Rival Squad Could Block Heat From Making Team-Altering Move: Report

Erik Spoelstra Miami Heat

Getty Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

The NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone, with the Miami Heat only unloading Dewayne Dedmon’s contract. At the All-Star break, the Heat have a record of 32-27, which has them sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Many felt as if Miami would have been more competitive this season, after nearly reaching the NBA Finals last year.

If the front office wants to improve the roster before the playoffs roll around, then they will still be able to do so through the buyout market.

The Atheltic’s Shams Charania reported the Heat to be a “suitor” for Kevin Love, once he is bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“The Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love are finalizing a contract buyout, with the Miami Heat expected to emerge as a suitor for the five-time All-Star should the sides finalize parting ways, league sources tell The Athletic,” Charania reported.

While there may be mutual interest between Miami and Love, the Cavs may be working to prevent the two from coming together.

During an appearance on the February 17 edition of The Dan Patrick Show ESPN’s Brian Windhorst discussed the NBA buyout market.

He told Patrick that Cleveland may be working to prevent Love from joining the Heat if he is bought out.

“Certainly Miami would be a good fit because they need size and shooting,” Windhorst said. “I don’t know if the Cavs are going to allow that as part of the buyout. That’s part of what I think is under discussion.”

Heat Have Had Conversations with Russell Westbrook

Perhaps the most interesting buyout candidate that’s been linked to the Heat is Russell Westbrook, Love’s UCLA teammate. Westbrook, a former MVP, was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Utah Jazz ahead of the deadline. Since arriving in Utah, there’s been speculation that he’ll be bought out of his contract, though nothing has happened yet.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnorowski recently reported that Miami is one of the teams that have been in contact with Westbrook.

“I’m told that Russell Westbrook has permission from the Jazz to go out and explore with potential buyout teams a role elsewhere that might fit,” Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown. “He and his agent Jeff Schwartz have been spending this week doing that… Among the teams that they’ve communicated with: the (Chicago) Bulls, the (Los Angeles) Clippers, the (Washington) Wizards, the Miami Heat.”

Nets Coach Discusses Strategy After Shutting Down Heat

Whether it be Westbrook or Love, Miami may need all the help they can get. They went into All-Star Weekend losers of two straight.

Their most recent loss came at the hands of the new-look Brooklyn Nets, behind 45 points from Miles Bridges.

On top of Bridges scoring his career-high, Brooklyn was able to make things difficult for Miami throughout the February 15 matchup. The Heat shot just 45.8% from the field and 28.6% from beyond the arc in the loss.

Following his team’s well-rounded performance, Nets Head Coach Jacque Vaughn discussed his defensive philosophy against Miami, citing physicality as a main point-of-emphasis.

“We talked about being more physical, more physical in our switching, more physical on the off-ball screens. Just really getting our hands on people,” said via the Brooklyn Nets YouTube channel. “The referees are only can call a certain amount of fouls. So, we just wanted to be more aggressive. I thought we did that. You can see it, just from the dropped balls that they had, the deflections that we had. So, we were able to dictate some things in the second half for sure.”

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