The Miami Heat miss what Jae Crowder brought them at the four in the bubble last year — strong defense and some three-point shooting. Kelly Olynyk has just not filled those shoes, which has Miami looking for help at the four heading into the trade deadline.
Could Miami trade for LaMarcus Aldridge?
Aldridge is no longer with the Spurs and the team is searching for a trade. The Heat are at least kicking the tires on a deal, reports Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
And the Miami Heat is among the teams that has spoken to the Spurs about an Aldridge trade, according to a league source.
It seems unlikely that a Miami trade for Aldridge comes together for two reasons.
First, Aldridge isn’t really an upgrade over Olynyk at this point in his career. While there was a time Aldridge might have been the best power forward in the game — for example, back in 2015 when the Heat pursued him as a free agent — but at this point in his career he doesn’t have a lot of lateral mobility, which makes him a target when on defense. On the other end of the court, he can shoot the three (36% this season) and sets good picks, but he’s not dramatically better at this point than Olynyk.
The second reason is Aldridge makes $24 million this season. While the good news is it is an expiring contract — it would not clog up Miami’s books in future seasons — the challenge is the Heat have to send $19 million or more in player salaries to San Antonio to match. Also, is Miami going to send the Spurs a young player of value to rent Aldridge?
How about veteran Andre Iguodala, who is earning $15 million this season? It would seem unlikely that Miami would include him in an Aldridge deal because Iguodala is the small-ball forward coach Erik Spoelstra trusts to play late in games, and Aldridge would not be able to fill that void as more of a traditional big.
It would also be surprising if the Heat included any of its young assets such as Tyler Herro, Precious Achiuwa, Duncan Robinson or Kendrick Nunn in a potential deal for Aldridge.
San Antonio is looking for a trade, but most likely Aldridge ends up being bought out by the Spurs. If Miami can sign Aldridge on a veteran minimum contract as a free agent, it makes sense to roll the dice. But a trade seems unlikely.