‘I’m still chasing another championship,’ says Pat Riley
Less than a day after acquiring Chris Paul from Houston, Oklahoma City is trying to trade him to the Heat, according to an ESPN report.
A league source told the Miami Herald that the Heat will listen and do due diligence on the matter, but that the Heat does not have strong interest and is not aggressively pursuing a trade for Paul at this time.
Miami would need to be absolutely overwhelmed to consider taking on the final three years and $124 million of Paul’s contract, considering the veteran point guard’s age (34) and lack of durability.
Paul has missed 21, 24 and 24 games the past three seasons, and as ESPN’s Dan Le Batard noted, the Heat entered the offseason hesitant to commit big money to aging stars.
For Miami to consider this, OKC would need not only to take back only unappealing contracts but would need to offer other significant concessions. One could be the Thunder returning Miami’s 2021 and 2023 first-round picks — selections that OKC acquired from the Clippers in last week’s Paul George trade. But there’s no indication that OKC would consider that because it has made obtaining first-round picks a priority in its rebuilding plan.
OKC “will try to find a way to get a deal done with the Heat,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday morning. “Miami is the focus right now. [OKC] would like to try to get that deal done as soon as they can. Miami is at the top of the list. I was told other teams too that will be discussed. ... The market for Chris Paul is going to be small. Their hope is he doesn’t play one game in a Thunder uniform.”
The Heat and Thunder could not agree to terms on a trade for eight-time All-Star Russell Westbrook because of multiple reasons, including the Heat’s refusal to trade Tyler Herro or two among Herro, Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow, according to league sources.
OKC instead traded Westbrook to Houston for two first-round picks and Paul, with the intent of now re-routing Paul, who can be traded immediately unless his contract is aggregated with another player. Paul has appeared in nine All-Star games (most recently in 2016) and has been first-team All-NBA four times (most recently in 2014).
But acquiring Paul — and keeping him all three seasons — it would mean Miami would not have cap space to sign a max free agent in 2021. That’s one reason why Miami is lukewarm on Paul.
Meanwhile, even though the Heat has displayed strong interest in trading for Washington guard Bradley Beal, Wizards vice president/basketball operations Tommy Sheppard told The Athletic that Washington has given no thought to trading Beal.
“Not at all,” Sheppard said. “It’s never crossed our mind. Bradley is somebody we’re building around. He’s been involved with everything we’re doing in the draft, free agency. We need his opinion. We want this team to be a reflection of what he is all about.”
According to sources, there is sentiment inside the the Heat to take the final four years and $171 million of injured point guard John Wall’s contract if it would allow Miami to land Beal, who is eligible for free agency in the summer of 2021. But Washington appears unwilling to do that at this time.
“When John was healthy, he was one of the top players in the NBA hands down,” Sheppard said. “He’ll be healthy again.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ The Heat made the eight-team playoff of the Las Vegas Summer League and will play New Orleans at 6:30 pm EST on Saturday on ESPN. Winners of the four quarterfinals advance to Sunday’s semifinals. If the Heat wins the next two games, Miami intends to rest its top players (likely including Herro) in one of the three games.
▪ Heat summer league coach Eric Glass said forward Chris Silva — who signed a contract with a training camp invitation — will miss the remainder of summer league with a sprained left knee sustained Wednesday. “He should be fine in a week or so, but there’s no need to force him out,” Glass said. “He’s played very well.”
▪ Glass said Stanford rookie KZ Okpala — who joined the Heat July 6 after a draft night trade — won’t play at all in summer league as he learns the team’s system. “It doesn’t make sense at this point,” Glass said. “I think [playing] would have helped him, but it’s not going to hurt him. He signed a contract, so he’s fine.”
Here’s my look at where the Heat and every team stand in the East after a flurry of offseason moves and assessing all those moves.