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Heat show interest in Nemanja Bjelica

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How much of an upgrade is he over Kelly Olynyk?

Sacramento Kings v Miami Heat Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reported Saturday that the Miami Heat are “believed to have interest” in Sacramento Kings stretch four Nemanja Bjelica.

Though he hasn’t played much this season — Friday marked his first stint of playing time in more than a month — Bjelica averaged 11.5 points per game on 42 percent shooting from beyond the arc in 2019-20. He appears to address an issue that has plagued the team since Moe Harkless didn’t pan out as the Jae Crowder replacement — who starts alongside Bam Adebayo.

The question now becomes whether Bjelica is much of an upgrade over Kelly Olynyk, who has shot nearly 45 percent from 3 over Miami’s last five games. Aside from his 3-point shooting, Crowder was invaluable for the Heat because of his ability to defend opposing power forwards and unleash a switch-heavy defensive scheme.

The Heat can absorb Bjelica’s contract with a $7.6 million trade exception they have, though Miami has a full roster at 17 players now. The Heat could throw a player into the trade for Bjelica — like Chris Silva, who has a team option for the 2021-22 season — over cut a player like Silva to make room for Bjelica.