Jul. 18, 2017
Heat notes: Heat's best shot at a star is via trade; Waiters recruiting
On Saturday, while on vacation in Miami, LeBron James posted an Instagram photo of the American Airlines Arena with the caption "A ton of great memories riding past her today!! #AAA #striveforgreatness." Immediately, some fans speculated that the former Heat star was thinking about a return to Miami.
The Heat, as currently constructed, lack the needed cap space to make a run at James or any other free agent for that matter. They could--according to Miami Herald's Barry Jackson-- create max space by trading the contracts of players like Tyler Johnson, Dion Waiters, and Kelly Olynyk to a team with space.
While James thanked Miami for the memories, Jackson added the Heat has been given zero indication that he has interest in coming back. The Heat believe that James' decision next summer could be between the Cavs and Lakers. Other 2018 free agents such as Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Isaiah Thomas, Chris Paul, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins are unlikely to be pursued for a variety of reasons.
If the Heat decides to pursue a star player, Jackson believes it will be better to pursue one through trade rather than free agency. Just like they done in the past with Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and to a lesser extent, Goran Dragic.
Twelve days after signing the biggest contract of his career, Heat guard Dion Waiters is already recruiting for the Heat. The player he's targeting? Oh, that'll be three-time NBA champion and all-time Heat leading scorer Dwyane Wade.
Friday night, Waiters had a twitter exchange with Dwyane Wade--who seemed interested in grabbing one of Waiters' new shirts. When asked by a fan to recruit Wade back to Miami, Waiters quickly replied that he's already working on it.
After opting into his deal with the Chicago Bulls, Wade is unable to leave the team unless he's traded or bought out. While a buyout appears unlikely before the season, it's possible the two sides could agree to one by mid-season. Should Wade enter free agent market, Miami and Cleveland could be among Wade's potential destinations.
Heat President Pat Riley recently said the team plans to hold onto their $4.3 million exception in case something that interests them pops up. If Wade gets bought out by Chicago, Miami could sign him--if he's willing to take a lesser role-- by using it's $4.3 million exception. He'll likely have to return off the bench with Waiters and Dragic developing a chemistry that Wade and Dragic never discovered during their short time they were teammates. And it's very unlikely the Heat will bench Waiters after re-signing on a four-year $52 million deal.
Will a return to Miami happen? That'll be up to Wade.