Miami Heat Shopping Veteran Defensive Specialist: Report

Avery Bradley, Goran Dragic

Getty The Miami Heat are expected to unload a few veteran players at the NBA trade deadline.

Avery Bradley has only played 10 games for the Miami Heat. That may be all the time he sees in South Beach as the squad potentially (via reports) explores other options down the stretch.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, several contenders have “expressed interest” in Bradley and the oft-injured guard could be on his way out of town. The 30-year-old defensive specialist signed a two-year, $11.6 million deal with Miami last offseason but it hasn’t been a good fit.

Bradley, who sat out the Lakers’ title run due to COVID-19 concerns, is nearing a return from a right calf strain and could be dealt in the coming days. He is averaging 8.5 points and 1.4 assists in 21.1 minutes per game for the Heat while shooting 42.1% from deep.

Meanwhile, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype mentioned that the Heat “dangled veterans” Avery Bradley, Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard to match salaries as part of a trade package for San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge. He also revealed that Miami called the Toronto Raptors about acquiring Kyle Lowry, with Miami’s Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk and Kendrick Nunn all being discussed in a trade package.

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Jimmy Butler’s Defense Takes Center Stage

It almost feels like the Heat are getting disrespected again, right? They have reeled off four straight wins while collecting victories in 10 of their last 11 games. Yet the leading conversation has been in regards to the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers fighting for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

No matter, Jimmy Butler and the guys are just “having fun.”

“I think we’re coming together well. We’re becoming more and more comfortable and just focusing on the things we can control,” Butler told reporters after Sunday’s 102-97 win. “I think that the more that we’re out there getting reps, there’s not that much time to practice, the more everybody is comfortable — and we’re just having fun, fun is the main thing but don’t get me wrong, fun is a big part of winning.”

Butler scored 29 points while dishing out nine assists and seven rebounds versus Orlando. If you never looked at the box score, you have thought he had a triple-double. Butler was involved in every aspect of the game, including winning a jump-ball. He also finished with five steals on the night.

“It’s super high IQ and then that cat quickness he has, that you can’t teach,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Butler’s defensive instincts. “He’s just first to the ball, it surprises everybody. I’m sure it surprises the passer, their unpredictably creative … so it’s not neccesarily something that’s a tendency you can prepare for. It’s just an in-the-moment, his greatness is able to make some of those steals, and some of those reads, that are uncommon.”


Next Up, Cleveland Cavaliers

The Heat will get a day off and then return home to host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday in Miami. They have four games in six days, including a trip to Memphis on Wednesday. The schedule makers have done them no favors, but Spoelstra’s squad seems to be at their best under duress.

“It’s really about what happens after that,” Spoelstra said, referring to adversity. “Are you making it worse than it is? Or are you learning from it and collectively trying to be better?”

The Heat has been without star center Bam Adebayo since March 2 with left knee tendinitis. The team started Kelly Olynyk at center on Sunday and KZ Okpala at power forward, with Chris Silva (two minutes) and Precious Achiuwa (14 minutes) rotating in. Adebayo’s status for Tuesday remains up in the air.

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