The NBA trade deadline is less than three months away so naturally the rumors are flying faster than foreign sports cars racing down Ocean Drive. The Miami Heat could be potential buyers, especially if Jimmy Butler’s nagging ankle injury continues to worsen as the season goes on.
Miami came into the 2020 reboot with high expectations after falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games last year during the NBA Finals. Team president Pat Riley isn’t one who likes to rest on his laurels and adding talent — remember his brilliant maneuvering for Andre Iguodala? — is always on the agenda.
The name to keep an eye on is James Harden. The disgruntled Houston Rockets star has been previously linked to Miami, with Duncan Robinson being the “sticking point” in any potential deal. Talks have cooled but that could be part of Riley’s “trick plan.”
Another, perhaps more plausible, trade scenario involves the Detroit Pistons. They are likely to be sellers at the deadline and own two valuable veteran commodities: forward Blake Griffin and guard Derrick Rose. Griffin, a six-time All-Star, could be a key reserve behind Bam Adebayo while Rose could spell starting point guard Goran Dragic.
NBA Analysis Network laid out the groundwork for a trade where the Heat acquire Griffin and Rose in exchange for Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, KZ Okpala, plus a first-round pick in 2022. The biggest obstacle would be Griffin’s $36.6 million contract but getting Olynyk off the books could help offset that.
Rose Heading to Playoff-Bound Team
Concerns over Griffin’s contract may prove too much for a serious contender to pull the trigger. That’s not the case for Rose who inked a sweetheart two-year, $15 million with the Pistons in 2019. He’s set to make $7.6 million in salary this year. Pennies on the dollar.
Bleacher Report called Rose a “near lock to be traded” after Detroit handed the starting point guard job to rookie Killian Hayes. The Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, and Portland Trail Blazers are listed as top destinations for the 2010-11 NBA MVP. Rose could thrive in the sixth-man role, a dangerous three-time All-Star stashed on the bench. The 32-year-old is averaging 14.3 points and 5.7 assists in 28.7 minutes per game this season.
“We’re excited to get them healthy and help them move forward,” Weaver said. “We feel like we have a good mixture of young guys with those two staples to be able to start there, but obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do with the draft and free agency.”
Heat Set for Eighth New Year’s Day Game
When the Heat square off against the Dallas Mavericks tonight it will mark the eighth time Miami has played on New Year’s Day. The franchise has gone 6-1 in their previous seven outings, per the team’s official website, and their .857 winning percentage on Jan. 1 is the best of any team with multiple appearances in NBA history.
Miami is 36-31 all-time versus Dallas, including 17-16 against the Mavericks on the road. Jimmy Butler (ankle) is listed probable to play, along with Kelly Olynyk (knee) and Gabe Vincent (knee). Tip-off is slated for 7:10 p.m. in Dallas and can be seen on FOX Sports Sun.