The Miami Heat didn’t land a star over the summer and a trade for one during the season doesn’t appear to be on the horizon. Still, the Heat are solidly 13-10 with a soft December stretch providing an opportunity to pad their win total.
This is despite a road-heavy schedule to start the season and injuries to key starters Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro for much of the year. Through the first quarter of the season, the Celtics, Bucks and 76ers have separated themselves as the class of the East, but no one would count the Heat out.
The Heat will be involved in most star conversations – Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan reportedly listed Miami, as well as New York, as a preferred destination – but it could be enough to make upgrades on the margins of the roster.
Friday, Dec. 15, is the unofficial start of the NBA’s trade season. That’s because contracts signed in the offseason – about 80% of the league – become trade-eligible.
For the Heat, that includes Josh Richardson, Thomas Bryant and Kevin Love.
There are several names from other teams that could be a meaningful upgrade that the Heat should have on their radar. Here are four players that become trade-eligible Friday worth monitoring.
1. Jevon Carter, PG, Chicago Bulls
With the strong play of Alex Caruso and the emergence of Coby White as an everyday point guard, Jevon Carter has fallen to the fringes of the Chicago Bulls’ rotation. Zach LaVine’s eventual return from a foot injury (if he’s not traded before that) could push Carter out of the rotation entirely.
Whatever the case, Carter has become expendable after signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract over the summer. If the Bulls decide to retool, getting off his long-term salary in exchange for cap relief or to fill a need could make sense.
Carter, 28, is a career 39.4% 3-point shooter, plus defender and takes care of the ball.
The Heat could use depth at point guard but finding a trade that works is tough. That is, unless Miami is motivated to trade Caleb Martin’s near-exact salary for Carter. Martin can opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent next summer. If the Heat think he’s a risk to walk away for more money elsewhere, it could make sense to trade him now for a point guard under a reasonable contract for the next two-and-a-half years.