Miami Heat: Thank You Mario Chalmers
That’s the number of days that have passed since the Miami Heat traded away one of their former players, point guard Mario Chalmers, away to the Memphis Grizzlies.
It’s only 30 days since but we would be short-changing ourselves if we didn’t say this, “Thank You, Mario Chalmers.”
A fan favorite in the magic city, Chalmers was one of the players that you loved to see perform because he normally made the most timely shots in games. Chalmers played in Miami with a heart of a champion long before he was crowned one. A true defensive pest, Chalmers would often bait his defenders into taking ill-advised shots because he would trash talk his opponent. Better yet, Chalmers was the person who would take more gambles in the backcourt and come away with those steals that got fans out of their seats time and time again. Before this season, Chalmers was averaging 1.5 steals per game during his career with Miami.
Since trading Chalmers away, Miami has put together a decent 6-3 record. However, the question is did Miami really have to trade Chalmers?
Since Chalmers has left the roster it’s been tough for Heat fans to realize that he’s not coming back. On a positive standpoint having a backup point guard in Tyler Johnson that looks like an upgrade isn’t a bad backup point guard to have so basketball-wise it’s not a bad decision. However, having someone with seven years of experience on the roster and two titles aren’t something that can be replaced. Chalmers brought the swagger that Miami played with and when we got to see him return to Miami during his heartfelt return with the Memphis Grizzlies it was evident.
Chalmers came off the bench and had one of his best shooting performances as he went 4-for-7 for 12 points and had two assists in 22 minutes.
Surely that production could’ve been used for Miami’s favor. However, with the price tag on his contract combined with the ability to have a younger and cheaper backup, it put Miami in a position where they had to make a move. There’s never a right time to say goodbye. There’s never the right words. There’s never the right moment. For Chalmers and the Heat, their breakup wasn’t a smooth ride and he claimed that he found out he was traded through Twitter.
“For me being there so long, and nobody had the respect to tell me that I was about to get traded, that’s how it went down,” said Chalmers.
Even in the midst of the bad breakup, everyone in Miami still loves Chalmers and that’s why when he returned to the city he professionally grew up in as a player, everyone in the American Airlines Arena serenaded him.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 14, 2015
Through the entire ordeal, Chalmers earned the respect of his teammates and coaches.
He deserves it,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Those big moments will never go away. I said this when the trade happened, ‘He can hold his head high.’ I’m very proud of those years together and it doesn’t change at all how we feel about him. He’s still very dear to me.”
No bigger moment would he have than the NBA Finals. People will always look back during the 2011-2014 years of Heat basketball as the time when the Heatles dynasty ruled the NBA world. On a team chalked full of stars such as Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James, it would be Chalmers who ended up stealing the spotlight.
Chalmers received lots of praise because he scored a huge 25 points for Miami in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals. In the fourth quarter, Chalmers scored 12 points to help Miami defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder and take a commanding 3-1 series lead. In the subsequent game, Chalmers helped Miami seal the deal. In Game 5 he finished with 10 points, seven assists, and two rebounds to help Miami win their second title in franchise history.
That’s the type of memory that Chalmers will leave with and take with him in Memphis. It’s also that type of memory that will continue to earn him the adoration of Heat fans long after he retires.
On behalf of all Miami Heat fans…
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter@DJoumbarey.