Report: Miami Heat had the chance to land NBA Finals star in 2017

What could have happened if the Miami Heat traded for Kyrie Irving when they were in need of a star?
2017 NBA Finals - Game Three
2017 NBA Finals - Game Three / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Kyrie Irving’s tangled history between his current team, the Dallas Mavericks, and his former team, the Boston Celtics, could have included the Miami Heat, according to a recent report.

In 2017, before Irving was traded to the Celtics and while he was still a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he and his agent passed on a list of four destinations to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, one of them was the Miami Heat.

"According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, Irving’s then-agent, Jeffrey Wechsler, informed Gilbert that his client preferred to be dealt to either the Spurs, Knicks, Timberwolves or Heat, with the list intentionally excluding the Celtics — the franchise Cleveland had just faced in Eastern Conference finals. And once Wechsler secured permission from Gilbert to contact opposing teams, sources said, he and then-Celtics president Danny Ainge engaged in frequent dialogue about Irving’s trade market."

As Fischer writes, Irving was ultimately traded to the Boston Celtics, where he spent two seasons before signing with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. Irving was traded to the Mavericks in 2023 and has turned his career around, becoming a reliable co-star next to Luka Doncic as the Mavericks get ready to face Irving’s former team in the NBA Finals.

What could have happened if the Miami Heat traded for Kyrie Irving when they were in need of a star?

It’s easy to imagine what could have been had the Heat decided to make a move for Irving. The Heat were in need of star power then. It was three years after LeBron James’ departure, Dwyane Wade had left the summer before (although he’d return to Miami at the 2018 trade deadline) and blood clots had ended Chris Bosh’s career. Miami’s biggest stars were Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters, who had led the Heat to a 41-41 record the previous season.

It’s unclear why the Heat were unable to swing a deal for Irving, or how interested they were in the first place.

The Heat were unwilling to trade for Irving when Brooklyn made him available in 2023, but that was after a series of Irving’s decisions had left most of the league soured on the idea of bringing them into their locker room. That wasn’t necessarily the case in 2017, although there was some skepticism about why Irving would want to leave LeBron and the Cavs at the time.

Either way, the Heat had two opportunities to trade for Irving over the years but it doesn’t seem like they ever came close to making it happen.