Miami Heat Linked to Land Former NBA MVP in Offseason

Pat Riley

Getty President Pat Riley of the Miami Heat addresses the media.

The Miami Heat are currently in the middle of their Eastern Conference Playoff matchup against the Boston Celtics, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look ahead to next season’s roster. Especially after a game two blowout loss at home had fans upset at the lack of stars surrounding their All-Star Jimmy Butler. While the season is not over, it is fair to look ahead to next season for possible additions that the Heat can make. 

Recent reports have had Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell having the Heat among teams that he would be interested in joining should he be dealt from Utah. Other roster moves have involved trade proposals involving Malcom Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers. And even a proposed deal for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ swingman Malik Beasley

One recent move receiving some chatter for the Heat is one that has been rumored before. However, while many Heat fans welcomed the idea of trading for James Harden a season ago and even this season, that may all have changed after his tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers. 

James Harden to the Miami Heat

Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report included Harden linked to the Heat in his recent ‘Dark-Horse Destinations for Top 2022 NBA Free Agents. Harden, who has a player option, could opt out of his remaining deal in Philadelphia. The former MVP is certainly coming off of a disappointing season and, due to recent struggles, may have even the Sixers questioning if they want to extend his expiring contract. Especially when you look at the money, they would have to pay. So if Harden were to opt-out, why would the Heat want to commit that money to Harden? 

Well, the Heat do pride themselves on Heat culture and have a proven track record in player development and especially when it comes to conditioning. In the last five seasons, the Heat drastically turned around the career of Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, and others. That does make it a move you can talk yourself into. Could the conditioning the Heat practice help Harden return to MVP level performances? 

Is it worth it? 

Would Harden be worth the money and moves that Miami may have to do to create cap space? It is hard to see the last two seasons and think he is capable of returning to his former glory. He did want out of both of those places in the last two seasons, if he felt at home in Miami could that help elevate the star? That is the other unspoken thing, do the Heat want one of their stars in that close proximity to the Miami nightlife scene? 

While the Heat would benefit from adding another star to take some of the load off of Jimmy Butler, Harden likely is not the guy for the job. Recent signs suggest a downhill slope and also the locker room problems he has been during that slide. While many hope that Bam Adebayo or Tyler Herro could blossom into that second-star slot, both of those look to be too inconsistent. Perhaps they will be able to land the long-awaited whale to join Butler and bring the Heat back to championship glory. 

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