Miami Heat linked to trade for Bulls star scorer

The Miami Heat could be seeking scoring help as trade season approaches, and reports suggest the Chicago Bulls could be ready to make their top players available.

Oct 25, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) and forward DeMar DeRozan
Oct 25, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) and forward DeMar DeRozan / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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As the calendar turns to December and the date when contracts signed in the offseason become tradeable approaches, trade rumors are about to start heating up.

Dec. 15 is the unofficial start of trade season. Most of the league, at that point, becomes trade-eligible, greasing the wheels on potential deals. And already we have a team primed to make some moves: The Chicago Bulls.

The Miami Heat are mentioned as a preferred destination for Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan.

Even after Thursday night’s overtime win against the Bucks, the Bulls might be ready to tilt into a full-scale rebuild. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Chicago is expected to explore the market for Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, and the Miami Heat are a potential destination for DeRozan.

“DeRozan, perhaps more than any of the aforementioned players, is considered very likely to be on the move before the deadline passes. And with good reason. Not only is the 34-year-old still very productive (21.3 points, 4.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds per in 18 games this season) and thus attractive to contenders who are looking for more firepower, but also his expiring contract ($28.6 million this season) should incentivize Bulls president of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas to avoid losing him for nothing in free agency this summer.

"When it comes to possible destinations, the Heat and Knicks are known to be preferable to DeRozan if he winds up getting moved.”

Time for a reading comprehension test. Note the report says DeRozan would prefer Miami, and that there is no suggestion about the Heat’s interest in DeRozan. So there’s no reason to get too excited.

But is we were to ponder the fit for a second…

On its face, DeRozan makes sense for a Heat team that struggles to score points. Before Thursday night’s barnburner, the Heat ranked 19th in offensive rating and are likely closer to that than their current ranking of 13th after hanging 142 points on the Pacers. 

DeRozan, 34, has averaged at least 20 points a season since he was 24 years old. He’s among the NBA’s most prolific scorers this century.

Here’s the rub: The Heat kind of already have a better version of DeRozan in Jimmy Butler. Both players want to operate in the post and mid-range. Neither takes 3s at a high rate (DeRozan’s career-high for 3-point attempts in a season is just 3.6, and that was in the 2017-18 season).

Between Butler, Bam Adebayo and DeRozan, there would be very little spacing and a whole lot of overlap. It isn’t a good fit.

Still, if we were to contemplate a potential trade package, it could look something like this:

trade

Of Chicago’s players, the one who makes the most sense is Alex Caruso. He’s an elite defender at the point of attack and a capable 3-point shooter who would fit into what the Heat are doing this season. He doesn’t need the ball, which would put the rock in 22’s and 13’s hands more often. 

The problem is that the Heat don’t have a match for his $9.4 million salary and likely don’t want to cough up the draft capital Chicago will be looking for.

So a trade for DeRozan, LaVine or Caruso? More than likely, these will remain just rumors.

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