New reasons have emerged as to why the Miami Heat decided against trading for current Dallas Mavericks superstar Kyrie Irving.
Miami was rumored to be interested in adding Irving after the veteran point guard demanded a trade from his former team, the Brooklyn Nets, with NBA insider Marc Stein reporting on February 3 that the Heat were among his likely suitors.
The Mavericks ended up winning the Kyrie sweepstakes after they sent Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and three future draft picks to the Nets in exchange for Irving before the NBA trade deadline hit, and now, one Heat insider has added a new wrinkle that explains why Miami’s pursuit of Irving never took off.
Member of Miami Heat Hierarchy ‘Was Against’ Pursuing Irving
Irving, who turns 31 at the end of March, is averaging 26.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists this season (stats courtesy of ESPN). A 10-time All-Star, he had multiple teams interested in his services, including the Los Angeles Lakers, but ultimately, Dallas won out.
In his February 28 column, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported that while one member of Miami’s brass wanted to bring Irving to town, another member high up in the organization vetoed the idea. “Though the Heat had some interest in Irving,” Jackson wrote, “it wasn’t unanimous internally and the decision was made not to offer considerable assets.”
Apparently, Irving’s penchant for controversy was the primary reason the Heat stayed away. “At least one person inside the Heat’s hierarchy was against a pursuit because of Irving’s baggage and mercurial behavior,” Jackson added. “Another had more interest, but it never reached the point of an aggressive pursuit of Irving before Brooklyn dealt him to Dallas.”
The Mavs are 3-5 since adding Irving, losing five of their last six games. Instead of adding any players via splash trades, Miami decided to go to the buyout market route, a decision that is looking better by the day.
Heat Additions Kevin Love & Cody Zeller Have Been Solid Thus Far
Instead of adding a point guard, Miami decided to go big, adding forward Kevin Love and center Cody Zeller via the buyout market. Zeller in particular has been a pleasant surprise.
The 30-year-old backup center last played in January of 2022, as a knee injury sidelined him for over a year. Zeller has played three games with the Heat so far and has averaged 6.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 15.7 minutes of work. His defense has been arguably the most effective aspect of his game, as he has been the epitome of a pest and a hustler in the paint:
Love is also starting to warm up after going 0-4 from beyond the arc in his first game with the Heat on February 24. The veteran forward started just three games for the Cleveland Cavaliers all season, but he has assumed a starting role in Miami, at least early on. Over his last two games, Love has averaged 10.5 points, 2.0 assists and 9.0 rebounds in 23.5 minutes a game.
He is shooting 33.3% from downtown, which should improve as he gets more comfortable, and he also brought some elite passing skills to South Beach:
With Love and Zeller both fitting in nicely, it looks as though Miami did the right thing by not making any huge moves like trading for a player like Irving.