The NBA season is coming to a close and with the Warriors two wins away from a Finals sweep over the Cavaliers, that could be Friday. Although nothing is stopping the other 28 teams from making trades now, the real offseason starts when the Finals end.
And the only way for teams to make a splash between now and the start of free agency on July 1 is through trades. The two biggest trades of last summer came before free agency began with the Bulls dealing Jimmy Butler to Minnesota on June 22, the night of the draft, and the Pacers agreeing to trade Paul George to OKC hours before free agency began.
Trade talk typically starts gaining momentum the week of the draft, which is June 21, and that’s when we could start hearing rumors about the Heat. Pat Riley is in the market for a “transformative” player, and any others who could improve his roster, and expect the Heat to be active. But whether they can pull off a major deal remains to be seen.
If so, here are 10 big names that could be moved. Do the Heat have a chance of landing any of them?
Carmelo Anthony, 6-8, PF, Oklahoma City: At 34, Anthony’s best years clearly are behind him but I believe he has more left than we saw in his one year in OKC. He is expected to pick up his option for $27.9 million so any trade involving Anthony would have to include a bad contract going to Thunder.
Bradley Beal, 6-5, SG, Washington: Nobody has underachieved like the Wizards the last few years and with another playoff flameout Washington is ready to make some moves. That could mean breaking up their backcourt of Beal and John Wall. Which one would go? And to who? Remember, several other teams are in the same spot so it could simply be trading one star guard for another.
DeMar DeRozan, 6-7, SG, Toronto: The Raptors are one of those teams in a situation similar to Washington’s. Riley has admitted the Heat have too many shooting guards, especially if Dwyane Wade returns, so Miami would have to move someone like Tyler Johnson (and his $19.2 million salary for next season) in a deal involving DeRozan.
Kawhi Leonard, 6-7, SF, San Antonio: The target of every team looking to land a superstar through a trade. This would take some doing by the Heat, especially when teams like Boston, Philadelphia, the Lakers and others have more assets to give the Spurs.
Kyle Lowry, 6-0, PG, Toronto: The Raptors won’t move both DeRozan and Lowry. Lowry’s age – he is 32, DeRozan is 28 – and contract – two years and $64.3 million remaining – makes him the player Toronto would rather trade but also the more difficult of the two to deal. Would the Heat pursue Lowry, or a bigger deal with Toronto, and move Goran Dragic?
C.J. McCollum, 6-3, PG, Portland: Five straight years of playoff failures, including being bounced in the first round the last two seasons, has the Trail Blazers thinking about making changes. Their backcourt of McCollum and Damian Lillard is one of the best in the league and splitting it up would be the most impactful move.
Karl-Anthony Towns, 7-0, C, Minnesota: With rumblings of uneasiness within the Timberwolves organization, they could look to move Towns, although their first choice is trading Andrew Wiggins. Towns would come with a hefty price that probably would start with Bam Adebayo and Josh Richardson and the Heat taking back a bad contract or two, which means the Heat would have to move one of their bad contracts to make this work.
Kemba Walker, 6-1, PG, Charlotte: Walker could be on the block as the Hornets look to rebuild with new coach James Borrego. Moving Walker, and the final year remaining on his contract ($12 million), would be the best way but only if they could attach a bad contract to the deal.
John Wall, 6-4, PG, Washington: The Wizards will not move both Beal and Wall, but if they could move one it would be Wall, whose four-year, $170 million extension kicks in starting with the 2019-20 season. But who is willing to take on a salary that averages $42.5 million a year?
Andrew Wiggins, 6-8, SF, Minnesota: The man the Timberwolves really want to unload, especially with $146.5 million coming to him in the next five years. The Heat would have leverage because of Wiggins’ contract so they would certainly have to make Tyler Johnson or Hassan Whiteside part of the trade.