The NBA’s East is wide open after LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career. In fact, with DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Golden State Warriors, it looks increasingly likely that the Warriors will continue to dominate the West, if not the entire NBA.
ESPN story on All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins agreeing on a one-year, $5.3M deal with the Golden State Warriors. https://t.co/0c3YLFtvM0— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2018
Now would seem as good a time as any for Pat Riley to trade for a superstar and see if the Heat could challenge the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers for the conference championship next year. The Oklahoma City Thunder gambled on a trade for Paul George a year ago, and George agreed to a long-term deal with Oklahoma City.
It appears that Pat Riley won’t make a similar gamble on Kawhi Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP.
NEW: Has Pat Riley's approach with the Heat changed now that LeBron is headed out west?https://t.co/KSZMGcladl— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) July 2, 2018
The Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro said that is “unwilling to trade a king’s ransom for a player entering the final season of his contract” who will not commit to remain with the Heat long-term. Riley did make this gamble in 2015 when he traded for Goran Dragic at the trade deadline and signed him to a long-term contract that summer.
Sources: As trade talks have unfolded, Kawhi Leonard’s focus is unchanged: He wants to be a Laker. https://t.co/0wZGf5MrNt— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2018
A good off-season in Riley’s mind might consist of re-signing Ellington and Wade, and continuing to develop their young talent. And if another superstar becomes available, make the move.