With only 21 games left in their campaign this season, the Miami Heat (32-29) are looking ready to hold on to the eighth and final playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference. The team is now three-and-a-half games ahead of ninth-seed Detroit Pistons, who are currently looking disorganized with their new signing Blake Griffin.
The Heat are on a two-game winning run after losing eight of their last nine and are 3-3 so far since Dwyane Wade returned to the lineup. Indeed, head coach Erik Spoelstra’s side appears to be headed to a postseason return, although they are not expected to go past the first round where they could meet any of the East’s big three of Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Recent rumors are out that Miami will look to upgrade their roster this summer as the team plans to become an Eastern Conference superpower once again as soon as possible. There are even speculations that the ballclub might lure LeBron James to come back to South Beach to achieve their goal.
Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reported that 59 percent of 48 NBA players surveyed during the All-Star break said that a LeBron-Miami reunion could happen in the summer. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adam Reisinger indicated that a “Heatles reunion” is possible this coming offseason with team president Pat Riley and James potentially “mending fences” in the same way Wade and Riley recently did.
However, the latest rumor regarding a Heat summer re-tool mentions San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. Miami New Times suggested that Miami should offer a trade package composed of Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow to the Spurs for Leonard.
Rumors of an ongoing tension between Leonard and the Spurs have graced the headlines as of late, citing the team’s reported “mishandling” of the two-time NBA All-Star’s quad injury rehabilitation. There were reports saying that while team doctors had already cleared Leonard to play, the player himself chose to continue to sit out indefinitely.
Miami New Times said that a Leonard-Whiteside swap would be a win-win situation for both teams, as Whiteside’s skills and demeanor are said to be perfect for head coach Gregg Popovich’s system while Leonard would be given the chance to move on from his current ordeal in San Antonio. Adding Winslow to the deal is a valuable sweetener, as the former Duke standout is considered as a poor man’s version of Leonard, the report noted.
Recently, the San Antonio Current reported that Leonard has “returned to the Spurs’ practice” facility and a late March comeback is expected. With this development, only time will tell of Leonard would indeed be available for interested teams this summer.