Miami Heat president Pat Riley put out a statement on Monday upon hearing the news of Elgin Baylor’s death. The two men were teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers and then crossed paths later in life as NBA front-office executives. Baylor was 86 years old.
Baylor was an 11-time NBA All-Star but never won a championship. Riley got to Los Angeles at the tail end of his historic career, teaming up with Baylor in 1970 and 1971. Obviously, the 6-foot-5 forward made a lasting impression on him.
Riley said: “Besides being one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Elgin Baylor was one of the classiest, most dignified men of integrity I have ever met. He will be missed.”
Baylor has another Miami Heat connection and it’s a dubious one since it involves a trade that never happened. He had orchestrated a deal sending Danny Manning to the Heat for Willie Burton and Glen Rice in 1993 while serving as general manager for the Los Angeles Clippers. Then, Clippers owner Donald Sterling pulled out of the deal at the final hour, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The gaffe turned fortuitous for the Heat as Riley later included Rice in the package to acquire Alonzo Mourning from the Charlotte Hornets in 1995.
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Andre Iguodala Back on Trading Block?
However, ESPN’s Zach Lowe cautioned to “not rule out” Miami dealing Iguodala at the deadline on March 25. The three-time champion’s $15 million salary could potentially free up money for a Kyle Lowry trade.
[Kendrick] Nunn and [Duncan] Robinson are starting now, and the Heat would need a bundle more salary to even approach Lowry’s $30.5 million figure. Kelly Olynyk’s $12.6 million deal would help, but he is starting too. Do not rule out Miami dealing Andre Iguodala — whose $15 million salary would unlock some bigger trades — if they find an impact move, sources said.
Iguodala is a respected leader in the Heat locker room, a guy who has been getting clutch minutes in the fourth quarter of games. He’s averaging 4.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists in 39 games this season. Remember, stats never tell the whole story when talking about the 37-year-old veteran.
Heat Rule Out Udonis Haslem, 2 Questionable
Heat big man Udonis Haslem has been ruled out for Tuesday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to health and safety protocols. The 40-year-old hasn’t played a single minute this season, with his last appearance coming on Aug. 14, 2020. He was also in the COVID-19 protocol back in January.
Meanwhile, Miami has listed guards Avery Bradley (calf) and Goran Dragic (back) as questionable for tomorrow. Dragic has been out since March 19 when he developed back spasms. Bradley hasn’t seen any action since Feb. 3 and rumors have been circulating about the team trading him. The Heat host the Suns on Tuesday at 8 p.m.