Yet sources told ESPN.com that the final form of the trade was still being worked out Tuesday afternoon, with Miami hunting for a third team to take on the contract of Grizzlies guard Beno Udrih and/or Grizzlies forward Jarnell Stokes.
If the Heat are unsuccessful in finding another team willing to help facilitate the trade, sources say that Miami intends to go ahead and deal directly with the Grizzlies by sending Chalmers and young forward James Ennis to Memphis for Udrih, Stokes and a future second-round pick.
ESPN.com first reported on Nov. 3 that the Heat and Grizzlies had opened serious trade talks centered around Chalmers, with Memphis (3-5) unexpectedly looking for an early season shake-up in the wake of a poor start that has featured a 30-point home loss to Cleveland and a whopping 50-point loss at Golden State.
Neither Udrih nor Stokes is in Miami’s long-range plans, sources said. The Heat have also made both Chalmers and veteran big man Chris Andersen available via trade going back to the summer in hopes of slicing their luxury-tax bill.
The Heat would have to trade both Chalmers and Andersen, without taking significant salary back, to get under the luxury tax and avoid the NBA’s dreaded “repeater” penalties for teams that stray into tax territory in consecutive seasons.
If the Heat are ultimately forced to deal directly with Memphis, sending out Chalmers and Ennis for Udrih and Stokes would save roughly $6 million in tax payments but still leave them some $5 million above the league’s 2015-16 tax threshold.
Selected No. 34 overall in the second round of the 2008 draft, Chalmers, 29, has spent his entire career with the Heat, playing on two Miami championship teams after also winning a NCAA title at Kansas. In the Jayhawks’ victory over Memphis in the 2008 NCAA title game, Chalmers helped clinch the win in overtime with a 3-pointer.
Chalmers, though, is in the final year of a two-year deal that he signed in the summer of 2014 and is making $4.3 million this season. He appeals to Memphis not only as a potential backup to Mike Conley but also a proven 3-point shooter who can help address the Grizzlies’ most well-chronicled weakness.
Chalmers told ESPN.com’s Michael Wallace last week that he has come to accept that his future with the club is out of out of his control.
“It’s definitely been tough, but I’m built like that … for tough moments, to deal with things,” Chalmers said. “I’ve always had the odds stacked against me. That’s what made me who I am.
“Especially with the way things have been going [lately], I’ve got to prove every day why I’m here, why I’ve got two championship rings, why I was a starting point guard on two championship teams. So I’ve just got to keep proving myself.”