The Miami Heat were one of the teams talking to the Houston Rockets about a James Harden trade, but Pat Riley and Co. wound up not making a deal to acquire the 2018 MVP. The Rockets traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets after having conversations with several teams.
Harden is one of the top scorers in NBA history. He’s a three-time scoring champion and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day. Though they would have loved to pair Harden with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Heat weren’t prepared to trade Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Precious Achiuwa, and draft picks for the talented All-Star guard.
The Heat’s culture is very distinct and not built for everyone in the NBA. That’s why one of the most iconic players in Miami history is glad James Harden didn’t get traded to the Heat.
The Heat ended their pursuit for James Harden in December
After having cursory talks about a James Harden trade, the Heat moved on and stopped talking to the Rockets in December. Miami had intriguing players for Houston in exchange for Harden. However, the Heat were only able to offer a 2027 first-round pick in a trade, and the Rockets were looking for significant draft assets in return for Harden.
The Heat made the 2020 NBA Finals behind the stellar play of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro. LeBron James and the LA Lakers defeated Miami in six games, but everyone in the league knew the Heat’s future was bright.
If Harden got traded to the Heat, the South Beach franchise would have had a lethal Big 4 of Butler, Adebayo, Harden, and Dragic. Losing Herro and Robinson would have hurt since both guys are tremendous outside shooters. However, Harden’s ability to dominate a game by scoring or facilitating makes him a once-in-a-generation player who can bring a franchise multiple championships if the right group of talent surrounds him.
James Harden is thrilled he got traded to the Nets since he has a close relationship with Brooklyn All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Heat legend Udonis Haslem is also happy that the former MVP didn’t land in South Beach.
Udonis Haslem speaks out on James Harden not getting traded to the Heat
Udonis Haslem recently told Complex Sports that he would have aged 15 years trying to be James Harden’s mentor on the Heat. The three-time champion takes new Miami players under his wing and teaches them the ropes. Haslem has forged a strong bond with Jimmy Butler, who signed with Miami in the summer of 2019.
Harden is a polarizing player because he likes to party a lot. Miami is one of the wildest party cities in America, so Haslem knew Harden would have been doing some crazy things during his spare time.
The Heat’s culture is all about working hard and staying in tip-top condition. We can’t question Harden’s work ethic since he’s one of the greatest players in NBA history. However, his commitment to staying in shape has been a topic of concern over the past couple of years, especially once the playoffs start.
Udonis Haslem and the Heat could use James Harden, as the team has started the 2020-21 season slow. However, Miami’s all-time leader in rebounds doesn’t believe the eight-time All-Star would have been a good fit in South Beach.
The Nets have looked unstoppable since acquiring The Beard
The Nets have defeated the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks since trading for James Harden, the only player in NBA history to have 30-plus points and 10-plus assists in his first two games with a new team after playing for another team earlier that season. Harden is averaging 33.0 points and 13.0 assists in two games with Brooklyn.
All signs point toward the Nets winning the Eastern Conference since they have a lethal trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. The Heat need to quickly get their act together and maybe make a smaller trade to compete with Brooklyn.