The NBA is set to return to action at the end of July, and numerous questions pertaining to the logistics of the league’s plan remain. While we are learning the answers to those questions gradually, NBA teams must now question how they will perform when the season does return.
With playoff basketball on the horizon, here are the most critical questions surrounding the championship contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Miami Heat players will have no excuse if they don’t get any shots up during the NBA’s hiatus thanks to Jimmy Butler.
According to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, Butler had a portable basketball hoop sent to all of his Heat teammates. Goran Dragic had been the only Miami player with a basket at his home prior to Butler’s intervention.
Butler also had hoops sent to coaches, and even players living in condominiums and hotels — including two-way contract players — received them. Butler also plans to donate some portable baskets to area schools and youth centers once the pandemic subsides.
Butler is famously competitive and demands the best of teammates and coaches. Clearly, when he found out that they didn’t have the means to stay sharp during the league’s hiatus, he felt he had to do something. It’s a pretty neat move by the star guard.
The Miami Heat are wheeling and dealing ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.
The Heat agreed to a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies involving Andre Iguodala, and Iguodala is not the only veteran player that is headed to Miami. The Heat will also get Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Miami was also trying to acquire Danilo Gallinari as part of a three-team trade involving the Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder. That could still happen, but it does not sound likely.
Memphis and Miami are focusing on a two-team deal on Andre Iguodala, with Miami and Oklahoma City still unable to reach an agreement on a three-team trade that would land Danilo Gallinari with the Heat, league sources tell ESPN. Talks are fluid until 3 PM.
Crowder is averaging 9.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season, while Hill averaging 5.7 points and 3.0 rebounds. Iguodala has refused to play for Memphis, which recently drew criticism from some of his teammates.
The Miami Heat are working on a three-team deal with the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder that would see them acquire both Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari, but they are determined to protect their salary cap space going forward.
Iguodala has agreed to sign a two-year, $30 million extension with the Heat if the trade is completed, and Miami is still trying to work out an extension for Gallinari. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Heat want to make sure they have enough salary cap space available to sign a max player in 2021.
Andre Iguodala agreed to a two-year, $30M extension with Heat, but second year of deal includes team option that gives Heat cap flexibility, per sources. Miami wants space for max player in summer of 2021. https://t.co/7D8zauII8T
The Heat are 34-16 and contenders in the Eastern Conference this year, which is why Pat Riley is trying to add experienced role players like Iguodala and Gallinari for the stretch run. However, Riley is wise to make sure he keeps the max slot available for 2021. Jimmy Butler is under contract with the team through the 2021-22 season with a player option for 2022-23. Breakout star Bam Adebayo is still on a rookie deal and is under team control through 2021-22, so it makes sense for the Heat to think long term in addition to trying to win now.
Gallinari is in his first season with the Thunder after being acquired in the Paul George trade. He’s averaged 19.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in 42 games for the Thunder. Iguodala has refused to play for the Grizzlies, which has led to criticism from his teammates.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports added that the Los Angeles Lakers made a “Hail Mary attempt” to get Iguodala, but the Heat are the clear frontrunners.
Yahoo Sources. The Los Angeles Lakers have ventured down all avenues — including a last Hail Mary attempt — to seek a path to Andre Iguodala, but it is becoming apparent that Miami has Memphis’ attention right now.
The Heat have come out of nowhere in recent days to become a major player in the Iguodala sweepstakes. It was reported earlier Wednesday that they were a “sleeper” in Iguodala talks. Clearly that is bearing itself out.
Iguodala, who has not played this season, would give the Heat a strong wing defender and boost their chances of coming out of the Eastern Conference. They’re currently fourth in the conference with a 34-15 record.
Iguodala is currently with the Memphis Grizzlies and has not played this season. It appears likely that it will remain that way unless he gets dealt. That means the pressure is on ahead of Thursday’s deadline to find a place to trade Iguodala that he will approve of. It’s unclear whether the Heat could be that team, as there have been rumors that the veteran swingman would prefer a return to the west coast. With the Heat sitting at 34-15, however, it would be a tempting proposition if he wants to win this year.