The Miami Heat might not want to tweak anything considering their blistering six-game winning streak. They scored another victory on Sunday to get back to .500 at 17-17 — and that was without Jimmy Butler on the floor.
Still, it makes sense for the team to bolster their lineup for the stretch run. Their biggest need is at stretch forward where Kelly Olynyk has been holding it down, with strong spurts from Andre Iguodala off the bench. There is a name on the trading block to keep an eye on: Thaddeus Young.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the fading Chicago Bulls could be sellers at the trade deadline on March 25. Young is one of their biggest bargaining chips, assuming they could get back an expiring contract of equal value in a trade. The Bulls might be looking for a first-round pick but the Heat would have to get them to settle for a future draft pick mixed with a young player (Precious Achiuwa comes to mind). Joe Cowley wrote the following:
The Chicago Sun-Times reported this month that several teams were intrigued with the idea of Young bolstering their bench, as well as providing a versatile frontcourt option to close games. He would be an instant boost for teams going for that late-season push, such as the Heat or Knicks.
That could be a lot to give up for a 32-year-old forward in the final year of a $14.1 million deal. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be a valuable piece for a contender. Young is averaging 11.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists per game for the Bulls. Plus, you can’t put a price tag on the intangibles of a well-oiled veteran.
“When these guys see a guy who’s going into his 13th season going just as hard, taking charges, and diving on the floor for loose balls and stuff like that, it makes them want to go out there and do the same thing,” Young said upon signing with the Bulls in 2019, via NBC Sports Chicago. “So just bring a lot of intangibles to the game but also respecting the game and making sure that my teammates are being led the right way and make sure I’m helping them grow their games the right way.”
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Achiuwa Sees Increased Burn, Multiple Efforts
Achiuwa, the 20th overall pick in 2020, has been in Erik Spoelstra’s doghouse for the better part of the year. Despite all the injuries in Miami, the rookie big man can’t get on the court and it may have more to do with his effort than talent.
The 6-foot-8 Nigerian finally made his presence known in Sunday night’s 109-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks. He finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes while providing “multiple efforts” on both ends of the floor. It was a good sign.
“That’s what we want. We don’t want him to pace. We want everybody to make the most of their minutes,” Spoelstra said after the game. “And you have to really make an impact and with him, these are short bursts of three or four minutes, so you really shouldn’t pace, you should be making multiple efforts like crazy as you’re trying to learn the league and our system.”
Achiuwa denied he had any extra motivation after being a last-minute scratch on Friday night. He brings the same intensity to every single game.
“I’m always motivated. I don’t need a certain situation to motivate me,” Achiuwa said. “I’m a very motivated person, just given the things that I’ve been through, where I’m from, my background. I see no reason for me not to be motivated at all times.”
Tyler Herro Returns to Action
Meanwhile, Heat guard Tyler Herro made his triumphant return to the rotation after missing three games with a hip contusion. He scored 14 points in 29 minutes while showing some expected signs of rust.
“You could tell his timing was off and that’s what’s crazy about this game,” Spoelstra said. “He’s been working like crazy behind the scenes, but there’s nothing like getting out in a real game, to have that kind of feel, but once it got to the final six minutes, it all clicked back for him.”