Heat Open to Trading ‘Young Players’ for Rockets MVP: Report

James Harden trade

Getty James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets reacts after scoring against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on January 24, 2018.

Another day, another trade rumor involving James Harden. The Miami Heat have been mentioned as one of a handful of teams to make a “courtesy call” about the one-time NBA MVP. No deal has been made or offered but the talks might be picking up steam.

According to the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson, the Heat are prepared to part with a first-round pick in 2025 along with some “young players” in a potential deal for Harden. The usual names being bandied about include Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. But a new report also names Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala as trade pieces from a salary cap standpoint. This update comes on the heels of the Heat saying they had pulled out of the Harden sweepstakes.

Jackson wrote: According to an NBA source in regular contact with the team, the Heat was open to offering a couple of its young players — potentially combined with a 2025 first-rounder if OKC unlocks the 2023 pick. Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk would be needed to facilitate the trade from a cap standpoint, because of trade restrictions involving five other Heat veterans.


Not Willing to Trade Robinson or Herro

The two biggest names being mentioned in trade talks between the Rockets and Heat have been Robinson and Herro. The sharpshooters are young and under team control through the 2021-22 season. They could move on from either player with minimal financial ramifications as well as avoid extending them to big contracts. However, Harden is due roughly $43 million per year over the next two seasons.

But the “major sticking point” in any trade has been the Heat’s unwillingness to deal Robinson or Herro. The organization, according to reports, sees both guys as key pieces to their long-term plans. Their ability to knock down three-pointers makes the Heat offense tick as defenses have to pay extra attention to Jimmy Butler driving to the hoop while collapsing around Bam Adebayo.

Herro has struggled from deep to start the year (31.3%) but everyone knows he is a lethal outside shooter. Ditto for Robinson who is shooting 46.2% from three-point land for his career.

“Our guys are extremely ignitable. It can happen just like that,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier this year, via Ira Winderman. “Our guys are like a powder-keg, our shooters. They can explode at any time.”


Heat Reached Out to Rockets About Harden

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Heat did reach out to the Rockets and inquired about Harden. Miami was listed as one of five teams with the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics seem like the longest shot on the board to land Harden because the Rockets would probably ask for Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum in return.

Meanwhile, the Heat would have to get creative in any potential package for the eight-time All-Star guard. He is averaging 33.0 points per game through four games this season after missing one game due to an ankle injury. It’s not considered serious and Harden posted some positive vibes in a recent Instagram post: “We really getting better and better! Forever humble!”


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