NBA rumors: Miami Heat to pursue Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins

By Vincent Frank
Feb 9, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) controls the ball while defended by Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (R) during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Mired in a pretty slow start to the season, NBA rumors have linked the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat to numerous players on the trade block.

Winners of seven out of their past 10, the Heat have righted the ship to an extent. In no way does that mean front office head Pat Riley is happy with his roster in its current iteration.

Previously linked to the likes of Victor Oladipo on the trade market, Miami could very well turn to the buyout market as an alternative leading up to the March 25 NBA trade deadline. That includes two big-name former All-Stars.

Read More: NBA trade rumors: Latest updates leading up to the March 25 deadline

NBA rumors point to Miami Heat being interested in Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins

NBA rumors: Blake Griffin, Miami Heat
Feb 11, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) controls the ball against Indiana Pacers guard Aaron Holiday (3) during the second quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported recently that the Heat are interested in both big men, only if they were to hit the buyout or free-agent market.

At this point, it’s safe to assume the Detroit Pistons will not be able to trade Griffin. He’s been sitting as the two sides attempt to hash things out as it relates to a departure.

Read More: Blake Griffin and the 5 most overrated NBA trade targets

Griffin, 31, is a shell of his former self. The six-time All-Star is averaging a mere 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 37% shooting from the field.

He’s been an injury-plagued enigma since last earning an All-Star appearance during the 2018-19 season. Meanwhile, Griffin has a contract option for $38.96 million he’s going to exercise for next season. Simply put, he is not a tradable commodity.

Even then, NBA rumors will link Griffin to a number of contending teams. While he’s not the star player we saw with the Los Angeles Clippers, the power forward could provide scoring in bursts moving forward.

The Heat have been relying on rookie first-round pick Precious Achiuwa and the unimpressive Kelly Olynyk to hold down the fort at power forward this season. After some initial success, Achiuwa has hit the proverbial first-year wall.

Read More: Miami Heat trade targets: 3 big players that can solve Miami’s defensive issues

DeMarcus Cousins and other Miami Heat options

DeMarcus Cousins, Los Angeles Lakers rumors
Feb 11, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins (15) looks on against the Miami Heat during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photos-USA TODAY Sports

As for DeMarcus Cousins, Miami could pursue him once he officially clears waivers. As with Griffin, Cousins is not his pre-injury self. With that said, he looked pretty good in limited action with the Houston Rockets prior to the two sides agreeing on a divorce. Cousins, 30, is averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in 25 games this season.

Despite being hard-capped, there’s a reason Miami has been linked to various moves over the past several weeks. The team’s initial struggles combined with Riley’s aggressive nature adds another layer to this.

Read More: 5 ideal DeMarcus Cousins destinations

These Heat also have about $5 million to spend after being granted a disabled-player exception stemming from the season-ending injury Meyers Leonard sustained earlier in February. Both Griffin and Cousins, should they hit the market, could be added through that avenue.

This would also lead to further NBA rumors suggesting a trade could be in the cards in South Beach. Neither move would prevent the Heat from pulling off a separate trade, using other assets to upgrade what has been an underperforming roster thus far this season.

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