Heat in the Hunt to Acquire 2-Time All-Star in Deadline Blockbuster: Insider

Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder. LaVine has been linked to the Miami Heat.

Getty Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder. LaVine has been linked to the Miami Heat.

The Miami Heat have quite a decision to make ahead of the February 9 trade deadline. Many fans and writers are torn about what they believe the front office will do. Some think Pat Riley will look to add to his roster, while others feel that the Heat will look to cut costs and avoid the luxury tax.

But Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote on February 2 that Miami might be looking to make a playoff push this season, after all, listing the Heat among the teams that would be interested in the Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine if he were to become available.

“Zach LaVine, the Bulls’ two-time All-Star who’s in the first season of a five-year, $215 million maximum contract, would have no shortage of suitors if Chicago decided to move the 27-year-old guard before [the] deadline — despite some concern about his recovery process from offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The [Los Angeles] Lakers, Heat, [New York] Knicks and [Dallas] Mavericks have consistently been mentioned by league personnel as holding motivations to land LaVine if the time does arrive.”

LaVine, who is set to make $215 million on his current deal, hasn’t been able to impact winning in Chicago this season. His team sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 23-27. Despite the team’s struggles, he has put up solid numbers averaging 23.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 46.1% from the field and 37.7% from deep.

Heat Proposal Trades Tyler Herro for Zach LaVine

If Miami were to trade for LaVine, he wouldn’t come cheap. His $43 million salary would be the first hurdle for the Heat to clear. They’d have to send out enough salary to make the financial aspect of the deal work.

On the January 5 edition of “The HoopsHype Podcast,” host Michael Scotto detailed what a potential LaVine trade could look like for the Heat.

“Miami’s best trade asset to dangle is Tyler Herro in a theoretical trade package,” Scotto said. “Overall, however, Chicago hasn’t shown a willingness to be a seller yet, with about a month until the trade deadline, while currently on the edge of competing for a back-end play-in spot.”

Including Herro in a trade to land the former LaVine wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Miami. They just signed the 23-year-old to an extension and have been able to have success with him as part of the core. There’d be no reason for the front office to make such a drastic change.

Heat Looking to Shed Salary at Trade Deadline: Insider

The likelihood of Miami making a big splash at the trade deadline is pretty slim, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

On January 31, Jackson reported that the organization will most likely focus on avoiding the luxury tax this season.

“Heat owner Micky Arison historically has expressed willingness to pay a luxury tax only if his team is a legitimate championship contender,” Jackson explained. “He has paid the tax seven times, with a $52.9 million total payment over his nearly three decades of ownership.”

He added that the 2022-23 roster isn’t looking like it will compete for a title.

“This year’s team is less than $200,000 below the tax, and very likely will remain under it. With its current roster construction, the Heat cannot add a 15th player and stay below the tax line until late March, about 10 days before the final day of the season.”

Jackson pinpointed the trade deadline as a great opportunity for the Heat to clear some cap space.

“Miami has 14 months to figure this out, he said. “But it’s a lot easier to achieve it before the looming trade deadline; any deal done in June or beyond would help Miami only if its trade partner has the cap space to absorb a lot more money than it’s sending the Heat.”

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