The Miami Heat threw cold water on the notion they were trying to acquire James Harden on Dec. 21. The reasoning was they just didn’t have enough “significant draft assets” and refused to part with their younger players.
Moving on, right? Maybe not. Harden remains stuck in limbo with the Houston Rockets and a new report puts them back in the race for the 2018 NBA MVP.
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Heat are one of a “few teams flying under the radar who can put themselves in a superstar sweepstakes.” He cited the team’s bumpy start (4-4 record, seventh in Eastern Conference) combined with their struggles on the offensive end (23rd-ranked offensive rating). Miami has also been crippled by health and safety protocols and listed eight players out: Bam Adebayo, Avery Bradley, Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Moe Harkless, Udonis Haslem, Kendrick Nunn and KZ Okpala.
O’Connor asked 14 front office executives for their thoughts on an ideal landing spot for either Harden or Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal, with three of them predicting the Heat as a “sleeper for a blockbuster.” There is a catch to any potential trade for Harden or Beal. Tyler Herro would likely have to be the linchpin to any deal since the only other leverage they have to offer is their 2027 first-round pick. They have no draft capital to give up.
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Duncan Robinson Talks Trade Rumors
Heat guard Duncan Robinson has been another guy mentioned in every possible trade package in regard to Harden or Beal. It started back in training camp and there’s literally a new rumor every single day. It can be a hard thing to compartmentalize for a young player but the 26-year-old is doing his best.
Robinson discussed the matter with J.J. Redick on The Old Man and The Three podcast where he hilariously relayed a fun story. His mom, Elisabeth, will anxiously text him whenever a trade rumor pings her phone to find out the truth. She subscribes to a blog that tracks all the NBA gossip, so the texts have been fast and furious in recent weeks. Robinson was laughing as he relayed the story to Redick who has dealt with his fair share of drama over the years.
Here’s Robinson describing the “challenge” of balancing the fact versus fiction. It’s been an ongoing struggle for him and Herro this year with the Harden and Beal rumors continuing to fly.
My mom, she gets … it’s not an official app, it’s some blog or whatever, and she just gets all the updates pinged right to her phone and occasionally it will boil over and she’ll be like, No I’m not going to talk about this, I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to do it, and then all of a sudden it’s gone too far — and there’s some reliable “source” that says that I’m like in the mix, and then she calls me like, ‘Are you seeing this? Is everything OK? Do I need to do anything?’
And I’m like, just don’t listen to it. If you hear anything, hear it from me — and it’s a real challenge. I know Tyler [Herro] and I talked about it, too. There was definitely a stretch in training camp where you couldn’t pick up your phone without it being on there in some capacity so it’s definitely a challenge, but I don’t know, I’m sure you’ve [Redick] dealt with it throughout your career. I guess you just try and block it out as much as you can. It’s unrealistic to think it can be blocked out entirely but that’s just kind of the nature of the profession.