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Jae Crowder would help. But the Heat shouldn’t give up assets for him.

Miami is reportedly Crowder’s preferred destination.

Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported today that Miami Heat officials have expressed confidence that they are Jae Crowder’s preferred landing spot. Crowder is staying away from the Phoenix Suns while they work on a trade for the 10-year veteran.

Fischer reported that Crowder didn’t want to leave Miami in 2020, but the Heat decided against matching the three-year, $30 million contract he signed with the Suns. (As I pointed out before, Miami also declined to match a three-year offer to P.J. Tucker in 2022.)

The article mentions the possibility of Phoenix and Crowder agreeing on a contract buyout. That could result in the Heat picking up Crowder without giving up any players or draft picks. But the Suns will no doubt try to find a trade partner for Crowder to get something of value in return.

Aside from Crowder, Fischer also reported that the Heat have interest in Kenyon Martin Jr., a forward with the Houston Rockets. Martin, who was the 52nd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, is looking to play elsewhere.

Crowder offers the ability to guard up and defend opposing power forwards — something we don’t know if Caleb Martin can do, even with some added muscle. He’s also a willing 3-point shooter, though his percentages vary widely.

He was superb in the Heat’s five-game series win over the Milwaukee Bucks in 2020, defending Giannis Antetokounmpo and hitting 3-pointers. But his shooting slipped in the two subsequent rounds.

As Fischer said, most executives will look at their teams for the first 20 or so games before making any big changes. Pat Riley and Adam Simon will see how the season starts with Caleb Martin as a likely starter and Haywood Highsmith, Nikola Jovic and Jamal Cain playing when needed.

Although Crowder would help, it’s difficult for Miami to cobble together a trade package for him. Duncan Robinson’s contract might be better utilized in a bigger trade should the Heat go down that route. And Victor Oladipo appears to be in Miami’s plans in the short-term as the sixth man.

Riley and Simon are being patient, as they should be.