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Report: Miami Heat have ‘honed in’ on Grant Williams as possible trade target

Could two East contenders, who are rivals, make a deadline move?

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Photo by Eric Espada/NBAE via Getty Images

Are the Miami Heat looking to pluck away a young forward from an Eastern Conference rival?

Well, it appears they might be! According to Heat insider Greg Sylvander of the Five Reasons Sports Network, the Heat are “honed in” on Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams as a possible trade candidate, with the Feb. 9 NBA Trade Deadline over two months away.

Sylvander’s report comes mere hours after Miami split its two-game set at Boston, in which Williams had 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting with four 3s in the latter affair. Williams, who just turned 24 on Wednesday, is averaging 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28.5 minutes with the Celtics this season.

It’s not surprising that Williams, who plans to be a restricted free agent after this season, could be on the trade block in return for assets instead of losing him for nothing, assuming they’re unable or uninterested in re-signing him in the offseason. Boston reportedly offered an extension around $15 million annually this last offseason, per Mass Live’s Brian Robb, but contract talks obviously fizzled out before the 2022-23 season tipped off.

“Williams is still a vital part of the Celtics rotation but the team will likely feel less of an urgency to overpay for him in his next deal after getting Horford under contract for the next two seasons,” Robb wrote earlier this week. “The truth for Williams is that the restricted free agent market is generally a tough spot for a role player like him given the limited cap room available for other teams to spend and an unwillingness for teams to put out offer sheets that could tie up their flexibility ... Boston will want to keep Williams but they can feel better about doing so on their terms.”

Boston would (theoretically) be in no rush to trade Williams, especially to an Eastern Conference rival like Miami. And if they were, it certainly wouldn’t be for pennies on the dollar; my best guess would be that Williams would likely be dealt for draft capital and possibly one (fringe) rotation player, maybe two. While he’s not Danny Ainge, trader Brad Stevens wouldn’t hand him over to Pat Riley easily. Riley would also have to fork over more if they plan on extending him, too.

It makes sense why Miami would have interest. He would immediately plug in as their starting power forward who can space the floor — he’s knocked down 45.8 percent of his triples thus far — and is a capable multipositional defender.

Riley doing his due diligence is warranted. And while Heat brain trust are reportedly showing interest, that doesn’t always mean they’ll make a move, not does that mean they should. But when there’s smoke, there’s fire. And this one is in uncharted waters. It might not mean anything at the end, but a trade involving Boston-Miami for a rotation player is a fascinating development, and one that we would not have seen at all in recent memory.