While the Miami Heat have been linked to nearly every free agent option over the past few months, the latest report from The Ringer is fresh, exciting, and would make a whole lot of sense.
On March 8, Kevin O’Connor reported that the Heat have shown “significant interest” in Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic. Naturally, Miami is not alone in looking to obtain the 7-foot center, the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, and Charlotte Hornets are also looking to obtain the big man.
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To say the Heat are in the market for a solid fourth would be an understatement. Miami never intended to enter the 2020-2021 NBA season with their current roster and have struggled without having found a sufficient replacement for Jae Crowder, who was traded to the Phoenix Suns following their historic NBA Finals run last season.
Not only could Vucevic be the perfect baller to play opposite Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo, but the 30-year-old is also in the midst of having one the best campaigns of his NBA career. He’s shooting 41.2% from beyond the line while averaging 24.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.
Vucevic still has two more years on his contract with Orlando, and unless a significant offer arises, the Magic would likely prefer to hold on to the Montenegrin star. The former first-round pick out of USC was initially drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011.
The Heat Desperately Need a Big Man
While Kelly Olynyk has delivered some clutch performances this season, he is not consistent enough to be a solid fourth. South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman spoke of the Heat’s desperate situation at power forward and center while appearing on the Onside Zone with Big O on March 3.
Following the Heat’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks on March 2, which ended Miami’s six-game win streak, “Kelly Olynyk gets his fourth foul, and Erik Spoelstra has no choice but to go even smaller,” Winderman said. “From 6-11 to 6-6 with Andre Iguodala. ”
“Here’s the problem… look at the heat power rotation and who isn’t playing. Moe Harkless was brought in to be Jae Crowder. He doesn’t play. Udonis Haslem is brought in to be a leader he hasn’t played a single minute the entire first half of the season! Meyers Leonard is out injured.”
“Chris Silva – Erik Spoelstra says I wouldn’t think twice about putting him in there, but he never puts him in there,” Winderman continued. “And He’s tried KZ Okpala and he’s giving him chances and that simply hasn’t worked…. that’s five options at power forward on a 15-man standard NBA roster that are unusable.”
Heat Have Been Linked to At Least Other 11 Free Agents
Name an available forward becoming available, and there’s likely a report linking them to the Heat. The franchise is trying to avoid the embarrassment of coming off an NBA Finals run only to miss out on the playoffs entirely the following season.
The Heat have their eyes on more than a few players around the league. Big names tossed around thus far include:
- Houston Rockets’ DeMarcus Cousins, P.J. Tucker, and Victor Oladipo
- Sacramento Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica
- San Antonio Spurs’ Rudy Gay
- Cleveland Cavaliers’ Andre Drummond
- Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry
- New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball
- Atlanta Hawks’ John Collins
- Chicago Bulls’ Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter Jr.