Heat Expected to Target $206 Million Point Guard Ahead of Trade Deadline

Pat Riley

Getty President Pat Riley of the Miami Heat addresses the media during the introductory press conference for Jimmy Butler at American Airlines Arena

The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA this season. They have just five wins, and things do not look like they will improve soon. They have already moved Russell Westbrook to the bench, and LeBron James has missed the last several games with a thigh injury.

With Westbrook on an expiring deal this season, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggested a three-team trade with the Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons that could help the Lakers unload Westbrook’s contract.

Pincus suggested:

The Lakers trade Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and two future first-round picks (2027 and 2029).

The Brooklyn Nets trade Kyrie Irving to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Detroit Pistons trade Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel to the Los Angeles Lakers.

But Pincus noted that as a result of the trade, Westbrook — who is in the final year of a $206.7 million deal — could be bought out and become a free agent, which would give him the freedom to sign with any team of his choosing. 

“The Pistons probably don’t view Westbrook, Beverley, or Nunn as important rotation players and could look to trade whichever Lakers they receive,” Pincus wrote. “If Westbrook is bought out, the buzz around the league has him signing with the Miami Heat.”

Heat Eyeing Rozier, Richardson for Potential Robinson Trade

It should be no surprise that the Heat are in the market for a new point guard, as their starting guard Kyle Lowry had struggled to start the season. On the year, he is shooting just 38.8% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc. Both percentages are down from last season.

Westbrook is not the only guard the Heat have kept their eye on as they look to beef up their roster. They are also keeping tabs on Josh Richardson and Terry Rozier in hopes of offloading sharpshooter Duncan Robinson’s contract for fair compensation.

“The problem is they do not want to just dump [Robinson] for not much in return. They could get a rebuilding team to take him on, like an Oklahoma City or San Antonio, and they’d hold onto him for a year, then trade him again over the summer like we’ve seen the Thunder do so many times,” one executive told Heavy NBA insider Sean Deveney in October.

“But the Heat would have to send Robinson and a pick out to do that, and they are not interested in that. Not yet at least. If they can get back a player who can help them, like Josh Richardson in San Antonio or Terry Rozier from the Hornets, they would have to be willing to put up that draft capital. They can make both of those deals pretty much straight up or include [Omer] Yurtseven if they need to.”

Heat Are Down, Not Out

During this recent stretch Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Dewayne Dedmon and Duncan Robinson have all missed games due to injuries. Injuries are a part of sports but there is no doubt that the outcomes of some of these games could have gone differently if Miami had all of its players available.

The season is still very young, so it is not time to stick a fork in the Heat yet. But with a record of 7-11 and sitting outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the time for Miami to turn things around is now, or else they could unravel quickly.

Thankfully for Miami, the situation they are in could be worse. They are just 6.5 games out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They will have a chance to get back on the right track in their next game against the Washington Wizards.