The Miami Heat are a much different team than they’ve been in years past. After losing LeBron James to free agency in 2014, and now Dwyane Wade over the summer, they are clearly a rebuilding team. However, team president Pat Riley may have something sneaky up his sleeve to revamp his team next off-season. Riley and the Heat are destined to pursue both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency. This would form a new Miami Heat big three.
Miami Heat Big Three, Part Two
Trading Goran Dragic
The Heat would have some work to do in order to pursue both Paul and Griffin. For starters, they’d have to trade point guard Goran Dragic. However, Dragic shouldn’t be all too difficult to deal. Dragic is an aggressive point guard who can score in a bevy of ways, including from the perimeter, off the dribble, and at the rim. The Sacramento Kings would make a great trade partner for the Heat.
In fact, according to Baskeball Insiders, the Kings and Heat discussed a potential Dragic deal just less than a month ago:
In this deal, the Heat wouldn’t necessarily improve their squad, but Kings forward Rudy Gay is likely to opt out of his deal this summer, and point guard Darren Collison is on an expiring deal. This would create more cap space for the Heat. As a result, the Heat would be able to pursue Chris Paul. However, they may also be clearing additional cap space this season, but in an unfortunate way.
With the unfortunate news that Chris Bosh was given this off-season, it appears that, at the very least, his days as a member of the Heat are over, due to his recurring issues with blood clots. As a result, the Heat will likely release him in mid-February to relieve themselves of his contract, opening up more cap space for a run at Blake Griffin.
Pursuing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin
With a ton of cap space at their disposal, the Heat are likely to pursue max level players; enter Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Chris Paul is one of the top five point guards in the NBA. He’s a great defender, a good shooter, an aggressive playmaker, and a good facilitator. However, it would be tough for Miami to lure him away from Doc Rivers and the Clippers. In order to do that, they could convince Paul and teammate Blake Griffin to come to Miami together.
Griffin, like Paul, is among the elite at his position. He’s a complete offensive player. He can play above the rim, in the post, and even out on the perimeter. His great play is assisted by Paul. The two of them started what became “Lob City” because of Paul’s alley-oops to Griffin. The bottom line is that the two of them together are lethal. However, despite their high profiles, it is very reasonable to think that both Paul and Griffin could bolt for Miami.
Miami Would be Better with Paul and Griffin Than the Clippers Are
While the Clippers have built a nice foundation in Los Angeles with Paul and Griffin center-stage, they’ve reached their peak. They haven’t once appeared in the Weastern Conference Finals, and chances are that they won’t be there this year, with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs being the clear teams to beat in the Western Conference. If and when they come up short again this year, Paul and Griffin would be wise to bolt for Miami.
The Heat are armed with defensive and rebounding demon Hassan Whiteside, as well as a bevy of young guards. Their perimeter players include second year swingman Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, and the recently re-signed Tyler Johnson. In addition to Whiteside and their young guards, the Heat also have forward James Johnson at their disposal.
The Heat, with Paul and Griffin, would have a better supporting cast than the Clippers currently have. While the Clippers are armed with DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, and Wesley Johnson, those players have all hit their ceilings and have no more room for growth. Furthermore, shooting guard J.J. Redick will be hitting the free agent market next summer.
On the other hand, the supporting players for the Heat are young and still haven’t come anywhere near their full potential. If Paul and Griffin were to go to the Heat, they would have a better chance of making it to the Conference Finals.
The East has no Powerhouses Outside of Cleveland
In the West, Paul and Griffin have to play against teams like the aforementioned Warriors and the Spurs. However, in the Eastern Conference, there is no powerhouse team outside of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The East may be competitive, but outside of the Cavaliers, no other team in the East is a true powerhouse. If Paul and Griffin were to go to the Heat, their path to the Conference Finals, and potentially the NBA Finals, would be much easier.
The Miami Heat are bound to make a run at both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. With Paul and Griffin, the Heat would be armed with a dangerous duo to go along with their young and promising supporting cast. On the flip side, Paul and Griffin would benefit from going to the Heat because they would be able to compete in the Eastern Conference Finals, and potentially the NBA Finals. Their mutual interest would also spark part two of the Miami Heat big three era.