Don’t be surprised, per one NBA insider.
It’s that time of year!
The first batch of coal was thrown into the 2022-23 NBA Trade Deadline train Monday, as Washington Wizards forward and former top-10 pick Rui Hachimura was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers for former Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks.
Though Heat-centric trade discourse — yes, rumors, nothing that might hold much validity — has been alive since the start of last offseason. From Kevin Durant to Donovan Mitchell to Kyle Kuzma to John Collins — the Heat can (jokingly) be labeled the “Kings of Interest,” as they’ve done and will continue to do their due diligence for every available (big) name.
Now, even though the Heat aren’t expected to break up their respective core of Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo — they’re likely going to plan on refurnishing the margins on their roster, if any move is made. The latest name to surface? Portland Trail Blazers wing Josh Hart, per ESPN NBA analyst and insider Zach Lowe.
“I think [the Miami Heat] would probably express some interest in Josh Hart,” Lowe said on the latest Lowe Post podcast with former Brooklyn Nets general manager and current NBA insider and analyst Bobby Marks.
“He’s a Heat kind of guy.”
“I think [the Miami Heat] would probably express some interest in Josh Hart. He’s a Heat kind of guy.” – @ZachLowe_NBA
— Matt Hanifan (@mph_824_) January 24, 2023
Could Miami realistically poach Hart from Portland, who’s reportedly “committed to being opportunistic and creative in trying to surround franchise star Damian Lillard with a roster capable of competing with the best,” per Bleacher Report’s NBA insider Chris Haynes?
Any deal would likely have to include some combination of Duncan Robinson ($16.9M), Caleb Martin ($6.5M), Victor Oladipo ($8.8M), Dewayne Dedmon ($4.7M), Nikola Jovic ($2.4M), Gabe Vincent and Max Strus (both $1.8M) heading back in return. Though one could assume that Hart wouldn’t be the only player traded in the deal if one were to be complete.
Lowe and Marks went over the peculiar nuances of Hart’s contract shortly thereafter. In short, Hart is making $12.96 million this season and carries a $12.96 million player option for 2023-24. Though, if exercised, his player option for next season is non-guaranteed — and could become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived by June 25, 2023.
Miami has a stash of 2023, 2027 and 2029 first-round picks that it could trade outright, with pick swaps available in 2024 and 2028. Though there’s uncertainty on how much Miami would be willing to dip into that pool of first-round picks unless if it’s for the “Heat mega-deal for the next ‘big’ guy,” as Lowe later claims.
While Hart might not be that guy, he’s still been a key contributor for the Blazers, who are now 22-25 after they tailed-off from their early 11-4 start.
Portland’s currently tied with the Lakers for the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference, but there’s a 5.5-game gap between the No. 3-seeded Sacramento Kings and the Blazers/Lakers. So any team — aside from the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, who are on #WembanyamaWatch™ — are in the playoff hunt.
The 6-foot-5 wing is averaging 9.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He’s shooting 50.3 percent — 57.6 percent on 2s and 33.0 percent on 3s (2.1 attempts) — equating to a 58.8 true-shooting percentage. Hypothetically, Hart would be another undersized wing at Miami’s disposal, but could be yet another instant energy glue-guy who can rebound, screen and provide some semblance of spacing, preferably for its bench units.
What are you thoughts about the Heat-Hart speculation? Comment below!