When the Miami Heat turned to smaller ball last season, they turned at power forward to Cheap Jae Crowder Jersey, all 235 pounds of him. He fought the good, undersized fight all the way to the NBA Finals.
With Crowder lost to the Phoenix Suns in free agency, the initial ensuing approach by coach Erik Spoelstra was to go down even further in weight class, opening with 210-pound Moe Harkless alongside Bam Adebayo in the power rotation in Monday’s preseason opener.
As in a player listed by the Heat as 20 pounds lighter than Jimmy Butler, five pounds lighter than Cheap Duncan Robinson Jersey.
According to Basketball Reference’s positional breakdowns, Harkless played 9 percent of his minutes last season at power forward, 57 percent at small forward and 34 percent at shooting guard. Over his career, only 19 percent of his minutes have come at the four.
To Spoelstra, a position is an arcane designation amid his position-less approach. Unless, of course, you’re the one designated to initially defend Zion Williamson in your Heat preseason debut.
To Harkless, who joined the Heat in free agency last month, it is a challenge he willingly accepts, but one that requires acclimatization.
“It’s different,” the 27-year-old said. “Honestly, throughout my career, even when I played the four . . . we’d kind of switch up the matchup a little bit. But I have no problem. It’s going to be a challenge to consistently guard guys giving up weight, but it’s a challenge that I’m up for.
“I have my advantages when it comes to length and speed, so I just use those advantages. Like [Monday], obviously I was giving up weight, but I was using my feet, using my arms and using my length to make things hard for him. Make it hard for him to catch the ball. That’s something that I continue to work on. That’s what they’re asking me to do, so it’s just something that I got to be good at.”
Typically, when players get a sense of their positional assignments, they adjust their training. There were times Cheap Justise Winslow Jersey attempted to get bigger when playing in the frontcourt, other times when he worked on agility when anticipating time in the backcourt. But with the quick turnaround between seasons, there barely was time for Harkless to look himself in the mirror, let alone re-sculpt.
Whether that means continuing to develop their young core and getting them to reach an even higher level or acquiring a second superstar (Cheap Bam Adebayo Jersey is an elite big man but he’s not quite on that level… yet) remains to be seen, but the latter is certainly a possibility, especially for a team that operates as the Heat have in the past, making win-now moves when they have presented themselves.
Plus, with a major Miami target Giannis Antetokounmpo, who the Heat kept cap flexibility this offseason to make a run at next summer, deciding to extend with the Milwaukee Bucks, Pat Riley and Co. could be even more focused on pivoting to find another superstar as soon as possible.
Harden could wind up being that guy.
Of course, trading for Harden won’t come cheap for whichever team does pull off the major acquisition, and Miami is no different.
So what kind of trade package could the Heat put together for the 31-year-old?
For starters, Miami would need to put together roughly $33.0 million in salaries for a Harden trade to be legal.
That would mean a Miami trade package for Harden would have to include Cheap Kelly Olynyk Jersey (making $13.6 million this season) and Andre Iguodala ($15.0 million), whose combined salaries add up to $28.6 million.
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Harkless, who is listed at 6 feet 7, said that nine seasons into his career, he believes he is what he is from a physique standpoint.
“I think you’ve got to be comfortable in your own skin,” he said. “I’m not going to change who I am. I’ve tried to put on weight before, but a lot of times it just doesn’t work, and I don’t really feel comfortable playing too heavy. I find where I’m comfortable at and I do that.
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“I don’t think I lack strength. I feel like I’m pretty strong, especially for somebody my size. So I just go in confidently with that.”
Though Monday’s debut that had him up against both Williamson and foul trouble, Harkless sees better days ahead once Cheap Jimmy Butler Jersey, Goran Dragic and Cheap Andre Iguodala Jersey are added to the mix. Those three were held out of Monday’s preseason opener, but are expected to play Friday when the Heat close out their two-game exhibition schedule, against the Toronto Raptors in Tampa.
“I think I fit pretty good,” Harkless said. “Obviously, we have to figure out how to make things work in harmony. But I think we’ll get there. I feel like we’re not far off from playing well. We didn’t have our whole team out there, either. I think I fit in really well still and I think as time goes on, it’s only going to be a better fit.”