NBA basketball re-entered our lives on Tuesday night.
The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the New York Knicks, 117-88, and the San Antonio Spurs knocked off the Golden State Warriors, 129-100.
Just because live action is back doesn't mean the trade rumblings have quieted around the league, though.
Below we discuss two situations to monitor.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Miami Heat are not actively looking to deal point guard Goran Dragic.
Per Stein, who cited hearing "this warning more than once this month," the Heat could decide to make the 30-year-old southpaw available if the team gets off to a slow start. With Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh no longer in town, that's a serious possibility.
Of Miami's first 13 games, only two appear easy—home against the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 1 and on the road versus the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 21. The Heat see the Spurs twice and also get the Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, among others.
Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reported on Oct. 18 that the Heat discussed a deal that would've sent Dragic to Sacramento for Darren Collison and Rudy Gay.
Per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, head coach Erik Spoelstra told Dragic directly that the rumor had "no truth."
"Spo came over and did that today," Dragic said, per Winderman. "He just said those rumors, they're not true."
That's pretty telling from Spoelstra—it's clear he wants Dragic running his offense. But it's ultimately not the coach's decision whether the team keeps or deals the point guard. If team president Pat Riley sees an opportunity, he's going to take it.
According to Stein, Dragic was dangled in an effort to reel in Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook over the summer, so it's not like he's untouchable—especially if some team wants to pony up high draft stock:
Should Miami indeed struggle out of the gate and the whispers prove true that the Heat would be willing to engage in a more drastic rebuild, it's reasonable to assume that they'll be in the market for a first-round pick or two in a theoretical Dragic deal to replace the two they surrendered to acquire him from Phoenix at the 2015 trade deadline.
Yet for now it's important to make sure you don't skim past the word theoretical.
Based on reports from Scotto and Stein, Dragic's future in Miami is far from set in stone. His departure doesn't seem like a foregone conclusion, but there's definite smoke.
On Oct. 21, ESPN's Zach Lowe reported there was interest in Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert around the league.
Specifically, Lowe pointed to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Here's his message:
Keep an eye on Iman Shumpert. Several teams, including Minnesota, have inquired about his availability in the past few weeks and gotten the impression Cleveland is ready to talk, according to several league sources. The Cavs won't salary-dump Shump for nothing, but given their tax situation, cutting payroll by a few million promises exponential savings.
After re-signing fellow former Knick J.R. Smith and bringing in Mike Dunleavy this offseason, Cleveland can survive without the defensive-minded Shump. As Lowe noted, though, Shumpert's value transcends his statistical outputs: "The Cavs need Shumpert, or at least the fully realized version of a player like him, to scamper and switch with Golden State's small lineups. Without him, they risk overtaxing Dunleavy, Richard Jefferson, and their extra bigs."
During the Cavs' opening-night victory over the Knicks, Shumpert collided with Kristaps Porzingis and exited the game. The 26-year-old took a good shot and could be diagnosed with a concussion.
Would this affect Cleveland's willingness to deal Shumpert?
It could. Should he miss time, the Cavs will be forced to learn what it's like playing without him. If they play well, it could make parting ways with the former Knick less painful.
Shumpert is due a reasonable $9 million this season, per Spotrac, with $10 million and $11 million coming his way in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Expect the rumors to kick up again after he returns from his injury, as it's a strange practice to deal hurt players.
Once he proves healthy and capable, interest should flare back up.