The Miami Herald’s Ethan Skolnick and ESPN’s Mike Wallace collectively put one face to the search, naming Omri Casspi as a player the Heat has been targeting on their Tuesday radio show on 790 the Ticket. Skolnick also named Tyler Johnson as a player of interest to the Kings.
Johnson is expected to miss most or all of the season with a shoulder injury and will be a restricted free agent this summer. The potential deal could look something like this, throwing in Beno Udrih to make the financials work.
While I think the 27-year-old Casspi (42% 3FG) is a perfect fit for this roster, the question is whether his arrival would morph Miami into a contender this season. Johnson shows promise as an attacker, shooter (38% 3FG), and defender as an ideal combo guard off the bench.
But as ESPN’s Zach Lowe indicated in a column this week, Casspi is much more than just a shooter and could provide the Heat with another two-way impact player.
He can space the floor around pick-and-rolls and DeMarcus Cousins post-ups, and when opponents chase him off the line, he busts out a glorious herky-jerky floater game — complete with a Eurostep to fool help defenders…
Casspi makes the right pass, and he has a knack for cutting into open seams. He defends hard, and sprints back in transition. That makes him a unicorn in Sacramento. Casspi probably fits best as a small-ball power forward, but the Kings have been much better with him on the court this season in all sorts of lineups.
Why the Kings would even consider trading Casspi is another question. He’s apparently close buddies with superstar teammate DeMarcus Cousins and is in the first year of a two-year deal paying him a total of just $5.8 million.
Another name on the Kings to keep an eye on is Ben McLemore, a talented 22-year-old shooting 37 percent from three who’s only averaging 22 minutes a game. However adding him to the aforementioned deal is probably too much for Sacramento’s taste. It depends on how much they value Johnson.
Complicating matters is the Heat don’t have any tradable draft picks to sweeten any deal. It would theoretically work by adding in Chris Andersen’s expiring contract, but the Heat would likely need a third team to toss in a pick.
Then again, we’re dealing with the Kings, who operate similar to the Marlins. Bottomline, the Heat could do much worse than landing a two-way talent who can shoot the crap out of the ball like Omri Casspi, even if it means giving up Tyler Johnson in the process.