While the Heat are still willing to make an upgrade, their recent surge allows them to be more selective as the trade deadline approaches, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Their $7.5MM trade exception will expire next Monday and the most likely candidates for that slot are Kings power forward Nemanja Bjelica ($7.2MM) and Thunder big man Mike Muscala ($2.3MM). Miami is unlikely to give away a key young piece to acquire Rockets guard Victor Oladipo, Jackson adds.
We have more on the Southeast Division:
- Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham will enter restricted free agency this summer (provided the team extends a qualifying offer) and some teams believe he’s available because the franchise will be hesitant to pay up for his second contract, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. Graham’s perceived availability is tied to the fact that starter Terry Rozier is having a strong season and is signed through next season, while LaMelo Ball is the likely Rookie of the Year.
- The Wizards probably won’t make any major moves before the trade deadline but they’ll be mindful of improving their defense if they complete any transaction, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington reports. They are reluctant to add a shooter who is a subpar defender. They also have limited expendable resources and are close to the luxury tax line.
- There’s no update yet on Ish Smith‘s injured right quad, Hughes tweets. Wizards coach Scott Brooks hopes to know more in the next 10-14 days. The veteran backup point guard, who has an expiring $6MM contract, was expected to miss six to eight weeks — it has been almost four so far.