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NBA Trade Rumors: Josh Hart's Name 'Very, Very Hot' Ahead of Deadline; Heat Linked

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 24, 2023

Portland Trail Blazers guard Josh Hart (11) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Marc Lebryk)
AP Photo/Marc Lebryk

Portland Trail Blazers guard Josh Hart is a "very, very hot" name as the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline approaches, per ESPN's Zach Lowe on the latest edition of the Lowe Post podcast (h/t @dru_star).

Lowe also speculated that the Miami Heat would "probably express some interest" in the former Villanova star.

dru_star @dru_star

"Josh Hart is a name that is very, very hot right now. A lot of teams would like Josh Hart. I think Miami will probably express some interest in Josh Hart. He's a Heat guy. Heat kinda guy." - <a href="https://twitter.com/ZachLowe_NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ZachLowe_NBA</a> <a href="https://t.co/gSNLB1rVAr">pic.twitter.com/gSNLB1rVAr</a>

The 6'5" guard, who turns 28 years old on March 6, joined the Blazers in February 2022 after a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans that notably sent CJ McCollum to the Pels.

He averaged 19.9 points per game in 13 contests for a short-handed Portland team last year that was missing star point guard Damian Lillard (abdominal injury).

Hart has started 45 games for the Blazers this year. He's averaging 9.6 points on 50.3 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

Hart is clearly an asset for the Blazers given his versatility, but there are a few issues.

For starters, he can become a free agent this offseason if he declines his 2023-24 player option, so the Blazers risk losing him for nothing.

Second, Portland is in an odd spot in the standings. The Blazers are 13th in the Western Conference, and that placement would typically render a team a seller at the deadline.

However, the Blazers are just two-and-a-half games behind fifth in the parity-stricken league. One hot streak could vault the Blazers up the standings and into playoff position.

Ultimately, if Hart is generating interest around the league as Lowe noted, then the Blazers could easily get enticed into making a deal.

The Heat would make plenty of sense as a suitor. They were just one win away from the NBA Finals last year and have bounced back after a tough 7-11 start. Currently, they are 26-22 and sixth in the Eastern Conference.

For now, Hart and the Blazers will try to move on from a rough 6-13 stretch. They will host the Utah Jazz next on Wednesday.