The Miami Heat‘s path back to the NBA Finals suddenly looks clearer following reports that Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid is out indefinitely with a right orbital fracture. If they weren’t already, the Heat now look like clear favorites in their second-round series with Philly.
From there, a very winnable matchup with either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Boston Celtics would be all that separates the club from a championship opportunity.
Whether the team completes the mission or not, though, Pat Riley will undoubtedly seek to make roster improvements this offseason, incremental or otherwise. And, according to one rival executive, there may be a golden opportunity to make a deal with the Chicago Bulls.
The target: former lottery pick and combo guard Coby White.
White for Robinson?
An Eastern Conference executive recently told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that the Bulls will likely test the waters on a White trade this offseason, saying, “They’ll get a read on what Coby White might get them. They really like Ayo [Dosunmu], he has some upside and I think they’re ready to see what White can bring in on the market this summer.”
White was up and down after returning from shoulder rehab in mid-November. On the whole, though, he had a solid regular season for Chicago, averaging 12.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game off the bench for Billy Donovan. He also clocked a career-best effective field-goal percentage of 53.9.
After seeing his role reduced during postseason play, though, and with Dosunmu on the rise, it may be time for the Bulls to sell White off before his value drops. And the exec believes that the Heat have something that would be of interest in a trade.
“I would look out for Duncan Robinson. The Heat will consider getting off that contract, they like what [Max] Strus does for them and they have other young guys who can fill those minutes, who can make shots for them,” the exec said. “But the Bulls need shooting, they need better floor spacing.”
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Actually Constructing That Deal Is Difficult
Per the exec, Miami stands to gain a lot with a White-Robinson swap, too. “The Heat could use a backup point guard who can score a bit like White,” he said. “They should have [Tyler] Herro off the ball more, but he has played a fair amount of point guard.”
Getting the money to work and still have a trade that’s mutually beneficial could be a tall task, though. Robinson will pull down $16.9 million next season in year two of his massive extension. Meanwhile, White is set to pull down significantly less at $7.4 million.
Throwing Patrick Williams or Alex Caruso into the deal brings the figures close enough to work, but there’s no way on Earth that Chicago is parting with two former lottery picks for Robinson, especially if one of them is Williams. It’s also hard to see them moving Caruso, who played such an important role for the Bulls when he was healthy.
So, the clubs would likely have to get creative and/or bring another party into the mix to make something happen.
“They’d have to find a way to construct a deal that makes sense, but if the principles are Robinson going to Chicago and White to Miami, that works both ways,” said the exec. “I am not sure the Heat and Bulls want to be helping each other, but there is definitely a deal to be made there.”