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NBA Trade Deadline 2020: Who Should Miami Target?

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The Miami Heat have started to slow down a tad. They’ve dropped four of their last eight games and are just 10-11 on the road. As the Heat cool down, Miami’s weaknesses have been exposed. In recent games, Miami’s shown an inability to rebound and protect the rim. The poor production down low played a major role in the two most recent losses to the Nets and Knicks. The Heat relinquished 14 offensive rebounds to the Nets and allowed 72 points in the paint while visiting the Knicks. The problem has started to become detrimental to the Heat’s ability to close out games. With the trade deadline right around the corner, Miami has a decision to make. Many all-star caliber players’ names have been popping up on the trade market. Will the Heat go forward with the roster they have now, or should Miami make a move at the trade deadline?

The Heat may not have enough currently to compete late in the playoffs. If they elect to make a move, they may have to part ways with some of the valued young talent, especially if they were to attempt to bring in a big-name player. Acquiring a proven player could also mean taking on a bad contract. Here’s a look at a few players Miami could look to make a move for and how they could help.

Chris Paul- Oklahoma City Thunder

Chris Paul has been on Miami’s radar all season. Bringing CP3 aboard wouldn’t help the Heat down low, and presents a huge salary issue. Paul is owed $41.3 million next season, and a staggering $44.2 million during the 2021-22 season. Adding Paul would affect the Heat’s future plans of having cap room when Giannis Antetokounmpo and other star players become available. It’s no doubt that Paul, now 34, has shown he still has some good basketball left, currently averaging 16.5 points and 6.5 assists per game. But would the Heat want to commit to paying a 36-year-old $44.2 million? If Paul were to agree to decline his player option, Miami might be a more realistic destination. Despite anyone’s desire to compete for a championship, walking away from $44.2 million wouldn’t be easy.

Jrue Holiday- New Orleans Pelicans

Jrue Holiday, a defensive-minded point guard, may be a better fit for the Heat. Similar to Chris Paul, he is signed through 2021-22 with a player option. The money for Holiday is significantly less than Paul– $26.1 million next season and $27 million in 2021-22. Holiday also wouldn’t provide much help down low. Having Holiday on the roster would be an attractive move, but it doesn’t address many of the issues the Heat are currently facing. How much more effective would Holiday prove to be than Kendrick Nunn and Justise Winslow? Although the contract isn’t quite as unfavorable as Paul’s, it would mean surrendering more young players/picks.

Kevin Love- Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Love is a rebounding, stretch power forward who could very well be on the move. With Cleveland clearly in the rebuilding stage, both the team and Love appear to be ready for their next chapters. Love is under contract through the 2022-23 season, due $91.3 million over the next three years. Averaging 10.4 rebounds per game, Love would certainly help the Heat on the glass. Unloading Love won’t be easy for Cleveland, as they may need to attach future picks to sweeten the deal if teams don’t bite initially. If the Heat acquire Love, they would have to be sure that he is the piece they want. His contract will continue to become tougher to move as he ages.

Tristan Thompson- Cleveland Cavaliers

Perhaps a more suitable fit for Miami is Kevin Love’s teammate Tristan Thompson. Thompson is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. If Miami doesn’t see him as a permanent fit, they can explore other options in free agency. Cleveland is most likely searching for young talent or future draft picks. Thompson could opt to play anywhere after the season, meaning he could be a rental for any team. This brings his trade value down and Miami would not have to surrender as much. He is currently averaging 12.8 points — almost all which come under the basket — and 10.5 rebounds per game. The active 6’9″ big man could help Miami defensively down low. If the Heat want to be active in free agency, this move would help create more cap space and help improve the current roster.

The Field

Other names will certainly emerge on the trade market over the next three weeks. Despite the Heat’s recent struggles, I wouldn’t expect general manager Pat Riley to get desperate and make a drastic move. In order to acquire any of the aforementioned players, the Heat would have to create an attractive deal with 1st round picks and a young player or two such as Derrick Jones Jr. or Justise Winslow.  A combination of other players (James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Dion Waiters or Goran Dragic) would also have to be available in order to balance out any salary disparities.

The Heat are still 28-12 and sitting at second in the Eastern Conference. Riley seems to be comfortable with most of the current roster and is in no rush to trade its young core. The question presents itself, should Miami make a move at the trade deadline? After just guaranteeing undrafted rookie Chris Silva’s contract, Miami has already signed forward/center Kyle Alexander to a two-way deal that has 24 NBA days remaining. Miami could look to make a smaller deal that allows them to submerge under the luxury tax line and avoid a tax penalty at the end of the year (which they so often do). Pat Riley surely has something up his sleeve. Stay tuned!

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