Heat, Rockets Can’t Find Room for Big Man Trade: Sources

Christian Wood, Rockets

Getty Christian Wood, Rockets

Squeaky wheels are making much of the noise as the NBA trade deadline approaches. And while it’ll be true again this year that just an infinitesimal amount of the chatter between teams grows into action, those at the lower reaches of the conference standings are looking to pull themselves out of the ditch.

Accordingly, Houston — last in the West, behind even the draft pick-hoarding, lottery-diving Thunder — has been seeking to improve from a 14-36 mark in a year that has featured losing streaks of 15, eight and, currently, four games.

Sources tell Heavy.com that among the ideas floated has been a deal centering on Rocket big man Christian Wood and Miami shooter Duncan Robinson. Involved people have downplayed there being anything substantive, and there would clearly be other moving parts involved. But others are saying there is at least some basketball sense to the talk.

“I’ve got to think Houston wants more,” said one NBA GM. “And with the way they’ve been approaching things these last few weeks, I’d go as far as to say that’s for sure.

“Houston’s really been over-valuing Woods and Eric Gordon. They think they’re going to get back a major piece, but they’re unrealistic with their expectations. I’ve looked around the league at what they’re putting out there — and I know they have, too. And no one is willing to give up a cornerstone player.”

The logic in that particular Miami-Houston scenario would be that the Rockets could use a shooter, and the Heat would like another big body to throw at Joel Embiid in a potential playoff war.

Among that which is working against any chance of this is the fall-off in Robinson’s marksmanship. From a 44.6% 3-point shooter two years ago to 40.8% last year to a 36.3% average from beyond the arc, things aren’t trending well. Much of that could be that opponents are paying more attention to him, but he’s been missing more open looks lately. It’s notable that Robinson played only 15 minutes in the Heat’s loss to Toronto on Monday.

Two years ago, Robinson shot 46.6% when opponents were four feet or more away from him on 3-pointers, according to NBA.com stats. That is down to 39.5% this year.

But while one league source said Miami wouldn’t feel bad about getting more shots for Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, a Heat source said the important factor with Robinson is that he gives Butler and Bam Adebayo more room to operate.

Is it Go-Time for Bradley Beal in Washington?

I’m being told to keep a closer eye on the Bradley Beal situation in Washington. The Wizards have lost six straight, with one of those defeats a home blowout at the hands of Boston and another the unconscionable squandering of a 35-point lead against the Clippers.

Beal is making $33.7 million this season and has a player option for $36.4 million next year, and while he’s said he wants to stick it out and make it work in D.C., it’s understandable that frustration could be seeping in on a club that hasn’t finished a season over .500 since 2017-18.

Hawks Looking to Continue Shakeup

Atlanta appears to be righting its ship, with seven consecutive wins before Monday’s loss in Toronto, but the Hawks are still said to be looking for help that could push them back in the direction of last year’s conference finals berth. They did not get a huge haul when they shipped Cam Reddish to the Knicks last month, but they got a protected first-rounder they can use in another deal.

There continues to indication that Atlanta is interested in Ben Simmons, though the asking price may be beyond its means. The Hawks could be willing to take offers on Bogdan Bogdanovic.

“I’m not sure if they’d move (Bogdan) Bogdanovic, but that would be a mistake,” said one league source. “I think him not being healthy all year is a big reason behind their problems. He’s one of those guys whose game can really complement (Trae) Young and (John) Collins.”


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