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Optimism for Bosh; A look at where the Heat stands with its lineup and roster after today's trade dealine

Unsuccessful in attempts to trade for a rotation player before Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline, the Heat instead went the other direction, dumping Jarnell Stokes and Brian Roberts to drop below the luxury tax threshold and acquiring no players to augment a roster depleted by injury.

Meanwhile, the Heat is still awaiting word on whether Chris Bosh will be able to play this season after being diagnosed with a blood clot. Bosh met with a doctor in Boston on Thursday and entered the meeting hopeful of being able to play again this season, if cleared by doctors to do so, and with the expectation of a full recovery.

Dealing Stokes to New Orleans and Roberts to Portland left the Heat with 13 players, two under the league maximum. With Chris Bosh sidelined with a blood clot, Hassan Whiteside suspended for one game and Tyler Johnson out for at least another month-and-a-half after shoulder surgery, Miami will have no more than 10 players available for Friday’s game in Atlanta unless it adds another player before then.

What’s more, Dwyane Wade sat out part of practice Thursday with knee soreness. Though Wade hopes to play against the Hawks, nobody could say that with certainty.

The Heat, which ranks 28th in three-point accuracy, tried to acquire a quality shooter before the trade deadline --- with Portland’s Gerald Henderson, Phoenix's Mirza Teletovic, Denver’s Randy Foye and Sacramento’s Omri Casspi among those explored --- but lacked the assets to do it. By league rule, the Heat was not permitted to trade a first-round pick because it already owes three future first-rounders to other teams.

Miami now will turn its attention to the buyout market and to players available on waivers.

The Heat hopes a quality wing player shakes free via buyout, with Joe Johnson a logical target if available. But a report Thursday said Johnson is content to remain with the Nets. Minnesota’s Kevin Martin also has been mentioned as a buyout possibility, but he might be disinclined to walk away from the $7 million he’s owed next season.

Two players reportedly in line for potential buyouts: Denver's Steve Novak and Boston's David Lee.

Players must receive buyouts by March 1 to be eligible for the playoffs with another team.

Former Heat forward Dorell Wright remains an option. He’s a free agent, having completed his season in China, and would have interest in returning to Miami, but the Heat had made no attempt to sign him as of 1 p.m. Thursday.

There has been occasional contact between the parties, and that cannot be ruled out because of the Heat’s need for a veteran wing. Veteran guard Tony Wroten also is available, and the Heat made a due-diligence call on him earlier this season after his release from the 76ers.

The Heat began the season facing a luxury tax payment of more than $20 million. But by trading Mario Chalmers in November, and by dealing Chris Anderson, Stokes and Roberts this week, Miami erased its entire tax obligation.

Miami now can sign a player to the veteran’s minimum without fearing significant tax ramifications, though the Heat would need to wait a couple of weeks to sign players to stay below the tax line. Staying below that threshold gives the Heat added flexibility in future sign-and-trades and use of salary cap exceptions.

The Heat traded a 2021 second-round pick to Portland to dump Roberts’ contract, with Miami receiving cash considerations in return. Roberts' Heat tenure lasted less than two days, including Thursday's practice.

The Heat agreed to pay the Pelicans $700,000 for their willingness to take Stokes, and the 2018 conditional second-round pick sent to Miami in the deal likely will not ever be forwarded to the Heat.

For now, the Heat will need to make do with a roster lacking ideal depth in the frontcourt or on the wings.

Luol Deng said he expects to receive substantial minutes at power forward in Bosh’s absence. That likely would leave Justise Winslow as the starting small forward.

A lineup of Deng, Winslow, Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and Whiteside (who will return for Saturday’s home game against Washington) has outscored teams by 20 points in 115 minutes this season.

“The game has changed so much and I’m big enough to play [power forward],” Deng said. “I’m confident because this year I’ve played the four a lot more than I did before. At the four, you find yourself under the rim a lot more.”

If Deng and Winslow start in the frontcourt, as expected, that would leave the Heat with three backup wing players: Gerald Green, Beno Udrih and Josh Richardson.

“We’ve got to find a way,” Wade said. “We’re missing 20 points a game in Chris. We’ve got to figure it out. Until we get in a game, we’re not going to understand the void of missing Chris.”

Asked if he can be the 2006 Wade in Bosh’s absence, Wade said: “I can be the 2016 Dwyane Wade. I don’t like the 2006 thing, personally. That’s 10 years ago…. When times came up when I have to do certain things for this team, I tried to do it. If more is put on my plate… to make more plays for guys or score more points, I’ll try my best to do it. Everyone is going to have to do a little bit more.”

Wade said his knee felt “a little sore” during practice and he sat out the rest as a “precaution to make sure it doesn’t flair up any more.” He’s receiving treatment with the hope of playing in Atlanta.

With Whiteside suspended for the Hawks game, Amar’e Stoudemire is expected to start at center. The Heat, which began the season with six natural power rotation players, will have only three available Friday: Stoudemire, Udonis Haslem and Josh McRoberts.

“My leadership, U.D.’s leadership, Luo’s leadership are going to be big at this time,” Wade said.

The Heat (29-24) enters the post All-Star break schedule at No. 5 in the East, two games behind No. 3 Boston, one behind No. 4 Atlanta and 6.5 behind No. 2 Toronto but just one game ahead of No. 6 Indiana.

 Even before Bosh learned of his blood clots this week, the Heat’s inconsistency prompted Deng to ask last week: “Who are we? Who is the Miami Heat?”

There’s appreciably more uncertainty now, with Bosh awaiting clarity on his status.

“My leadership, U.D.’s leadership, Luo’s leadership are going to be big at this time,” Wade said.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz