2. Miami Heat
The problem for the Rockets is that the far better player in this situation is Adebayo but he is one of the most difficult players in the league to trade due to a league quirk. The Heat recently extended Adebayo to a five-year max-extension that will kick in once his rookie deal comes to an end at the conclusion of this season.
Adebayo is scheduled to earn $5.1 million this season before seeing that number jump to $28.1 million next season. If the Heat were to trade him they would see his $5.1 million salary come off their books, but his salary cap hit for the receiving team would be in excess of $30 million.
The salary cap math, if Adebayo is moved to the Rockets, would all but guarantee a third team being called in to absorb salaries. The Heat could also use Tyler Herro to try and tempt the Rockets but any deal headlined by him would be considered a light return.
Herro was good in his rookie season and had some entertaining playoff performances but he is no lock to be an All-Star and he is the type of player that fans tend to overvalue. He will never be a two-way player and he hasn’t shown pre natural playmaking skills either.
He has potential as a scorer but at the moment that’s about it. If he goes out and shows growth to start the season then maybe the calculus changes but at the moment he alone is not going to get the Heat James Harden.
The Heat have the assets to get Harden but it remains to be seen if they have the motivation. Factor in that Jimmy Butler plays the same position and is an exceptional offensive focal point and it’s not necessarily clear the Heat would want to mortgage their future to bring in Harden for two seasons.
The Heat want James Harden because everyone wants James Harden, but they don’t appear motivated to part with Adebayo to land him and Herro probably won’t be enough. The Rockets should keep close tabs on the Heat though because in a moment of weakness they could pry a fantastic return from Miami.
Next: Team number 1