Kyrie Irving's future with the Brooklyn Nets is uncertain, and it's possible the Miami Heat could be a dark-horse suitor for his services if he's ultimately made available in a trade.
NBA insider Marc Stein laid out the latest on the Heat's interest in his newsletter on Wednesday:
"The overwhelming expectation among rival teams is that establishing the Lakers, Clippers and Knicks as potential Irving suitors earlier this week was aimed at trying to goad the Nets into offering Irving a more lucrative long-term deal. Yet we should also file this away for potential down-the-road relevance: Miami is believed to have some level of interest in joining the chase for Irving — should the Nets reach the point of actively trying to trade him — and would figure to be a more legitimate landing spot than the teams initially mentioned given the Heat's various trade assets."
Miami's interest in Irving should come as little surprise, as the team came up short in the 2022 NBA playoffs, falling to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and is looking to make improvements this offseason.
The Heat already have Kyle Lowry at point guard, but Irving would represent an upgrade over the 36-year-old Lowry, who averaged 13.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists during the 2021-22 campaign. His 13.4 points per game was his lowest scoring output since he averaged just 11.6 points during the 2012-13 season.
Even though Irving appeared in just 29 games last season, he averaged an impressive 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists. It was his sixth straight season averaging at least 23 points per game.
The 30-year-old would be an interesting fit in a Miami lineup that also boasts Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. That said, the Heat roster would likely get some sort of shake-up in a sign-and-trade for Irving.
It's possible the franchise would offer up a combination of Lowry, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro in a potential deal for Irving. Lowry would almost certainly be going the other way, as Miami wouldn't want to pay him his $28.3 million salary for the 2022-23 season to sit on the bench.
It's unclear if Miami would be interested in trading Robinson, but the franchise could stand to unload him and the remainder of his five-year, $90 million contract after he regressed during the 2021-22 campaign.
As for Herro, it's hard to imagine the Heat being interested in moving him. The 22-year-old has been a significant piece off the bench in Miami since being drafted, and he played a key role in the Heat reaching the conference finals this past season.
But while Miami would be interested in Irving, it's unclear if the feeling is mutual. Stein also reported that "there are credible rumblings in circulation" that Irving has had contact with Lakers star and former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James "to presumably discuss a potential reunion in Hollywood."
However, Stein did add that "it would be a stretch, though, to suggest that the Lakers are currently pursuing Irving."
With rumors circulating, there's no telling where he could end up. That said, everything hinges on his $36.5 million player option for 2022-23 and whether he decides to opt out.
At this point, it's probably not worth the speculation, especially considering the situation between Irving and the Nets remains fluid, according to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer.