The Miami Heat are currently ranked third place in the Eastern Conference, with their 27-12 record only trailing the Milwaukee Bucks (35-6) and Boston Celtics (27-11). However, that hasn’t taken them out of the trade rumor discussions ahead of next month’s deadline, as a recent report suggests that the team could find themselves a “perfect fit” at power forward by trading for New York Knicks veteran Marcus Morris.
In one of his 10 predictions for the upcoming NBA trade deadline on February 6, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz wrote that the Heat likely won’t make a big splash by trading for a multiple-time All-Star such as Cleveland Cavaliers forward/center Kevin Love or Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul. Rather, he suggested that Miami could trade for Morris, who is enjoying a career year for the Knicks (11-29, 14th in the Eastern Conference) as a playoff-tested forward who could contribute on both ends of the floor.
Talking about the possible assets the Heat would have to give up if they trade for Morris, Swartz speculated that the team could theoretically surrender a future first-round pick, albeit one that may be selected no earlier than the 2025 draft. He added that Miami may also have to part ways with guard Dion Waiters or forward James Johnson for salary-matching purposes. While neither of these two veterans may be of immediate assistance to New York, both could potentially be “flipped” to other teams once they enter the final year of their contracts in the 2020-21 season.
As noted, Morris is on a one-year, $15 million contract that he signed upon joining the Knicks last summer. This means the Heat — or any other team that trades for him — would essentially be acquiring him as a “rental,” should he decide to enter free agency and sign elsewhere in the 2020 offseason.
"I want to be here long term"
➡️ Marcus Morris pic.twitter.com/nbHq0x9kVQ
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) January 5, 2020
According to Swartz, the suggested trade is reminiscent of one that allowed the Bucks to add a similarly complementary player to their powerhouse lineup last season. At that time, the team acquired George Hill from the Cleveland Cavaliers for a trade package that included a future first-round pick and reserves John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova. Both Henson and Dellavedova were on comparatively expensive contracts that ate into Milwaukee’s salary cap.
Although Morris is presently averaging a team-leading 19.1 points for the Knicks and is ranked second in the entire NBA with a 46.2 percent clip from three-point range, the 30-year-old forward does not seem to fit New York’s timeline as a rebuilding organization. But even with his desire to remain with the Knicks for the long term taken into account, he has been linked to a few other rival teams in recent weeks — including the Philadelphia 76ers, who have reportedly shown some interest in landing the former first-round pick out of Kansas.