After the LA Lakers made the move to acquire former lottery pick Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards for ex-Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn and some second-round picks, a portion of the South Beach faithful were up in arms over Pat Riley’s recent inaction.
Whether a player of Hachimura’s ilk would actually improve the Heat’s situation up front is a matter for debate. In any case, Riley and Co. do appear to be weighing their trade options in an attempt to get Bam Adebayo some help.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto just reported that the team is “monitoring” Milwaukee Bucks big man Serge Ibaka, who is apparently being shopped by the club after having been excised from its day-to-day operations in late November. And he’s apparently not the only pivot that the Heat have their eye one.
According to the Spanish-language outlet Mundo Deportivo, Miami is also one of the teams weighing a move for New Orleans Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez.
Willy Hernangomez Namechecked as a Trade Target for the Heat, as Well as an East Rival
It’s no secret that Dewayne Dedmon is quickly going the way of the dinosaur as a Heat player. After playing 67 games (including 15 starts) at 16 minutes a pop in 2021-22, he’s down to 11.9 MPG in ’22-23 and is racking up DNP-CDs after being usurped in Erik Spoelstra’s rotation by rookie baller and two-way signee Orlando Robinson.
As such, Mundo Deportivo has put Hernangomez out there as a candidate to replace Dedmon, citing his experience and paint presence. This much is certain — Hernangomez has some talents that could make a difference in Miami.
Like Dedmon, Hernangomez has seen his role shrink this season. But he continues to be a high-level rebounder who eats up space defensively whenever he gets the chance to play. He’s currently averaging 14.0 rebounds per 36 minutes for the Pels, who have only utilized him in 22 games this season.
Hernangomez is also coming off a EuroBasket run that saw him capture MVP honors. While leading Spain to a gold-medal finish, the 28-year-old averaged 17.2 points and 6.9 boards in just 21.7 MPG, connecting on 64% of his shot attempts along the way.
Due to a slight salary disparity, a Dedmon for Hernangomez trade doesn’t work straight across; the Heat would have to take another $1.5 million in salary back to make it work. They do have an open roster spot, though, and they may even be able to get some kind of asset out of NOLA for Dedmon’s expiring contract (he’s non-guaranteed in 2023-24).
In addition to the Heat, Hernangomez was also linked to the Boston Celtics.
Riley Makes His GOAT Pick
When modern-day hoops aficionados get to discussing who the greatest player of all time is, the debate usually comes down to two players: Michael Jordan and former Heat star LeBron James. However, Riley — the league fixture who brought LeBron to South Beach — just took Door No. 3 during a recent ESPN interview.
Instead of His Airness or the King, the Heat president went with the master of the sky hook.
“I always said that Kareem was the greatest player of all time because of his longevity,” Riley said. “Kareem was unique from the standpoint that he could play at a high level, play 80 games a year… get beat up because of double- and triple-teams and guys just taking shots at him. He just developed this mental toughness along with a great physical body to really last forever.”