Heat Insider Serves Up Scorching Take on Potential LeBron James Trade

LeBron James Heat-Lakers

Getty LeBron James goes up for a shot during a game between the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat.

Former Miami Heat star LeBron James ignited something of a firestorm on Wednesday night after his Los Angeles Lakers‘ bout with the South Beach Crew. In the wake of the Lakers’ 112-98 loss — which dropped their record to 14-21 at the time — James sounded off on his desire to be part of a winning program.

“I’m a winner, and I want to win,” James declared. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships.”

Those comments breathed new life into the trade chatter that has surrounded LeBron and the Lake Show since their fall from championship grace began after the bubble. And longtime Heat beat writer Ira Winderman clocked his decision to make them in the town where he previously won a pair of NBA titles.

“Nothing LeBron James does or says is by accident…” Winderman wrote for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “And the fact that he discussed goals and desires deep into the night at 601 Biscayne Boulevard when served up the proper question only furthered the curiosity.”

Not only that — Winderman intimated that there’s rhyme, reason and a pathway toward actually bringing the King back to his old stomping grounds.

Winderman Muses About Hypothetical LeBron James-Tyler Herro Swap

Winderman was willing to let his freak flag fly with James-to-Miami chatter, noting that Los Angeles could soon “consider their next evolution, just as they did in the post-Kobe Bryant era.” In doing so, he zeroed in on Heat sharpshooter Tyler Herro as the key outgoing component in a potential deal.

“For all the machinations and permutations that Heat general manager Andy Elisburg fiddled with on his abacus when it came time to make a decision on a rookie-scale extension in October, Tyler Herro becomes trade eligible again in July (he’s actually trade eligible at the moment, but there are major salary-cap hurdles in place),” Winderman wrote.

“And that makes it all the more curious, because the two-year, $97-million extension signed by LeBron also does not have him trade eligible until the offseason.”

To be clear, the Heat couldn’t simply trade Herro for LeBron straight up. In order to make the financials on the trade work, team president Pat Riley would have to fork over $20ish million more in player salary. And if discussions with the Lakers were really happening, Rob Pelinka would undoubtedly want useful players, prospects and draft assets, too.

As Winderman sees it, though, a Herro-LeBron swap may just be fated by the stars.

“Question: Since the end of the Big Three era has there been a Heat player who speaks more to the LA vibe than Tyler Herro?”

Duncan Robinson Namechecked as Heat Trade Candidate

At this point, it’s far from a hot take to say that the Heat are experiencing buyer’s remorse on the five-year, $90-million extension they gave to Duncan Robinson ahead of the 2021-22 campaign. The sharpshooter’s minutes and role shrunk throughout that campaign, and this season he’s averaging just 18.3 minutes per game (the lowest clip since his rookie season).

With that being the case, it should come as no surprise that Spotrac‘s Keith Smith just mentioned Robinson as a potential trade candidate for the club.

He observed — as others have — that the aforementioned contract could act as a major hurdle in moving him. However, he also expressed confidence in Riley’s ability to make something happen.

“Robinson is owed somewhere between $47 and $57 million (pending guarantees) for the three seasons after this one. That’s a lot for a one-skill guy that isn’t playing. But the Heat always seem to find a way to make a deal, and Robinson is probably part of finding that way.”

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