The Miami Heat are adding some help for the stretch run, and they’ve parted with a notable name to do so.
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Heat have acquired forward Trevor Ariza from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder will receive a second-round pick in 2027, as well as suspended center Meyers Leonard. Leonard is not expected to join the Thunder after being dealt.
Ariza has not played a game in over a year, having opted out of the Orlando bubble as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Thunder acquired him in the offseason, and he did not report to the rebuilding organization. The Heat will probably have to get him back in game shape, but the veteran could be a valuable contributor down the stretch.
Leonard is currently suspended after using an anti-Semitic slur on a video game stream. It’s not clear what his NBA future holds, but it does not appear it will be with Oklahoma City.
The San Antonio Spurs are still looking to trade LaMarcus Aldridge prior to the March 25 deadline, but a buyout agreement seems like the most likely outcome. If and when that happens, Aldridge is expected to draw interest from several contending teams.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers are considered the leading suitors for Aldridge.
Aldridge is on an expiring contract that pays him $24 million this season.
The Celtics are looking to add a big man down the stretch, and Charania says they are also interested in Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins. Adding Collins, who is just 23 and averaging 17.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season, would likely cost a high first-round pick and/or a talented young player.
Aldridge is 35 and clearly on the back end of his career, but he’s still been fairly solid this season with 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He’s a seven-time All-Star who has plenty of postseason experience, so you can understand why playoff-bound teams would want to add him.
The Celtics are 20-18 and have been somewhat of a disappointment this year, but they are not giving up on the idea of making a deep postseason run. Their pursuit of one of the best players in the NBA was evidence of that.
Miami is 21-18 and just ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference standings. The Trail Blazers are 22-16, which is good for sixth in the Western Conference at the moment.
Blake Griffin is set to become an unrestricted free agent after reaching a buyout agreement with the Detroit Pistons on Friday. As you might expect, the six-time All-Star is drawing plenty of interest from contending teams.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Griffin has generated interest from most of the NBA’s top playoff contenders. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, those teams include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors.
All of those teams are either a lock to make the playoffs or squarely in the hunt. While Griffin has lost a lot of his explosiveness due to injuries, he still averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists on a Pistons team that is one of the worst in the NBA.
The Pistons announced last month that they would be sidelining Griffin while they pursued trade possibilities for him. They then struggled to find a trade partner for the 31-year-old, so a buyout was the most likely outcome all along.
It is a well-known fact that Paul Pierce does not like the Miami Heat, so it should come as no surprise that the Boston Celtics legend is jumping all over his former rival after their slow start to the season.
The Heat fell to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, dropping their record to 6-12 on the season. Although they caught fire in the NBA bubble last year and reached the Finals, Pierce said on ESPN’s “The Jump” earlier this week that he does not think Miami will make the playoffs.
Pierce’s remarks came after the Heat’s blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. He said they simply haven’t shown the toughness they did last season.
“As great as the Miami Heat were in the playoffs last year, they will not make the playoffs this year,” Pierce said, as transcribed by Robert Marvi of Heat Nation. “And we saw a play earlier in the show where [Nikola] Jokic got the ball and threw it full court. That’s not the Miami Heat team we saw last year – full of grit, full of grind like the Memphis Grizzlies. That team was built on hard work and toughness, and I have not seen that this year, and that’s why I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs.”
The Heat were just 1.5 games behind the No. 8 seed New York Knicks heading into Friday. That deficit is hardly insurmountable, especially with a talented team that won the Eastern Conference less than a year ago. Jimmy Butler has also played in just six games and Tyler Herro has missed a handful. If they can get healthy, there is more than enough time to turn things around.
Miami’s biggest problem has been scoring, and a healthy Butler and Herro will certainly help address that. Pierce has always been biased against the Heat. We were reminded of that with the comments he made about Herro during the playoffs last year. He’d love for them to miss the postseason.
James Harden is officially off the market, so the Miami Heat may be turning their attention to another top shooting guard.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported on Friday that the Heat have a “high” level of interest in trading for Wizards star Bradley Beal. The amount they would be willing to give up for Beal is unclear however.
Jackson notes that Miami was unwilling to give up young guard Tyler Herro, sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, and rookie big man Precious Achiuwa all together in trade talks with the Houston Rockets for Harden.
