April 13, 2024



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Miami Heat Trade Rumors: Firm Decision Made on $215 Million Star

According to a report from Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson, all the Miami Heat trade rumors around Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls are mere pipe dreams and will likely remain that way. Heat president Pat Riley is just not going to take too many chances with the team’s financial future.

This week, Jackson noted, “Zach LaVine of Chicago, another big-time scorer, is available on the trade market.” However, a person with close access to the Heat front office claimed that, at least for the time being, Miami has not been pursuing a trade for him. (If that changes, I’d be shocked.)

LaVine has been the talk of the early-season NBA trade rumors market, and for good reason. Over the course of his last two seasons, he has averaged 24.6 points, 4.1 assists, and 4.6 rebounds. He has also made 48.0% of his shots and 37.0% of his 3-pointers.

He is a versatile and talented offensive player, and because this group is seen as lacking in offensive punch, players like LaVine will always crop up in Miami Heat trade rumors.

Luxury Tax Problems Weigh Heavily in NBA

The problem with LaVine, though, is that he is in the second year of a $215 million contract. He is slated to be paid $179 million over the next four seasons, which is a hefty amount for a star player who has taken the Bulls to the playoffs once, and was swept when he got there.

And, as Jackson points out in his column, the Heat are not interested in the long-term luxury tax problems LaVine would bring, especially with a new, more restrictive CBA coming online in the next year.

Expect Pat Riley to be a wet blanket on Miami Heat trade rumors.

“Under this new NBA labor deal, every potential trade involving a high-salary player requires careful consideration of this question: Is this a player worth sacrificing future flexibility for?” Jackson wrote before answering the LaVine question. “LaVine isn’t worth sacrificing future flexibility for. And the Heat seems to know that.”

Still, there is some logic tying every big-time scorer on the market to a Miami Heat trade rumor. The offense is very inefficient, even at its best, and even with scoring guard Tyler Herro healthy, which he has not been as he recovers from an ankle injury.

With a rating of 112.1, the Heat are currently ranked 18th in offensive efficiency. That is also due to factors other than Herro’s injury. With Herro on the court, the Heat’s offensive rating actually declined, ranking 26th in the NBA at the time at 107.5. With a rating of 112.3, the Heat were 25th in offensive efficiency during the previous campaign.

Zach LaVine Connected in Miami Heat Trade Rumors

Thus, there is an assumption from the NBA’s observer class and executives around the league that the Heat are looking for some offensive punch. But each time an opportunity to trade for a player who can bolster the scoring arises—Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal in the past year, and now LaVine—the Heat pass on any such pursuit.

Earlier this month, The Athletic NBA insider Shams Charania fueled the Miami Heat trade rumors around LaVine by reporting that there was mutual interest there.

Charania reported that Zach LaVine was a hot topic of conversation when teams descended on Chicago for the opening of he college basketball season three weeks ago. Wrote Charania:

“Two-time All-Star guard Zach LaVine is being questioned by NBA teams about his availability, and the Chicago Bulls and LaVine have been more forthcoming about discussing a trade,” league sources said. This is where the talks might start, since many of the 30 general managers of the NBA will be in Chicago on Tuesday for the yearly Champions Classic, which is the big opening night of the college basketball season. League sources stated that the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers are anticipated to show some interest.

Alas, it appears that the Miami Heat has a level of interest. And it is nil.

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