Irving has until June 29 to reach a decision on his player-option for next season, which will pay him $36.5 million. He’s coming off a tumultuous third year in Brooklyn and has played in just 123 of 226 regular-season games since arriving.
While he comes with some obvious baggage, Irving is still a certified star on the court. He’s averaged better than 27 points per game during his time with the Nets, adding 4.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
With Irving’s name being mentioned in trade rumors and his future up in the air, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons ran through some hypothetical trades involving the seven-time All-Star. One pitch had Irving landing in Miami to play alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
“How about Lowry and Duncan Robinson for Kyrie and Joe Harris,” Simmons said on “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “Kyrie in Heat culture? The sky is the limit.”
Heat Made it Work With Jimmy Butler as Leader
The addition of Irving would give the Heat quite the collection of personalities. However, Miami would be able to get off a pair of contracts that they’re probably not in love with. Robinson — who signed a five-year, $90 million contract in 2021 — was unplayable in the postseason, while Lowry has looked mostly like a shadow of the player he was in his prime since arriving via trade last offseason.
The Heat have a strong core, a veteran skipper in Erik Spoelstra and “Heat Culture,” which can be described as a blue-collar, team-first mentality that the franchise is built upon.
“I think Spo would say I’m in,” Simmons said with a giggle. “He’ll say, ‘We made it work for Jimmy. Let’s just get crazier.'”
Obviously, any deal involving Irving is contingent on what he does with his player option. While things could get more complicated when it comes to a long-term deal, the Nets have been fairly clear that at this point the ball is in Irving’s court.
“It’d be unfair for me to comment on how it looks with us and Kyrie, because to be quite frank he has some decisions to make on his own. So he has to look at what he’s going to do with his player option,” Nets GM Sean Marks said last month. “We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available.”
Pat Riley Says Heat Will Explore Adding Star
Heat president Pat Riley spoke to the media on Monday, June 6 and he was very clear that the team will explore all of its options to improve the roster. That includes adding another star, although he preached much about that comes down to fit.
“If there’s one out there, throw ’em to me,” Riley told reporters. “But you can always use more, but it’s got to be a good fit, but not at the cost of doing something that could be prohibitive. So we will look, we will explore, we always do this, it’s part of the business that we chose and whatever the result brings after that season, then you might say we need another this or another that, based on how the league is playing, based on how other teams are playing and matching up with certain teams and stuff like that. So that goes into the equation, we’ll talk about it.”
The Heat finished the regular season as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and were on the doorstep of the NBA Finals before falling to the Boston Celtics in seven games. It’s not like the roster needs an entire retooling to stay competitive, but a star like Irving who can consistently help carry some of the scoring load would be a key asset for Miami.