Miami Heat showing interest in six-time All-Star scorer

Can the Heat get creative to acquire DeMar DeRozan?
Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

With Paul George and Klay Thompson off the board, the most sought-after free agent still available might be DeMar DeRozan.

The Miami Heat haven’t been involved in many of the big names this offseason but, according to the Miami Herald, have reached out to DeRozan, who is an unrestricted free agent after three years with the Chicago Bulls.

From the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson:

“The Heat has expressed interest in Bulls free agent guard DeMar DeRozan, and DeRozan also has interest in Miami, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation. The Heat is among several teams in play for the six-time All Star.”

While DeRozan could help the Heat improve last season’s 21st-ranked offense, there are real obstacles standing in Miami’s way of acquiring the 34-year-old scorer, who averaged 24 points per game last season.

Because of where they are as a luxury tax team, the only way that the Heat could sign a free agent is if he accepts the $5.3 million taxpayer midlevel exception or a veteran minimum contract (which would be valued at $3.3 million for a player of DeRozan’s experience).

The other option is acquiring DeRozan via sign-and-trade, but doing that would hard cap the Heat at the first apron, which stands at $178.1 million. The Heat are currently above the first apron, with an active payroll above $180 million, making the sign-and-trade route impossible with the current roster.

But what if the Heat trim payroll in order to unlock the sing-and-trade possibility? Doing so would require trading one of Miami’s larger salaries – Tyler Herro ($29 million), Terry Rozier ($24.9 million) or Duncan Robinson ($19.4 million) – into another team’s cap space while taking little-to-know salary back.

Teams with cap space include the Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs.

It appears the more creative sign-and-trade scenario might be the only way the Heat can get in on DeRozan. 

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “There is interest in DeMar DeRozan. But the kind of contract that he might want just is not going to be available; it’s not left out there in the marketplace. The Bulls are more than willing to work on a sign and trade agreement to get him the years and money that he might want.”

Wojnarowski mentioned that the Lakers have expressed interest in DeRozan and that LeBron James could take a pay cut to facilitate DeRozan's signing in Los Angeles. The Clippers have also been mentioned as a potential suitor, but finding a way to facilitate DeRozan’s salary is difficult.