With about two-thirds of the 2021-22 NBA season on the books, the Miami Heat find themselves atop the Eastern Conference standings. However, their lead in the East is not too secure as only 2.5 games separate them from the no. 5 seeds from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Pat Riley usually causes a stir at the NBA’s trade deadline, which just passed last Thursday. But the Godfather held firm with his roster and would look into the buyout market to improve Heat’s roster. Miami needs some backcourt depth and there are potential names that could fill that role. With that, here are the top three buyout candidates for Miami past the 2022 NBA trade deadline.
Heat buyout candidates
The Boston Celtics dealt Dennis Schroder to the Houston Rockets at the trade deadline. With the youth movement in full swing, Houston will likely redeem the German guard. Many competing teams are expected to come knocking on Schroder’s door when that happens. The Heat should seriously consider pursuing him.
In 49 games (25 off the bench) with the Celtics this season, Schroder averaged 14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists. The 28-year-old’s stock has fallen over the past two years. But he’s a guy who finished second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting just a few seasons ago.
Schroder is still very capable of filling it like a spark plug on the bench. As noted, the Heat need depth in the backcourt. He should be an upgrade over Gabe Vincent, Kyle Lowry’s main backup in Miami this season.
2. John Wall
John Wall has been pretty much a sitting duck for the Houston Rockets this season. As mentioned, Houston has focused on developing its young players this season. He and the Rockets reached an agreement for Wall to sit out as they tried to find a trade.
While Wall has been a consummate professional, helping and guiding young guys on the sidelines, he still wants to get out there and compete. The 2010 no. 1 pick overall missed the entire 2019-20 season due to a torn Achilles. He came back last year and still looked very much like himself, averaging 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists in the 40 games he played.
However, Wall would not consider buying out the remaining two years and $91.7 million of his contract at this point. Maybe the opportunity to win a championship with Miami could convince him to accept.
1. Goran Dragic
Goran Dragic’s Toronto Raptors tenure finally ended when they handed him over to the San Antonio Spurs at the deadline. San Antonio should buy Dragic. And several teams are already expressing interest in signing the 35-year-old from the buyout market.
Miami traded Dragic to Toronto last summer to sign Kyle Lowry. Dragic only lasted five games in Canada and left the Raptors for personal reasons. Although he’s been sitting out most of the year, he’s been spotted working in Miami on several occasions.
With Dragic seemingly already in the area code, the Heat should be looking to bring back one of their key elements in their run to the 2020 NBA Finals. Over the first three rounds of the 2020 playoffs, the Slovenian has averaged 20.9 points4.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 15 games.
Dragic is perhaps the best bet of the bunch due to his familiarity with the franchise and Miami’s signature culture.