Rampant trade speculation has Heat forward Michael Beasley bracing for a potential move, but he believes he is best suited to remain in Miami.
Beasley, a former Kansas State star, repeatedly has surfaced as the Heat's most valuable asset who could be dealt by the Feb. 18 trade deadline to acquire Amare Stoudemire from Phoenix.
"If they decide to trade me, I don't want to go," Beasley said before Wednesday's game against the Hawks. "Amare's a great player, so you understand whatever happens. You understand that it's a business. You just have to focus on your job."
A Yahoo! Sports story published Wednesday quoted an anonymous source saying the Heat is Stoudemire's most aggressive suitor and has offered just about any combination of players with the exception of Dwyane Wade.
General manager Pat Riley has declined interview requests until after the trade deadline. Two league sources said Wednesday that the Heat's interest is neither as imminent nor as desperate as recent reports have suggested.
The Heat's priority remains to reserve as much salary-cap space as possible to re-sign Wade and bring in at least one other top-tier free agent from a class expected to include LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson.
With the Suns apparently reluctant to take Jermaine O'Neal's $23 million expiring contract and the Heat still hesitant to include Beasley in any deal, Phoenix and Miami could seek a third team to help broker a deal. Memphis, Portland, Houston and Philadelphia are likely targets should negotiations expand.
Beasley, the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, is averaging 15.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in his second season, his first as a full-time starter.
Beasley said he has not been given any indication from Miami or agent Jeff Schwartz that he is being shopped.
"I haven't heard anything from anybody," Beasley said. "So I'm not really thinking about it. If I get traded, I'm going to miss some of my teammates. But I'm going to play wherever I'm at. I'm going to handle my business."
Bryant, Iverson out — Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers won't play in the All-Star game on Sunday.
Both former NBA MVPs were voted into the starting lineups by fans.
The NBA announced Thursday that Bryant will be replaced by Dallas point guard Jason Kidd on the Western Conference roster. Iverson's spot in the Eastern Conference will be filled by New York forward David Lee.
Bryant missed his third straight game for the Lakers Wednesday night with a sore left ankle.
Iverson missed his fifth straight game for the 76ers Wednesday night to be with his sick daughter.
AP Source: NBA proposal targets all player types — The proposal the NBA sent to the players' association for a new collective bargaining agreement seeks cuts from the biggest superstars down to guys not even in the league yet.
A person who has seen the document told The Associated Press on Thursday that first-round picks would have their salaries cut by about one-third and the minimum salary would be reduced by as much as 20 percent. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly about the negotiations.
The total value of a maximum contract for a veteran also would drop below $60 million, as previously reported by ESPN.com. That's less than half of what LeBron James can sign for this summer if he opts out of his contract and re-signs with Cleveland.
The person said owners "have made it clear they intend to rein in player costs across the board from every segment of the player population."
The league sent the proposal to the union last week and negotiators from both sides will meet today to discuss a new deal to replace the one that will expire July 1, 2011. They already had some preliminary sessions and exchanged financial documents last summer, getting an early jump on the process with many teams hit hard by the economic downturn.
Neither the NBA nor the players' associated have commented on the proposal.