Less than two weeks ago, a flurry of conflicting reports concerning James Harden‘s possible trade to the Heat filled the news. While multiple outlets revealed that Miami was “pushing hard” to acquire the former MVP from the Houston Rockets, multiple outlets reported that the Heat was no longer pursuing the trade.
On December 31, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said, “The Heat leaked that they’re out of the Harden sweepstakes probably because they’re trying to cool down the race for Harden. They don’t want Boston and Philly thinking they’re bidding against them.”
Oddly enough, Windhorst was also one of the first journalists to report the Heat were no longer pursuing Harden and noting that discussions between Miami and Houston were never serious.
On December 21 he wrote, “After having cursory talks about a James Harden trade, the Miami Heat have moved on and will not pursue the Houston Rockets’ star, sources told ESPN.” While Windhorst noted that Heat can offer up an array of young talents such as Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn, draft pick options are weak.
“The Rockets have also been looking for significant draft assets in Harden deals and the Heat currently can offer only their 2027 first-round pick in a trade. For those reasons, discussions never got very far on the Rockets’ side,” sources told Windhorst.
Robinson Is a ‘Major Sticking Point’ In Proposed Deals to Obtain Harden
Robinson, a key guard for the Heat is on the trade block as the team works to make a deal to acquire the Houston Rockets star, as reported by report by 5 Reasons Sports on December 17.
“We can report at Five Reasons Sports — from multiple league sources — that the inclusion of Duncan Robinson is a major sticking point in the [Heat’s] pursuit of Rockets guard James Harden,” Ethan J. Skolnick tweeted.
The Heat is contending with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets to acquire Harden, while other rumors have Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors possibly making for the eight-time MVP.
The Rockets already swapped point guards during their blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards. Houston received John Wall, who finally appears to be healthy, and sent All-Star Russell Westbrook to Washington.
With Wall on the roster, and Robinson being labeled by Miami as “a major sticking point,” whether it’s for him to be included in the trade or not — could serve as a major roadblock to nabbing Harden.
Herro’s Name Is Also Circulating Amid Harden Trade Rumors
In addition to Robinson, Herro, one of the league’s top rookies last season, is also rumored to possibly be on the chopping block if a trade for Harden becomes a reality.
While Harden is unquestionably one of the best players in the entire NBA, Heat fans love Herro, who’s now a firm starter for the Heat, and want him to stay. While Locked on Heat Podcast‘s Wes Goldberg called, Herro would be “untouchable” if the trade comes to fruition, ESPN’s Zach Lowe thinks that’s a ridiculous claim to make when it’s Harden on the block.
“No, just no,” Lowe said of Herro not being up for trade. “If this ever becomes a thing, the Heat are having a hands on deck meeting to discuss it. Players like James Harden do not ever become available.”
The Heat’s 47-Point Loss to Milwaukee Changed a Lot of Thoughts on Obtaining Harden
While fans’ initially reacted with anger to hearing Herro and Robinson were on the trading block, following the team’s embarrassing loss to Milwaukee, where the Bucks took down Miami in a 144-97 blowout, the mood seemed to shift. What would that game have looked like with Harden on the court?
Harden, who appeared to be completely out of shape at the start of the pre-season, and has made it clear that he’s not happy playing in Houston, has been off-the-charts incredibly thus far in the 2020-2021 season. He’s averaging 39 points, five rebounds and 12.5 assists while drilling 11 three-pointers and shooting 57.9% from the field.