After a flurry of free agency moves this summer, the Miami Heat has locked in an all-new, dynamic starting lineup going into the 2021-22 NBA season, but as it goes with any team, there’s always room for improvement.
Bleacher Report‘s Grant Hughes proposed a blockbuster trade idea that would have the Heat dealing with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers in order to obtain guard seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving.
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Hughes believes all three teams “win” in this trade, in which the Heat would receive Irving from the Nets and a 2023 second-round pick via Philadelphia. However, the price would be steep.
In exchange, the 76ers receive Heat’s newly acquired All-Star Kyle Lowry, the Nets’ 2021 first-round pick Cam Thomas, and a 2027 first-round pick via Miami. As for the Nets, they’d receive Ben Simmons from the Sixers and Victor Oladipo from the Heat.
While this would be a jaw-dropping trade deal, it’s hard to imagine the Heat giving up Lowry, 35, who they signed to a three-year $85 million contract in August.
Lowry, who’s originally from Philadelphia, already chose the Heat over the Sixers during free agency, and a big part of that decision was the prospect of playing alongside his best friend, five-time All-Star Jimmy Butler. It’s highly unlikely that head coach Erik Spoelstra or Heat president Pat Riley would do anything to separate that duo.
Hughes Says Irving Is Too Much of an Upgrade from Lowry to Ignore This Trade
Vaccine drama aside, Hughes wrote that Irving would be a “massive, opportunistic swing for a superior talent” that feels on-brand for the ambitious franchise.” Last season, Irving averaged 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game.
Hughes explained. “Irving wouldn’t be subject to the same local mandates in Florida, and he could provide a downhill, shot-creating element the Heat—a defense-first outfit as presently constructed—need… Talent is king in the league, and Miami upgrades significantly by turning the declining Lowry (35) into Irving, who’s coming off a wildly efficient 50-40-90 All-Star season.”
While no one is doubting Irving’s talent, his questionable commitment doesn’t appear to not align with Heat culture. And as Heat guard Tyler Herro revealed last week, Miami’s entire roster is vaccinated.
ESPN Analyst Doesn’t See Either Simmons Or Irving Getting Traded
While Simmons, 25, finally appeared at Sixers’ practice on Sunday, he refused to attend Sixers’ training camp or appear in any preseason games until Philadelphia agreed to trade him.
As for Irving, 29, he’s put his NBA career in flux after refusing to take the vaccine against coronavirus. The former first all-around pick made it clear he’s not ready to retire, but the Nets are sidelining him until he can be a full-time participant for the team. While Irving could play away matchups in certain markets, the Nets need him to be involved in all games and team practices.
ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast that he doesn’t see either player getting traded, especially in a deal between the Sixers and Nets. “I know everyone sees there’s this easy trade. Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, that’s this easy trade. I know this – that phone call’s never been made.”
“Philadelphia’s talked to everybody,” Woj continued. “Simmons, like, it’s not been from a lack of creativity in terms of trying to identify guys around the league they would do for Simmons. They have not made that call to Brooklyn and I don’t know that they ever will.”
Irving’s prospects are even dicier. “You don’t know what you would be trading for,” Woj said. “You don’t know whether he wants to play. Does he want to play for you? Does he want to play at all?”