The Miami Heat made the splash everyone thought they would at the trade deadline. President Pat Riley completely reshaped his starting lineup by acquiring Victor Oladipo and Nemanja Bjelica — and he’s not done yet.
The Heat are considered the “frontrunners” to acquire seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The San Antonio Spurs are working toward a buyout agreement with the 6-foot-11 power forward and center who averages 19.4 points per game for his career. Aldridge is expected to become an unrestricted free agent in the coming days and he’ll have his fair share of suitors.
This isn’t the first time Aldridge has been linked to Miami. The Spurs shut him down on March 10 after head coach Gregg Popovich announced the two sides had mutually agreed to part ways. The 35-year-old big man is solely focused on winning a championship, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. The Heat will likely be competing against the Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Lakers for his services.
Aldridge was originally selected by the Chicago Bulls with the second overall pick in 2006, then immediately traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. He has spent the last six seasons in San Antonio and holds career averages of 19.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
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Andre Drummond, Another Buyout Candidate
Andre Drummond is another name to keep an eye on. The Cleveland Cavaliers were unable to unload the 6-foot-10 center at the trade deadline and intend to work toward a buyout agreement. The two-time All-Star was shut down on Feb. 16 as the Cavaliers decided to move Jarrett Allen into the starting five.
Drummond is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game this season while posting career marks of 14.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. He was originally selected by the Detroit Pistons with the ninth overall pick in 2012. He has finished as the NBA’s rebounding champion on four different occasions.
The Heat are considered longer shots to acquire Drummond as multiple reports have him headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. That could be a blessing in disguise, leaving less competition for the Heat in the Aldridge sweepstakes. Stay tuned.
Kyle Lowry Stays on Toronto Raptors
The Heat were rumored to be “close” to landing Kyle Lowry at the deadline, but they once again refused to trade away Tyler Herro. The team was willing to give up Kelly Olynyk and Duncan Robinson, along with future draft picks, but the Toronto Raptors turned them down.
According to Adam Borai, the Heat were also reluctant to part ways with veteran forward Andre Iguodala in a package for Lowry. Instead, the six-time All-Star guard stays in Canada where he won a championship in 2019.
The 35-year-old is seeking a contract extension to the tune of two years at $50 million. He’ll enter free agency after the season, per ESPN, and test the waters.
Ultimately, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri didn’t find a package that compelled him to trade the franchise icon — and Lowry had always been fine with completing the season with Toronto, sources told ESPN.
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