The Miami Heat have been trudging along with only eight available players this week. Maybe they deserve to be rewarded by getting one of the best guards in the game.
Sure, it sounds like Victor Oladipo wants to set up residence in South Beach and Jimmy Butler would relish playing with him. Keep the stove heated on that one. But new chatter around the Heat possibly making a play for Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal has arisen. According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the Heat’s “interest level” remains “high” in Beal but Washington has refused to put the two-time All-Star on the trading block. Then there is the issue of the asking price.
The Wizards are reportedly looking for a haul in return for Beal, including Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Precious Achiuwa. Remember, the Heat laughed at the Houston Rockets when they asked for Herro, Robinson, Achiuwa, Kendrick Nunn, plus two first-rounders in exchange for James Harden. The 2018 NBA MVP was eventually dealt to the Brooklyn Nets as Miami arguably avoided a nightmare. However, the opportunity to acquire Beal — the NBA’s highest scorer at 34.9 points per game — might be too good to pass up.
Heat president Pat Riley has always taken a cautious approach to free agency and deadline trades. He did strike gold last year in acquiring Andre Iguodala, but he isn’t one to fire the gun just to waste bullets.
“You don’t ever want to make a trade for the sake of making a trade; you just don’t want to do that [and say] let’s do something because everybody is upset,” Riley told the Miami Herald in 2018. “Every now and then people have to step back, even the organizations, and take a deep breath and get ready for another season.”
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Gabe Vincent Seizing the Opportunity
The Heat have been running on fumes in recent games — eight players in, eight players out — and it could be a blessing in disguise. The NBA’s health and safety protocols have forced rookies and two-way contract players like Gabe Vincent into meaningful roles. The UC Santa Barbara product has averaged 17.3 points and 4.3 assists in 28.7 minutes per game in two consecutive starts. It’s not the way he wanted to break into the NBA, but it’s working.
“It’s not your typical season, it’s not your typical times in the world right now,” Vincent told reporters Thursday night. “It’s tough to have to sit in a room on the road and stare at those four walls, but on the day-to-day, that’s what most people in the world are doing. They’re having to quarantine and battle this virus, in any way they can. Me personally, I’m grateful we have basketball, grateful that the league is still going. I’m grateful I can do my job and play the game I love and compete.”
Another player getting valuable minutes in these not-so-normal times is rookie center Precious Achiuwa. He has averaged 8.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game over the past two games. He also drew the smallest straw when he was called upon to defend Joel Embiid mano-a-mano. It’s a learning process for everyone, lessons that could go a long way down the stretch for Erik Spoelstra’s squad.
“We emphasize that everything matters, winning and losing does matter, and doing enough things to put yourselves in a position to win,” Spoelstra said. “You have to learn how to do that, these are not just empty minutes to get these guys experience and get them touches and get them more reads on how to play offensively. No, there’s accountability to what we want to do defensively. It wasn’t good enough tonight but again you have to credit Philly. Their pace and how they got into things had us on our heels but these are great learning moments for our guys.”
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