Outside of the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, if there was one team that would pull the trigger and bring in James Harden, it would be the Miami Heat. The 2019-20 season was crazy for everyone, but especially the Miami Heat who went to the NBA Bubble in Orlando with one mission: to compete and play for an NBA title. The Heat did just that as they ran through the Eastern Conference, losing just three games before their showdown in the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Heat ultimately lost in the NBA Finals 4-2 as injuries to Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo put all of the weight on Jimmy Butler to carry the squad, which he could only do for so long. The Heat are legit championship contenders with the roster they have now, but if there is one thing we know about Pat Riley, it is that he is never satisfied with just making it to the NBA Finals. He wants to win and will do what it takes to make sure his team is as good as they can be.
Going out and trading for James Harden not only changes this franchise, but solidifies themselves as the team to beat in the NBA. Goran Dragic is not the long-term answer at point guard for the Heat and Bam Adebayo is not a high-level scorer like other bigs in the NBA, leaving Jimmy Butler as the “go-to” guy for the Heat once again. Bringing in James Harden as a one-two punch with Butler would be dangerous for NBA teams because of the pieces around them.
If they pay too much attention to Harden and Butler, perimeter shooters Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro will pour it on from three-point range. But, if teams take away the perimeter options in Robinson and Herro, either Butler or Harden will play one-on-one where they are most lethal. Not to mention, Bam Adebayo is a great low-post threat and a beast on the boards. If the Heat could somehow keep Robinson and Herro while acquiring James Harden, they may have the best starting lineup in the NBA: James Harden, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler & Bam Adebayo.
This lineup would be small and the Heat would have to find some veteran big guys to fill out the “4” position but this small lineup would have one of the highest total +/- in the NBA. There are no indications that the Heat are willing to pay the price of joining the James Harden Sweepstakes, but if they do, watch out for the Miami Heat because they will go all-in. Whatever it takes to win a NBA Championship, Pat Riley is willing to do, including if it means trading for James Harden.