Heat Urged to Make Move for Star Wing Eyeing $70M-Plus Payday

Kyle Kuzma stands next to Demar Derozen. Kuzma has been linked to the Miami Heat.

Getty Kyle Kuzma stands next to Demar Derozen. Kuzma has been linked to the Miami Heat.

The last month and a half has been very kind to the Miami Heat. After a slow start to the season, the Heat have managed to bounce back a bit, winning 14 of their last 21 games. Despite the recent upswing, the best way for Miami to vault back into championship contention may be via trade.

As the February 9 NBA Trade Deadline approaches, more and more names continue to be connected to the Heat. The most recent of which was Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards.

In a January 23 article for Bleacher Report, Dan Favale suggested that Pat Riley and the Heat front office consider a number of players. Amongst those listed was Kuzma.

“Miami should unequivocally be in on talks for guys like Bojan Bogdanović, Kyle Kuzma, Christian Wood, John Collins, et al. Someone like Jae Crowder, meanwhile, should represent the Heat’s window-shopping floor,” Favale wrote.

He cited Miami’s 27th ranked 3-point shooting as a key area to improve.

Kuzma isn’t the most reliable shooter from deep, but he’s having the best season of his career as a whole. He’s appeared in 45 of the Washington’s 46 games, playing 35.2 minutes each time. The 27-year-old is averaging a career-high in points at 21.8, and is also grabbing 7.6 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists per game. He’s having his most efficient year from the floor shooting 45.7%, and is shooting 34.2% from deep.

The Wizards may wind up having to move Kuzma this season despite the strong numbers he’s putting up. He has a $13 million player-option next season, which he has publicly said he’s going to decline.

Kuzma told The Athletic’s Josh Robbins back in December that he does not plan on signing an extension with the Wizards because it would cap him at a four-year $70 million deal.

“This is a sport, this is entertainment, but business always trumps all in life,” the Wizards wing told Robbins.

On January 16, NBA Insider Marc Stein reported that Kuzma may look for the payday with another team.

“Belief persists in various corners of the NBA map that Kuzma would prefer to relocate in the offseason but perhaps that is wishful thinking from teams that covet him,” Stein explained.

Heat Unsuccessful in Efforts to Trade Duncan Robinson

Stein has also reported that Miami has been working to deal Duncan Robinson “without success.”

It’s not surprising that teams aren’t looking to add the $90 million wing. His declining numbers don’t nearly justify his large paycheck.

Miami inked Robinson to the five-year deal before last season. He’d been extremely reliable from distance up until that point, and looked to be a promising rotation player.

Since signing the big contract, the 28-year-old’s production has plummeted. Plus, this year has been particularly bad for the Maine native. In 28 appearances for the Heat, Robinson has averaged 6.9 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.2 assists, while shooting just 36.8% from the field, and 33.1% from deep.

Heat Trying to Upgrade Shooting Ahead of Deadline: Source

According to an anonymous Eastern Conference executive via Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney, the front office is working to improve the team’s shooting.

“The Heat are looking to get bigger obviously but they’re looking to get better all over the roster,” one league source told Deveney. “They’re trying every angle. Their shooting has been a major disappointment, they need guys who can make shots there.”

One possible candidate discussed in Deveney’s January 21 article was Malik Beasley of the Utah Jazz.

“It is a thin market,” one Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports this week. “You are going to have to overpay because there are not a ton of guys you can go out and get. A guy like (Beasley), if you need shooting and you have a pick you can put in a trade, he is a guy you can get. The market for him could get overheated because he’s a wing. He is not a great defender but he is not a guy you need to take off the floor because of defense in the playoffs. If he gets hot, he can win you some games. A lot of playoff teams are trying to figure out what it is going to take to get him.”

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