The Miami Heat have been linked to every single stretch forward with a pulse at this point. Will they make a blockbuster deal prior to March 25 or turn into sellers at the trade deadline? No one knows for sure.
The decision will likely come down to the compensation needed to pry a veteran player away. The two biggest names to garner Heat interest in recent days have been P.J. Tucker and DeMarcus Cousins . The Houston Rockets are looking to move both players to a contending team either as a package deal or in separate trades.
The idea of Cousins landing in Miami has been called “immediately intriguing” since the 6-foot-11 big man could form a formidable pair with Bam Adebayo in the paint. But Tucker is the true stretch forward the Heat has been looking for. He could slide right into the starting lineup over Kelly Olynyk. Problem is, Tucker turns 36 years old in May and the asking price could be high.
The Rockets don’t want future picks in return for Tucker which is a good thing since the Heat lacks draft capital. No, they want at least one starting-caliber player to plug into their rotation. One name being mentioned is Precious Achiuwa, the 20th overall pick from the 2020 draft — although that’s a steep price tag for a rental player like Tucker. Achiuwa is averaging 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in just 14.4 minutes per game. Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra has been reluctant to throw the rookie into the fire, drawing suspicion that Achiuwa isn’t a part of their long-term plans.
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Kelly Olynyk Heating Up From Deep
There has been a lot of talk about Olynyk being the weak link in the Heat starting five. It’s a bit unfair to discredit the 29-year-old forward’s recent contributions, though. Olynyk is averaging 10.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while 33% from deep. He’s knocked down 58 three-pointers on the year — on pace to shatter his career-high 113 in 2018 — and ranks second on the team behind only Duncan Robinson. Spoelstra likes what he brings to the table.
Olynyk has started 24 games this year and gets 26.1 minutes per night. Spoelstra likes what he brings to the table from an offensive standpoint.
“He does a lot for us on that side of the floor,” Spoelstra said, via Sports Illustrated. “He spaces the floor, but he can also put points on the board. It is not just about spacing the floor. He allows us to play with a bigger front line with himself and Bam.”
Nemanja Bjelica Comments on Trade Rumors
One other name heavily linked to the Heat in a trade is Sacramento Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica. The 32-year-old Serbian is averaging 8.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in a reduced role as the team rebuilds around De’Aaron Fox.
But, with Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes injured, Bjelica was forced to start last week versus Miami. He dropped 25 points and pulled down eight boards. Was it a showcase game for his next team? Possibly, although Bjelica isn’t focused on all the trade rumors right now.
“I don’t need to prove anything to anybody,” Bjelica said, via the Sacramento Bee. “Like I said, I really don’t know anything about rumors about trades. That’s normal part of our life. This is my sixth year in the league, so everybody knows me as a player.”