With the 2019 NBA Draft just two days away, all eyes are on who the Miami Heat might take and who they might move.
Perhaps the biggest rumor floating around the organization is that they have interest in Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins.
The 24-year-old averaged 18.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season. His career averages are 19.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, so he’s proven to be consistent over his 5-year NBA tenure.
However, the money tied to Wiggins is an issue for the Heat. Wiggins is still owed $122.2 million on his four-year contract, which breaks down to $27.5 million, $29.5 million, $31.5 million and $33.6 million.
Heat Nation proposes that Miami trade shooting guard Dion Waiters and power forward James Johnson to Minnesota, though that in itself won’t alleviate all the cap issues.
Speaking of Waiters, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton believes the 27-year-old is a great fit for the Golden State Warriors, who will be looking for offensive answers after losing Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to devastating injuries.
Waiters averaged 12 points per game and shot nearly 38 percent from the three-point line last season. His four-year, $54-million contract expires after the 2020-21 season, so the Warriors wouldn’t be on the hook for all that long either.
But if the Warriors are expecting an iron man to step in, they might be in for a rude awakening. Waiters only played 44 games last season, just 30 games during the 2017-18 season and 46 games during the 2016-17 season.
Another Heat player limited by injury last season was point guard Goran Dragic, who missed two months while recovering from knee surgery.
The 33-year-old opted into the final year of his contract worth $19.2 million. Dragic said he “wants to stay in Miami forever,” but Heat president Pat Riley gave him no assurances.
Center Hassan Whiteside has not opted into the final year of his contract, though all indications point to him doing so.
That said, the buzz about town is that has the North Carolina native wants to join the Charlotte Hornets, a team in need of a defensive powerhouse in the paint. The issue for Whiteside is that the Hornets have not expressed interest in him and they have a salary cap issue of their own.
Heat fans are either enjoying these whispers or are on the edge of their seat that their favorite player might be shipped. Wherever they land on the spectrum, it’s safe to assume they are all excited for Thursday’s draft.
Miami has the No. 13 pick and there are plenty of interesting names that should be available when it’s the franchise’s time to select. Those names include:
Sekou Doumbouya, Forward
Brandon Clarke, Forward
P.J. Washington, Forward
Tyler Herro, Guard
Nassir Little, Forward
Kevin Porter Jr., Guard
Rui Hachimura, Forward
Bol Bol, Center
Of those names, the two most intriguing are Doumbouya and Kevin Porter Jr.
At just 18 years of age, Doumbouya stands 6-foot-9 and has been competing in the French Pro A league. While he’s a bundle of raw talent, Stefanos Makris of NBADraft.net loves the upside.
“Blessed with a great body and NBA athleticism, he is by far a better athlete than a basketball player at this stage of his development,” he wrote. “His upside is undeniable, especially on the defensive end of the floor. If he finds a way to put everything together on offense, he could become a great player.”
The Heat have done their due diligence on Doumbouya, bringing him in for a workout and interview on Monday.
Porter Jr., the one-and-done prospect from USC, went in for a workout on Tuesday. In his 21 games, Porter Jr. averaged 9.5 points, 4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game and shot 41.2 percent from three.
“There’s a lot to like about Kevin Porter in terms of athleticism and skill. He’s got all the physical tools to succeed in the NBA and looks ready from that standpoint,” wrote Ben Parker on NBADraft.net.
Whoever it ends up being, the Heat are hoping they find a foundational piece that can lead this franchise going forward following Dwyane Wade’s retirement.
William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.