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#pounditSunday, February 5, 2023

Articles tagged: Miami Heat

Report: Kyrie Irving has given Nets list of at least 6 trade partners

Kyrie Irving looks on during a game

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving appears to be laying the ground work to leave the Brooklyn Nets this summer.

Irving has until June 29 to decide if he wants to exercise his $36.9 million player option for next season. He has been discussing a new contract with the Nets as that deadline looms. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving has given the Nets a list of teams he would like to be traded to if the two sides cannot work out a new deal.

That does not necessarily mean Irving will leave Brooklyn, but it certainly is an indication that he is open to it. If he does want to play for another team, the Nets would rather get something of value in return. That is why they would likely want to have Irving opt in to facilitate a sign-and-trade.

As Wojnarowski noted, none of the teams Irving would be interested in playing for have enough salary cap space to sign Kyrie as a free agent. That is another reason a sign-and-trade would make sense.

A separate report on Thursday claimed Kevin Durant is also weighing options for his future. Durant is under contract with the Nets through the 2025-26 season, but he probably would want a fresh start elsewhere if Irving leaves.

It is also entirely possible that Irving and Durant are trying to put pressure on the Nets. The Nets are said to be hesitant to sign Kyrie to a long-term deal because of all the drama surrounding him in recent years. Perhaps Durant is trying to give his close friend an assist by helping Irving secure a new contract.

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.

Heat ‘cornerstone’ makes decision on his contract option

PJ Tucker looking on

Dec 21, 2019; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker (17) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

P.J. Tucker has made a decision on his contract for next season.

Tucker signed a 2-year, $14.35 million contract last year with the Miami Heat. The deal contained a player option for $7.35 million for next season.

The 37-year-old apparently will opt out of his contract in order to become a free agent.

Tucker averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game with the Heat last season. Though Tucker’s stats don’t jump out, he brings a lot to the table defensively. Team executive Pat Riley recently described Tucker as a “cornerstone.”

Numerous teams will likely have interest in signing Tucker, including the Heat, who would like to have him back.

Shareef O’Neal works out for another one of father Shaq’s old NBA teams

Shareef O'Neal at a game

Sep 1, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins Shareef O’Neal attends the BIG3 championship game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Shareef O’Neal continues to make the rounds with some familiar teams.

Shareef, the 22-year-old son of Hall of Fame big man Shaquille O’Neal, told reporters on Friday that he had worked out for the Miami Heat on the day prior, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Shareef also worked out for the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Shareef’s father, of course, enjoyed a frutiful career as a Heat player. Shaq played in Miami from 2004 to 2008, making multiple All-NBA First Teams and winning a championship in 2006. The Heat are still largely run by the same management (most notably, owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley) as they were when Shaq played for them.

As for Shareef, he only averaged 2.6 points per game overall in his college career but is drawing increased buzz because of his lineage. In addition to the Heat, Shareef is also working out with another prominent NBA team that his father played for.

Heat eyeing trade for big-name point guard?

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

The Miami Heat may have a contingency plan in place in case they lose faith in their current point guard rotation of the undrafted Gabe Vincent and the elderly Kyle Lowry.

Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported this week that the Heat would “love” to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley, citing an anonymous Eastern Conference executive.

Beverley, who turns 34 in July, is coming off a season where he averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 assists per game for Minnesota and helped them earn a playoff berth. He agreed to a one-year, $13 million extension with the Wolves in February, meaning that he cannot be traded until Aug. 15.

The three-time All-Defensive Teamer Beverley figures to be a culture fit in Miami with his tenacity plus his ability to hit 3s at a solid rate (37.8 percent for his career). But Beverley has history with the Heat, having initially had his draft rights acquired by them in 2009. Miami went on to cut Beverley shortly after, and that is something he still seems to hold against them.

Heat legend uncertain about his playing future

Udonis Haslem in a Heat shirt

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat’s most-tenured player is unsure about his future.

The Heat were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday. The loss denied Miami the chance to reach the Finals for the second time in three years.

Udonis Haslem has played for the Heat since 2003-2004 and seen it all. He turns 42 in just over a week and says he plans to take his time before making a decision on a possible return to the team.

Haslem is more of a coach than a player, though he did see action in 12 games during the regular season. Him not returning to the team would be a significant change given his steady presence with the franchise over the last two decades.

If Haslem does not return as a player, one would figure that he might remain with the team in some other capacity. If he does return to the team, he would tie the late Kobe Bryant for the second-longest tenure with the same team (20 seasons). Dirk Nowitzki holds the record at 21 seasons. Haslem would need to reach a Julio Franco age before matching Dirk’s mark.

Tyler Herro wants 1 major thing from Heat next season

Tyler Herro dribbling

Dec 14, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) brings the ball up court against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being a near-unanimous winner of the Sixth Man of the Year Award this season, Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro has bigger plans in mind.

Speaking Tuesday in his exit interview with reporters, Herro said that he wants to start for the Heat next season.

“In some way I would like to start,” said Herro, per Brendan Tobin of 790 The Ticket in Miami. “It’s my fourth year, I think I’ve earned it. We’ll see what happens.”

The 22-year-old Herro really thrived as a sixth man for Miami this season, averaging a brawny 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. But being a full-time starter is the mark of a true star in the NBA and something that every young player should aim for.

Herro’s role might not change very much if he starts instead of coming off the bench. He still played a career-high 32.6 minutes per game this season and regularly featured in closing lineups for the Heat. But Herro will first have to prove that he can hold up defensively against first-unit wings. At 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, Herro is a bit below-average in terms of size for his position and remains fairly slow moving his feet. But he did show marked progress this season at getting deflections and making crisp rotations.

If Miami believes Herro is up for the challenge, they could insert him in the starting lineup next year, perhaps instead of a player like Max Strus. If not though, they may just trade Herro as part of a package for one particular star player (as has recently been rumored).

Draymond Green responds to comments from Heat players

Draymond Green smiling

Feb 20, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) stands on the court before the game against the Houston Rockets at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green sounds more amused than anything else at how Miami Heat players took his predictions during their series against the Boston Celtics.

Multiple Heat players called out Green after their Game 6 win over the fact that Green predicted the Boston Celtics would ultimately advance to face his Warriors. The Heat suggested they had viewed Green’s comments as disrespectful, and had used them as motivation.

Green responded with amusement, saying it was “exciting” that the Heat had cared so much about what he had to say.

Green was never going to be bothered by this. He says what he thinks and does not care if it is used as fuel by opponents. In this case, he ended up being correct, too, although it took all seven games for him to be proven right.

Of course, Green uses other people’s comments as motivation all the time. The art is that he seems to know better than most when to take the bait, or when to bait others.

Jaylen Brown had incredible reaction to Jimmy Butler 3-pointer

Jaylen Brown shooting the ball

Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler took a questionable shot in the final seconds of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat on Sunday night. The three-point attempt even took Jaylen Brown by surprise.

The Heat came up with a stop while trailing 98-96 with under 22 seconds left. They had a chance to tie or take the lead, and Butler went for the latter when he pulled up from the three-point line with about 17 seconds on the clock (video here). He missed the shot and the Celtics got the rebound.

Boston went on to win 100-96 and advance to the NBA Finals. Brown was asked after the game about Butler’s shot, and he said he was dumbfounded by it.

There is a big debate over whether Butler took a good or bad shot. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he liked it and that he thought it was going in. Some will argue that Butler had Al Horford on his heels and should have driven to the basket, possibly drawing a foul. Though, Horford is a good interior defender and it is hard to rely on a whistle in that situation. Butler had a clean look, and no one would have questioned the shot selection if he made it.

Butler finished with 35 points and played all 48 minutes in Game 7. It is easy to question his most costly decision, but he was the only reason the Heat were even in position to win.

Celtics benefit from controversial call on Max Strus 3-pointer to win East

Max Strus heel hovering out of bounds

The Boston Celtics officially won the Eastern Conference with a victory in Game 7 over the Miami Heat on Sunday. But many had something to say about an extremely controversial call in the third quarter that may have impacted the outcome.

During the opening minute of the third quarter, Heat forward Max Strus hit a three-pointer in front of his team’s bench to trim the Celtics’ lead to two. Several possessions later though, the referees decided to wipe the basket away entirely. They ruled that Strus’ heel was actually out of bounds, and thus it was a turnover instead of a three-pointer.

A look at the replay did not provide much clarity. Strus’ heel was definitely hovering out of bounds, but it was impossible to tell whether it had actually touched down or if it was just a casting a shadow that made it seem like he had stepped out. Take a look for yourself.

By the time Strus’ basket was taken off the board, nearly three minutes of game time had elapsed. The Celtics were shooting free throws at the time that the announcement was made, so they went from leading 65-57 to leading 67-54 after hitting their two foul shots.

Twitter expressed outrage over the decision to take away Strus’ three. Many were not even aware that a basket could be retroactively taken off the board without a coach’s challenge. Check out a glimpse of the reaction.

The Heat would end up losing the game by four (100-96). After storming back in the final three minutes, Miami even had a chance to take the lead when Jimmy Butler missed a potential knockout three with 16.6 seconds left. Needless to say, the overturned Strus basket was ultimately massive.

You could easily make the argument that the Celtics were the better team and deserved to win. They did, after all, lead by double-digits for most of Sunday. But for a Heat team that showed a King Arthur-level of heroism in taking it seven games despite injuries up and down the rotation this series, that is a really tough way for your season to be decided, especially since the evidence to overturn Strus’ three seemed far from conclusive.