The 27-year-old Beal appears to be at the peak of his powers right now. He is posting an NBA-leading 34.9 points to go with 5.3 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. Unfortunately for Beal, the Wizards have not had a winning season since 2017-18. That streak may continue this season with the team off to an ugly 3-8 start.
The Heat would have a lot of salary to absorb, as Beal is owed roughly $100 million over the next three seasons. But Beal’s dynamic scoring would make for a strong fit in a Miami offense whose scoring load is split among multiple players on any given night. He is also fairly close with some of their stars.
Jimmy Butler does not believe his Miami Heat are playing the way they need to.
The Heat lost 107-105 at home to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday to drop to 3-4 on the season. That’s a disappointing start for a team coming off an NBA Finals appearance last season.
Butler, who emerged as the team’s leader last season, says the team isn’t playing up to expectations in terms of effort.
“There’s no excuses to not playing hard, not finishing possessions. We’re not playing the type of basketball that we say that we are, the culture that we say that we have. We ain’t doing that. Nobody is. Not me, not Bam (Adebayo), nobody. We’ve got to get back to that,” Butler said.
The Heat have become known for having a culture of hard work, effort, and fitness. Butler is the leader in those regards, as evidenced by his intense work ethic.
One of James Harden’s suitors is apparently moving on and setting up to play the season without him as a possible addition.
According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Miami Heat are no longer discussing possible Harden trades with the Houston Rockets. Winderman says Miami’s interest in Harden was characterized as “cursory,” and the team was simply doing its due diligence.
It doesn’t seem as though these talks ever got very far. While it was reported that the Heat had real interest, there were legitimate questions about what pieces they had to offer and whether they’d be interested enough to dangle some of their top talent as a possible return.
The news may come as a disappointment to Harden, who named the Heat as a team he’d be interested in moving to. The good news is this team still seems very interested, and that’s one of Harden’s preferences.
Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0
We still do not know if the Houston Rockets will ever be willing to trade James Harden, but if they do, we now know of one team that is clearly interested.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Miami Heat would be interested in trading for Harden if the Rockets decide to move the guard. Harden would also be interested in a trade to the Heat. At least two key unnamed members of the Miami organization are strongly interested in Harden.
The Heat are not concerned about Harden’s ball-dominant style, feeling that is down to Houston’s system and not Harden’s inability to adapt.
In addition, Jackson reports that the Heat would not necessarily be opposed to including Tyler Herro in trade talks, though the Heat still love the player.
For now, this all remains hypothetical until the Rockets become more open to a potential trade. Harden has a growing list of teams he’d be interested in moving to. Some of them would likely make that interest mutual. The Heat, though, are clearly a team to watch.
Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0
Could James Harden join Jimmy Butler in Miami? The Heat star isn’t getting drawn into the rumors.
Harden reportedly added the Heat to his trade wish list, meaning Butler and Harden could end up teaming up in Miami. Butler said he wants Harden to be happy, but is ultimately pleased with his current team.
“There’s a lot of stuff always in the media,” Butler told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I think that he’s a hell of player. I like the group we have. To tell you the truth, I just want the guy to be happy. That’s what life is about. That’s what the game is about.”
It doesn’t sound like Butler plans to do much recruiting, as he has in other instances like this one. Part of that reason is perhaps that the Heat might not be willing to go all-out to make such a deal.
Still, Butler’s comments are a bit less blunt than these remarks by another player whose team has been linked to Harden.
Tyler Herro was the breakout star of the 2020 NBA postseason and helped lead the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals, so it is no surprise that he has drawn trade interest from other teams in recent weeks. At this point, however, it does not sound like he is going anywhere.
Greg Sylvander of Five on the Floor reported on Thursday that the Heat have had trade discussions with the Houston Rockets surrounding James Harden. While the Heat are almost certainly interested, Sylvander says they have not yet shown a willingness to include Herro in any potential deal.
It seems unlikely that Herro would be considered an untouchable piece, especially if the Heat had an opportunity to acquire Harden. Numerous reports have indicated that the Rockets have placed an extraordinarily high asking price on Harden, so they probably informed the Heat they would want Herro, high draft picks and then some.
Harden is said to have added the Heat to his list of preferred trade destinations, which means he has now given the Rockets a wish list that consists of at least four teams.
A report last month claimed the Heat were open to trading Herro for another top player, so it’s hard to believe he would be completely off-limits in Harden talks.
Herro averaged 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in the playoffs for the Heat. He averaged 13.5 points per game during the regular season