Heat considered trading LeBron James for Chris Paul after losing to Mavs in 2011 NBA Finals

3 Min Read

According to Gilbert Arenas, the Miami Heat pondered dealing LeBron James in exchange for Chris Paul following James’ performance against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals.

“Let’s rewind back to 2010-11, when they lost to Dallas,” Arenas said. “What was the reason they lost to Dallas huh? ‘Cause who played bad? Who didn’t fit well with the other two? So yeah, Miami was thinking about tradin’, and it wasn’t [Chris] Bosh at that time.”

As Arenas and Shannon Sharpe mentioned, Paul was reportedly close to being a member of the Heat, but the idea fell through because both Paul and Dwyane Wade wanted to wear No. 3 on their jerseys.

James and the Heat lost to the Mavericks — who were led by Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and Jason Terry — in six games in the 2011 championship series. The Heat were ahead in the series 2-1 at one point in time but proceeded to lose the next three games.

The 39-year-old underperformed against Dallas, as he was arguably just Miami’s third-best player in the NBA Finals behind both Wade and Bosh. James averaged 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.5 blocks per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from 3-point range.

For perspective, Terry averaged more points per game in the championship series than James did, as he dropped 18.0 points per game on 49.4 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent from deep.

James had his worst performance of the NBA Finals in Game 4. He totaled just eight points to go along with nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals in a game the Heat lost by three points.

But the forward’s underwhelming play against the Mavericks is a thing of the past. Since coming up short against Dallas on the league’s biggest stage, James has won four NBA titles, two of them coming when he was still a member of the Heat franchise. His most recent title came in 2020 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

In hindsight, the Heat seemed to have made the right decision by not trading James for Paul following the former’s showing in the 2011 NBA Finals. Without James, it’s debatable whether Miami would have won titles in the years 2012 and 2013, as he was the best player on both iterations of the team.

Share This Article
Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.