NBA Trade Rumors: Miami Heat Already Making Big Decision on Deadline?

Pat Riley, Miami Heat

Getty Pat Riley, Miami Heat

Since losing narrowly to the Celtics in last year’s Eastern Conference finals, the Miami Heat have been vowing to upgrade the roster and find ways to not only get back to the league’s final four, but break into the NBA Finals.

That, though, is looking more and more difficult.

“They’re trying but they could be giving up,” one league source told Heavy Sports. “That’s the feeling you get. All the guys they wanted, it has mostly gone wrong so far.”

The Heat have been unable to find any team—they were rejected by Brooklyn, Dallas and Minnesota—willing to take on point guard Kyle Lowry, who is owed $30 million for next season. At age 36, Lowry has been unable to stay healthy and even when he has been healthy, he has not played particularly well. The Heat would love to find a late taker as the deadline approaches.

It has been the same story for shooter Duncan Robinson, whose contract ($57 million over three seasons after this one, with the final year not fully guaranteed) would make him a good fit to bring in a star-quality player, but who has seen his trade value tank along with his health (he had surgery on his finger in January) and playing time.

To move either Robinson or Lowry, the Heat would need to package at least one future-first rounder, and a deal would cost them a good young player, too—rookie Nikola Jovic has gotten interest from the rebuilding set, and free-agent-to-be Max Strus has also been discussed.

The Heat’s top trade chip, Caleb Martin, is on a team-friendly contract and even as the Heat consider reunion trades with Jae Crowder or Kelly Olynyk, there are some who don’t think giving up Martin would be worth either one of those players. Martin is 6-foot-5 and not a natural power forward, the position the Heat are desperate to fill, but he is 27 and moving him for an older guy (Crowder is 32, Olynyk is 31) could be a regrettable mistake.

“They thought they were going to have more assets at this point, that Robinson might be playing better, that Oladipo would be better, that Omer (Yurtseven, who is injured) would be better, that Strus would be better, that Lowry would have value,” one NBA executive told Heavy Sports. “That is why they were confident they would make a move. But they missed on pretty much all of those bets, and it is going to be hard to pull something off.”

The feeling remains that dealing away Martin in a package for Crowder is still on the table, and is a move the Suns would be willing to make. But Phoenix has been looking elsewhere for Crowder packages, including Brooklyn and Phoenix, according to sources.

Cleveland’s Isaac Okoro Problem

The Cavaliers have targeted wing depth throughout trade season, and are in the mix on Bojan Bogdanovic of the Pistons as well as Josh Hart of the Trail Blazers, with consideration having gone to Malik Beasley, too. But one of the hang-ups in Cleveland is that it would be likely that the Cavs would have to give up Isaac Okoro to make a major deal, and they’re not keen on giving away the 22-year-old No. 5 pick from the 2020 draft.

While some in the franchise want to be aggressive at the Thursday deadline, the prevailing thought is that this is still a team in development and that patience, especially with an asset like Okoro, is needed. “A lot of teams like him,” one Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports. “But he has been up and down. When he is good, it looks like he plays with some confidence, and with him, it is more about confidence and ability at this point.”

Celtics Not Moving Grant Williams?

One player connected to Okoro in trade chatter has been Boston forward Grant Williams, who is a restricted free agent this summer and was unable to come up with an agreement on an extension with the Celtics in the offseason. Cleveland has interest in Williams, but would have to create a bit more cap space to make a legitimate run at an offer next summer.

But the Celtics are not looking at moving Williams ahead of the deadline. He is still on his rookie scale contract, which pays him $4.3 million this season, and the Celtics are happy to keep that bargain in place. If there was a deal to be made for Williams, it would more likely be a sign-and-trade this summer or a deal at next year’s deadline.

“It would not make much sense to trade him now, not when he is a key part of that rotation,” one Eastern Conference exec told Heavy Sports. “You’d be breaking up a group that knows its roles for one thing. And he is worth a lot more to you after July 1, if you get him a new contract. You can bring back a much more valuable player.”

Warriors’ Misspent Youth

The Warriors, as reported by our friend here at Heavy Sports, Steve Bulpett, have been listening to offers on their vaunted trio of young guys—Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman—for more than a month now. But they may have waited too long.

“The problem is that those guys have been a little bit exposed now,” one GM told Heavy Sports. “If you are not playing them, like with Moody, then the question is, why? They need depth. It is not a matter of having guys in front of them. If you are playing them, like Kuminga and Wiseman, you are showing off the fact that these guys still have a ways to go to be legit NBA players. The mystery is gone there, and they would have done better trading on the mystery than the reality.”


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