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#pounditTuesday, December 6, 2022

Heat linked to former high lottery pick in free agency

Pat Riley smiling

Sep 22, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat president Pat Riley address reporters during a press conference at AmericanAirlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami may be turning up the heat in free agency this offseason.

An unnamed Eastern Conference general manager said to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com this week that Orlando Magic center Mo Bamba, a former No. 6 overall pick, could be a potential target for the Heat.

“They would like to have some younger guys to bring along, guys who are on the [Tyler] Herro-Bam [Adebayo] kind of timeline rather than Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, the guys in their 30s,” the GM was quoted as saying. “And this is a kid that the Magic need to move off of, where you can get him right on the upswing. He did not know how he fit into the NBA before this season, but he figured it out this year. It is a good time to get into him, he would be ideal for them.”

Bamba, 24, will be a restricted free agent and is coming off his best career season. The true seven-footer averaged 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game, even hitting at a 38.1 percent clip from three. But Bamba is not expected to return to the Magic, who may use their No. 1 overall draft pick this year on a frontcourt player like Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith.

Deveney notes that the Heat could have to match salary with a player like Duncan Robinson and toss in some sweetener too such as Gabe Vincent or Omer Yurtseven in a potential sign-and-trade for Bamba. But Bamba does have the versatility to play next to Adebayo, and Miami has uncertainty in their frontcourt right now with 37-year-old PJ Tucker just opting out of his contract. That being said, the Heat still might want to hold onto their assets to make a run at this star player instead.

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