any more explanation than that).  If the team felt like it needed to win big right now, perhaps there would be a more urgent need to acquire at the very least a veteran stopgap with perhaps a bit less caution than usual with regard to off-the-court issues.

But this Miami team isn't in that situation.  The Heat are only two years removed from a championship, but they are also coming off a 15-win season, and they've become a younger team than they once were.  Shaquille O'Neal is gone.  Jason Williams is gone.  This isn't a team concerned about being a big-time contender for a particularly short window right away.  Franchise centerpiece Dwyane Wade is only 26 years old.  Shawn Marion turned 30 this year and looks to have one more long-term contract's worth of high-level play in him.  The Heat will either try to lock Marion up with a lucrative deal or perhaps move his expiring deal for more young talent.  Udonis Haslem is 28. Chalmers may not be completely ready right away, but the 22-year-old has the promise of becoming a solid NBA floor general.  It's Livingston's health rather than his age (23) that could be a concern.  Likely franchise co-cornerstone and second overall draft pick Michael Beasley is just 19 years old.

This is a team that should improve greatly from its performance last season if its big guns are at full health throughout the year, but it isn't a team likely to be playing for a title.  It isn't a team that needs to rush.  Erik Spoelstra enters his maiden head coaching season with plenty of young talent to work with as well as an entering-his-prime star who has pledged nothing but full commitment to the organization time and again.   

What all this means is that there is everything wrong with the idea of bringing in a 30-year-old point guard who already has "distraction" stamped all over his legacy.  Beasley's track record of questionable conduct has already raised plenty of eyebrows.  Chalmers got thrown out of the NBA's rookie orientation camp this summer.  Shawn Marion has a reputation as being a nice enough dude but had a history of being a bit of a basket case regarding his touches and his status on the team during his days in Phoenix.  The last thing this team needs is a point guard to show them all the wrong types of behaviors.  Beasley and Chalmers could be enough of a handful to keep track of in South Beach.  They don't need a guy with a history of trouble with gun play and after-hours drama serving as one of the veteran presences on this team.  And what if Mark Blount somehow weren't involved in a potential Tinsley deal?  An off-court disaster and an on-court loafer would make a wonderful combination for the youngsters in Miami.

Bringing in an injury-prone, distraction-causing, middle-of-the-road point guard won't necessarily make the Heat contenders by any means.  But it could cause all sorts of trouble in the locker room.  Staying away from Jamaal Tinsley definitely seems the way to go in South Beach. 

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