Boston Celtics' Eastern Conference rivals eyeing DeMar DeRozan

With the Boston Celtics securing key players, their rivals, the Miami Heat, target DeMar DeRozan in free agency
With the Boston Celtics securing key players, their rivals, the Miami Heat, target DeMar DeRozan in free agency / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

One of the Boston Celtics' biggest rivals in recent years is the Miami Heat. Both teams have bested each other in playoff series, but the Celtics are the recent winners after eliminating the Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs and then going on to win a championship.

Outside of the Celtics extending two key players, Jayson Tatum and Derrick White, both teams have quiet offseasons in terms of players on the court. This was pretty expected on the Celtics' side of things, as they look to run it back with an essentially identical roster.

However, the Heat were a team that needed to add to their roster in order to even get close to the same tier as the Celtics.

With players like Paul George and Donovan Mitchell off the board, the Heat are running out of options. But recent rumors suggest there is mutual interest between free agent DeMar DeRozan and the Heat.

DeRozan is coming off a year where he averaged 24 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds while, despite being 34 years old now, leading the league in minutes per game at 37.8. Any playoff team, including the Heat, that is able to bring him in will be extremely happy. It’s also worth noting that DeRozan has done pretty well against the Celtics in his career, averaging 21.3 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.7 rebounds against the C’s in 49 games.

If the Heat does add the three-time All-NBA forward, they still won’t (on paper) be on the Celtics' level. But the whole NBA has seen that they don’t necessarily need to be in order to take down teams viewed as higher than them.

Adding DeMar DeRozan would move Heat closer to Boston Celtics

Jimmy Butler suffered an unfortunate injury during the NBA Play-In Tournament, which hurt the Heat’s chances against the Celtics. But for the most part, Miami simply lacked the talent to match up with the Celtics with or without Butler.

Adding DeRozan doesn’t fix everything, but it really helps, as he himself is still extremely talented, and his underrated playmaking can elevate players around him. The Celtics should be hoping that DeRozan isn’t choosing South Beach as his next destination.