The Miami Heat lost a valuable big man in their rotation from last season with the departure of PJ Tucker. Tucker was a key player in the Heat’s starting lineup. Although he only averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, his impact was much more. After the forward left Miami to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat have had question marks over who would feel that role. Haywood Highsmith, a young big man on the Heat’s roster, has come out saying that he thinks he could be a good option to fill in for Tucker.
“I have some of the intangibles P.J. has,” Highsmith, 25, told the Sun-Sentinel. “I’m very versatile on defense, and I like to play defense like him. And we’re both kind of stronger types of guys, can set screens, short rolls, and can get in the paint and make plays. So I think it’s always been in me.
“I can be a power forward. P.J.’s kind of like bigger, but I’m kind of like longer, I would say. So I could see me being a kind of power forward. But I think Miami does a very good job of just making sure we have people that guys can look up to and see ourselves.”
However, it will likely take another player to fill the hole left in Miami’s starting lineup by Tucker. The team has been linked to players like John Collins or David Bertans in trades, but recently one Eastern Conference executive told Heavy’s Sean Deveney that the Heat could be a landing spot for a seven-time All-Star big man.
LaMarcus Aldridge to Miami?
In a recent conversation, Heavy’s NBA Insider Sean Deveney was told that the Miami Heat could be a landing spot for LaMarcus Aldridge in this year’s NBA free agency.
“Aldridge is 37 now, it would not be a surprise if he decided on retiring. But he still can score. He still has some value out there. He would be a nice fit in Boston, just as a guy who can knock down some shots and step in when Rob Williams or Horford needs a break,” the executive told Deveney. “Bucks and Heat, too. Every team in the East, at the top of the East. Miami needs that one piece, that one big guy to push them over the top. Aldridge could take some of PJ Tucker’s minutes, though he is obviously not on the same level as a defender. But he can shoot it. Miami needs depth there. He’s not going to be a starter, but he can help.”
Heat Courted LaMarcus Aldridge Previously
Obviously, the Heat are no stranger to Aldridge. He has been in multiple free agent meetings with the Heat and never landed in Miami. The season he chose to sign with the San Antonio Spurs, he met with Miami. Most recently, Aldridge chose the Brooklyn Nets over the Heat as a free agent in 2021, citing the Nets being bigger contenders as the reason. Now it is obvious that Miami is one of the biggest contenders in the NBA, and maybe this will be the time Aldridge finds himself in South Beach.