NBA Exec Links Miami Heat to ‘Ideal’ 24-Year-Old Shot-Blocking Free Agent

Mo Bamba, right, of the Orlando Magic

Getty Mo Bamba, right, of the Orlando Magic

In the relatively short history of the NBA two franchises, Florida’s two teams—the Heat and the Magic—don’t have much history of working with each other on trades. Though the two teams have rarely been good at the same time, they are in-state rivals and it does not serve each well to help the other by making a deal. The last trade between the teams was in 2015, when the Heat dumped Shabazz Napier on the Magic for a second-round pick.

But there could be a bit of business done between the two this summer, with the Magic looking to push forward on their rebuild and the Heat looking to get over the top after being KO’d by Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Among the long list of potential players the Heat could bring in by trading away sharpshooter Duncan Robinson is Magic center Mo Bamba, the 24-year-old No. 6 pick in the 2018 draft who finally had a breakout season as he headed into this summer, in which he is a restricted free agent. He is a potentially sound fit next to—or, ultimately, behind—star Heat big man Bam Adebayo, and figures to be signed-and-traded in the coming days.


Miami Heat Looking to Deal Duncan Robinson?

The Heat are looking for depth up front and in the backcourt this summer, and amid rumors that they could go after some of the biggest names on the market—Washington star Bradley Beal, for example—the more likely play is to send away Robinson for a solid role player who can help push the team over the top.

That’s where Bamba comes in. This season, he averaged 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds, making 38.1% of his 3-pointers and blocking 1.7 shots along the way.

“They would like to have some younger guys to bring along, guys who are on the (Tyler) Herro-Bam kind of timeline rather than Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, the guys in their 30s,” one Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy.com. “And this is a kid that the Magic need to move off of, where you can get him right on the upswing. He did not know how he fit into the NBA before this season, but he figured it out this year. It is a good time to get into him, he would be ideal for them.”


Heat Would Have to Up the Offer

The question for the Magic is what else they would need, in addition to Robinson, to make a deal palatable. Robinson might be a good acquisition for an Orlando team badly in need of shooting (they were 28th in 3-point percentage, at 33.1%), if the Magic are convinced his poor performance in 2021-22 was a one-off.

After shooting 42.3% from the arc in his first two seasons, Robinson “slumped” to 37.2% last year, and made only 39.9% of his shots overall. Robinson is entering the second of a five-year, $90 million deal he signed last summer with the Heat. It is a hefty financial commitment to a guy Miami mostly benched during the playoffs (he played 12.2 minutes in just 13 games).

The Magic, then, would need more—perhaps the Heat’s No. 27 pick in this year’s draft, or a young player like Gabe Vincent or Omer Yurtseven, to round out the package. It’s a lot to give up, but assuming no additional stars are heading to Miami, Bamba’s shooting and rim protection could make him the ideal addition for the Heat this summer.

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