ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is (rightly) known as the most reputable journalist covering the NBA. He has shocked NBA Twitter with his #WojBombs over the years. And he reported today that the Heat are willing to part with Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow “as centerpieces for an Irving trade.”
After Wojnarowski’s article went online Friday morning, the Miami Heat took the unusual step of issuing a public refutation of the report. According to a team spokesperson, the Heat have not made any offer for Kyrie Irving.
New: Heat takes unusual step of denying report that it has ever made any offer to Cleveland for Irving: https://t.co/AvtiZ4efuB— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) July 28, 2017
Are Wojnarowski’s sources wrong? The ESPN journalist said that “there’s little chance for a deal unless the Heat offered an overwhelming package,” and Dragic and Winslow aren’t overwhelming. That mirrors earlier reports that the Heat viewed getting Irving “as something of a long shot.”
My guess? Pat Riley called Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and asked about Irving, as any other NBA executive conducting their due diligence would do. He discussed broad possibilities, including a deal centering on Dragic and Winslow for Irving, or Dragic, Winslow and Wayne Ellington for Irving and Iman Shumpert. But he stopped short of making an offer because he knew Gilbert had better offers on the table.
The Heat know that they probably aren’t getting Irving unless they get creative, and they don’t want Dragic and Winslow to head into training camp feeling like they’re undervalued. Therefore, Riley had a team spokesperson issue this on-the-record denial so these two important players don’t feel like they’re on the trade block. Again, this is just speculation, but it seems plausible. Wojnarowski isn’t wrong often.