The Heat are hoping to make some splashes on the free-agent market, and the team’s latest moves could signal their plans for the 2021 offseason.
On Sunday, Miami declined Andre Iguodala’s $15 million player option while exercising the $19.4 million option of Goran Dragic. The Iguodala move was a no-brainer. The 37-year-old is a plus defender and a great locker room presence, but he averaged just 4.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 21.3 minutes per game last year. He’s valuable, but not at a $15 million price tag.
As for Dragic, his option was picked up, but the rumor mill suggests that he could be used as a trade chip to help Miami acquire Raptor guard Kyle Lowry via a sign-and-trade.
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That said, Lowry isn’t the only former Raptor the Heat are interested in. The team may also look to target DeMar DeRozan in free agency, as NBA reporter Marc Stein reports.
In addition to its increasingly promising pursuit of Kyle Lowry, Miami has been exploring pathways for acquiring Lowry’s former teammate and free agent-to-be DeMar DeRozan as well, league sources say.
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DeRozan and Lowry are close friends and spent six seasons together in Toronto before DeRozan was offloaded as part of the trade package that netted the Raptors Kawhi Leonard. Pairing the duo with Jimmy Butler would give the Heat a strong defensive team with a bit of scoring punch.
DeRozan isn’t a good outside shooter, but he has averaged 20-plus points per game for at least eight consecutive seasons. And over the last three years, he has made a sterling 50.1 percent of his shots, so he’s certainly efficient.
The only glitch with DeRozan is about how the Heat will pay him. If they trade for Lowry and give him the three-year, $90 million deal he desires, the team will have little-to-no room to sign DeRozan. Perhaps they could sign him using the mid-level exception — worth about $10 million a year — but that would be a hefty cut from the $27.7 million he made last year.
Besides, if DeRozan was to take a pay cut like that, the Compton native may prefer to return home to play for his favorite team, the Lakers, per the Los Angeles Times.
DeRozan had his sights set on joining the Lakers as a free agent and coming home to play for his favorite team while growing up in Compton.
Then again, maybe playing with Lowry will convince him to join Miami, especially since any potential role he’d have with the Heat would likely be greater than the one he would have with the Lakers.