New Trade Pitch Has Heat Reuniting With Ex-Starter, Landing New Superstar

Jimmy Butler

Getty Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra speaks with Jimmy Butler during a game.

If the Damian Lillard trade doesn’t happen for the Miami Heat, would another superstar like Joel Embiid interest Miami?

That’s highly unlikely, but Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report put together a trade proposal that would send the Philadelphia 76ers star to South Beach in exchange for Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo and more. Buckley’s trade pitch would also send forward P.J. Tucker back to Miami.

After loads of drama and a trade request came from his teammate James Harden, rumors began to circulate that Embiid may want out, too. The 76ers’ scoring champ removed the city of Philadelphia from his Twitter (which has been rebranded to X) profile, which led some to wonder if the reigning MVP may want to be traded.

The Heat have made it clear they don’t want to part with Adebayo, but Buckley thinks his proposal is a win-win for both sides. Let’s break it down.

Buckley: Heat Could Make Exceptions for Bam Adebayo

Here’s the complete trade proposed by Buckley:

  • Miami Heat would receive: Joel Embiid, P.J. Tucker and Furkan Korkmaz
  • Philadelphia 76ers would receive: Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Nikola Jović, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 first-round pick and 2028 first-round pick swap

To his credit, Buckley knows how much the Heat value Adebayo, noting Bam would be “off the table in trade talks for all but a handful of players in this league.” Could Embiid be one of those players? Buckley thinks so. “Embiid, who has a close relationship with Heat superstar Jimmy Butler, could be in that handful,” Buckley wrote, adding: “If he is, then this easily becomes Philly’s best chance to bring back a centerpiece in an Embiid swap.”

Zach Lowe of ESPN reported on July 12 that the Heat have “chuckled” at trade offers for Adebayo in the past, but Buckley thinks adding Embiid and Tucker would give the Heat what it needs to win a title now, before star Jimmy Butler’s window closes.

“If the Heat sign off on this, they do it because they see Embiid as the missing piece of their championship puzzle. They also use P.J. Tucker to fill the P.J. Tucker-sized hole they’ve had at power forward since he bounced out of South Beach,” Buckley wrote, adding:

“The Sixers would have to seriously consider this. If they weren’t married to Herro long-term, they could always try to spin him off to a third team in this deal or later on. Even if they keep him, they could have north of $40 million of cap space next summer. As much as it might sting to see Embiid and Butler reunited in Miami, this deal could drastically improve the Sixers’ long-term outlook.”

Erik Spoelstra: ‘We Feel Great About This Group’

Embiid, who has been an All-Star each of the last six seasons, has led the NBA in scoring the past two years, averaging over 30 points each year. There’s no doubt he would be a dynamic addition for the Heat, and a reunion with Tucker could be a good thing, as well.

Tucker, 38, spent the 2021-22 season with Miami, starting 70 games and averaging 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 27.9 minutes of action. It’s not that Miami wouldn’t benefit from the services of both Embiid and Tucker, but the team more likely hopes to either hold out for Lillard or stay pat with the players already on the roster —  a roster that made it all the way to the NBA finals this year.

“We’re bringing back the majority of our players and that’s a luxury in this league,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told Brian Windhorst on NBA Today on August 18. “It seems like it’s moving faster now than even four, five, six years ago. We feel great about our group.”

We’ll see what happens, but for now, it looks as though it’s still a waiting game for Miami.

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