Heat Would Be Interested In James Harden Trade

Miami would pursue a trade for Rockets star James Harden if the opportunity arises, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The former MVP reportedly expanded his list of preferred options this week, with the Heat and Bucks joining the Nets and Sixers.

According to the source, at least two members of Miami’s management team have “substantial interest” in adding Harden and there’s no significant opposition to the move. Outsiders have raised concerns that Harden’s ball-dominant style might not fit the Heat’s philosophy, but the belief among the front office is that Harden plays that way because that’s how the offense in Houston is structured.

The Rockets haven’t committed to putting Harden on the market, but the source says the Heat would be among the teams to make an offer in Houston moves in that direction. The source adds that Miami would be willing to include Tyler Herro to get a deal done. The Heat prefer to keep Herro, who made a huge impact during his rookie season, but recognize that players of Harden’s caliber are hard to obtain.

Assessing the situation this week, ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested Herro is better than any single player that Brooklyn would be willing to part with, though he believes the Rockets would lean toward Ben Simmons if Philadelphia makes him available. Lowe adds that he doesn’t think “any substantive talks have happened with any teams” regarding a Harden trade.

Jackson notes that Miami has financial restrictions to consider. Because the Heat are above the salary cap, they would have to send out close to the $41.2MM that Harden earns this season. League rules state that Miami can take back as much as 125% of the salaries it parts with in the deal, plus $1ooK. Andre Iguodala ($15MM) and Kelly Olynyk ($12.6MM) would likely have to be included in any offer, Jackson states.

Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard and Udonis Haslem, who all re-signed with the Heat over the offseason, have veto power over trades and can’t be moved before February 6. Free agent additions Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless also can’t be traded until that date.

Jackson sees Miami’s best offer as Herro, two players from the group of Precious Achiuwa, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson, along with Olynyk and Iguodala to match salaries and first-round picks in 2025 and 2027. The Heat and Thunder would have to remove protections on the first-rounder Miami owes Oklahoma City in 2023 for that deal to be possible.

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