The Miami Heat have notably fallen short of adding a star player this offseason, but despite those disappointments they reportedly have no interest in now trying to acquire James Harden.
“According to an NBA source familiar with the situation, James Harden is not the next thing in the team’s view,” wrote Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
The Heat were linked to Damian Lillard for months but were unable to make a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, who finally dealt the All-Star to the Milwaukee Bucks. Miami then reportedly had interest in Jrue Holiday, but he was sent to the Boston Celtics by Portland after it acquired him in the Lillard deal.
There also was a fleeting idea that Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo would one day hit the market, but after Milwaukee acquired Lillard, the two-time MVP said his intention now is to sign an extension to stay there.
That leaves very little star power left for the Heat with the 2023-24 NBA season about to start this month. However, Harden, another former MVP, likely is available after a very contentious offseason with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 34-year-old picked up his player option with the 76ers thinking that it would lead to a trade. That has not happened, which has caused Harden to publicly lash out at team executive Daryl Morey, calling him a liar and saying he will never play for an organization that includes him. Harden also reported late to 76ers training camp and seemingly is still looking for a way out.
Winderman spelled out a trade scenario that would fit under the salary cap which would have Miami send Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson to Philadelphia in exchange for Harden and P.J. Tucker. He also speculated that the Heat may have some leverage in any negotiations because Harden has been so vocal about his desire to part with the 76ers.
Despite being unable to add the coveted third star to a core of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and watching Eastern Conference rivals make significant additions, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is confident that they will remain contenders this season.
Adding Harden to the mix could improve those on-court fortunes somewhat, but there also has to be a concern that his attitude and disappointing playoff history would not mesh with the heralded Heat culture.