With the help of Jimmy Butler's grit and a young but able supporting crew, the Miami Heat have made it to the NBA Finals this year. Down 1-3 in the series, they're unlikely to win it all unless they pull off an unlikely comeback. In any case, the Heat have an eye on next year already with NBA trade rumors linking them to multiple stars.
The Miami Heat are fixated on Giannis Antetokounmpo but he isn't the only superstar who could make them title favorites. There are other names who could makes Miami a powerhouse. Even though a trade for any of these superstars seems improbable, there's no harm in looking at the same.
On that note, here are three unlikely NBA trades that would make Miami Heat championship favorites for the upcoming season.
#1 Miami Heat trade for Kawhi Leonard
Interestingly, Jimmy Butler was Kawhi Leonard's first choice for teaming up in LA. Now that the former has led the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals, the only way these two link up is if the LA Clippers agree to part ways with The Klaw, which they most likely won't.
Leonard would add several qualities to the Miami Heat including his hard-nosed defense and the ability to be the go-to player on offense down the stretch. But he will command a steep price.
LA Clippers won't let go of him unless they receive Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo in return. Given that the two youngsters are good players and still growing, it doesn't seem like a good trade-off for the Miami Heat either.
#2 Miami Heat trade for Giannis Antetokounmpo
Although there's been a lot of talk about Giannis Antetokounmpo moving on from the Milwaukee Bucks, the player himself has hinted at staying and signing an extension. If he does decline the supermax contract that he will likely be offered, there's no guarantee that the Bucks will decide to trade him.
If Milwaukee does end up putting the Greek Freak on the trading block, they'll probably have a rebuild in mind including quality young pieces and a few draft picks. The Miami Heat cannot offer the latter and they're likely to be conservative in terms of the young stars they would want to offer in exchange for someone who could ultimately be a one-year rental.
Even if they decide to move for Giannis Antetokounmpo, formulating a trade package would become tricky for Miami Heat. Keeping hold of Bam Adebayo and sending a backcourt-heavy package would leave the team devoid of a three-point shooting. At the same time, including Bam Adebayo in addition to Tyler Herro and either Kendrick Nunn or Duncan Robinson would leave too many holes in the roster.
#3 Miami Heat trade for Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid had a great relationship with Jimmy Butler when the latter was in Philadelphia so you can guarantee that the duo would hit it off together. But Embiid's availability itself is shrouded in mystery.
In addition to his elite rebounding ability, Embiid would offer more or less the same qualities as Leonard. The issue for Miami Heat would again arrive in the form of Philadelphia 76ers' asking price.
Embiid is the Sixers' best rim protector and volume scorer so they're likely to expect at least Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro for him. Attaching these players would irk Pat Riley considering both of them could be superstars in a couple of seasons.
Most importantly, Embiid is injury prone himself. Given that the Miami Heat are suffering in the ongoing NBA Finals due to injury trouble, they won't be too willing to go all out on a superstar whose fitness has been a concern. At the same time, a deal without either Adebayo or Herro won't suit Philly.
Published 08 Oct 2020, 23:59 IST