Led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Miami Heat made it all the way to the 2020 NBA Finals at Walt Disney World in the NBA bubble. Even though the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Heat in six games, Miami got the entire league’s attention, most notably Houston Rockets superstar James Harden.
With the 2020-21 season set to start on Tuesday, Harden is still looking to be traded by the Rockets. The Heat are one of the teams Harden wants to get traded to since Miami is a title contender. South Beach is also one of the most beautiful places to live in America, so odds are Harden would have a lot of fun in Miami.
However, it doesn’t appear James Harden will get traded to the Heat and team up with Jimmy Butler.
Rockets have talked James Harden trade with several teams
James Harden initially informed the Rockets he wants to get traded to the Brooklyn Nets or Philadelphia 76ers. Houston has had trade discussions with the Nets, Sixers, Heat, and Denver Nuggets around Harden, who wants to be moved by the Rockets despite John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Christian Wood being on the team.
The Nets have three familiar faces Harden is interested in joining forces with. Brooklyn stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are two of Harden’s closest friends in the league, and Nets assistant coach Mike D’Antoni coached the three-time scoring champion on the Rockets. Harden won the 2018 MVP award under D’Antoni.
The Sixers, meanwhile, are run by former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who traded for Harden back in 2012. To acquire The Beard, Morey would likely have to part ways with former Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons, and it’s unknown if the Sixers’ new architect is willing to do that.
The Rockets open the 2020-21 season against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. It appears James Harden is still going to be a Rocket by the time that game tips off.
The Heat are one superstar away from becoming the best team in the NBA
Jimmy Butler and the Heat took LeBron James and the Lakers to six games in the 2020 Finals despite having zero superstars on the team. While Butler and Bam Adebayo are All-Stars in the NBA, they aren’t on the superstar level that LeBron and Anthony Davis are on.
The Heat were hopeful that Giannis Antetokounmpo would enter unrestricted free agency in the offseason of 2021 and take a free-agent meeting with president Pat Riley. However, the two-time MVP signed the supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. So, Miami can throw away its Antetokounmpo dream.
If the Heat acquired James Harden from the Rockets, they would have a lethal trio of Harden, Butler, and Adebayo. The Nets are expected to win the Eastern Conference this upcoming season with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving leading the way. However, the Heat would likely overtake Brooklyn as the betting favorite in the East if the team got Harden in South Beach. The lefty is one of the best scorers in NBA history and has led the league in scoring the past three seasons.
Although Riley and the Heat surely did their due diligence on a possible trade, Miami fans hoping for Jimmy Butler, James Harden, and Bam Adebayo to be teammates this upcoming season shouldn’t get their hopes up.
The Heat have ended their pursuit of James Harden
The Heat are no longer pursuing a James Harden trade, according to Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. The Rockets have been looking for significant draft assets and multiple players in return for Harden. While the Heat could have offered the Rockets Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn, the team only has a 2027 first-round pick for Houston, which wasn’t enough for the Rockets, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
It looks like Harden is going to get traded to the Nets or Sixers. Brooklyn can offer Houston a package of Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, and draft picks for Harden. The Sixers, meanwhile, have Ben Simmons, the best player the Rockets are going to get in return for their All-NBA guard.
It’s going to be very interesting to see where James Harden gets traded to. The Heat, though, appear to have waived the white flag in their pursuit of the future Hall of Famer.