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Could Heat trade for Aldridge or DeRozan?

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Pat Riley met with LaMarcus Aldridge in 2015. Should he trade for him now?

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

In the Miami Herald, Barry Jackson wrote that the Miami Heat could be a trade partner for the 5-11 San Antonio Spurs. Jackson followed up on Kendrick Perkins’ suggestion that the Spurs should consider trading LaMarcus Aldridge or DeMar DeRozan after their disappointing start.

Now, Heat fans may remember that Pat Riley met with Aldridge during the 2015 free agency period and pitched him on the idea of sacrificing to win a championship. (That message actually convinced Aldridge to sign with the Spurs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.) And Jackson reported that Miami pursued DeRozan in 2016.

Is there still interest? Neither Spurs player has their contract go beyond the 2020-2021 season, so trading for one of them wouldn’t affect the Heat’s cap space in 2021.

Still, the Heat shouldn’t trade for either of them. The Spurs would look for young players in a trade. Bam Adebayo has become too valuable to be traded for anyone other than a superstar. In a recent column, Zach Lowe wondered whether Adebayo has become Miami’s best player, its most indispensable or both.

A deal would probably have to center on Justise Winslow. San Antonio may even ask for another young player, like Kendrick Nunn or Tyler Herro. And a Heat team without first-round draft picks in 2021 or 2023 should be reluctant to trade away the players they develop.

Although Miami has played well without Winslow — he’s still sidelined with a concussion — he’s still a great defensive wing in today’s NBA. He’s on a team-friendly contract, including a team option for the 2021-22 season. The Heat shouldn’t trade Winslow unless they are getting back a good defensive wing in return; DeRozan doesn’t fit the bill. He’s the worst defensive player on the Spurs according to FiveThirtyEight’s new NBA metric.

Aldridge is 34 years old. He won’t be able to take the Miami Heat to championship contention. DeRozan hasn’t made a 3-pointer this season yet. Jimmy Butler is only shooting 29 percent from 3 this year — it should go up, but Butler isn’t a knockdown shooter — so pairing DeRozan and Butler would hurt the spacing that has worked so well for the Heat offense as of late. (And yes, I know Winslow isn’t a knockdown shooter, either. But he’s shot 38 percent from deep in each of the last two years. He can hit the open 3.)

The Heat are playing well to start the season. The last thing they should do is trade away some of their young, developing prospects for past-their-prime players who won’t improve the team.