Miami Heat To Target Marcus Thornton Despite Joe Johnson's Successful Debut

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Feb 29, 2016 10:39 AM EST
Marcus Thornton
Former Houston Rockets' guard Marcus Thornton drives to the basket over Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers."

The Miami Heat won the Joe Johnson sweepstakes over the weekend and were rewarded with a win over the New York Knicks on Sunday. The team has been struggling to put healthy bodies on the court, and having Johnson as another weapon paid off. The guard put up nine points and three assists in 24 minutes of play. With doubt around both Tyler Johnson and Chris Bosh, the Heat needed those numbers, and they could be looking to add more firepower in the coming days.

The Heat are remaining active on the free agent market as buyouts continue, and Marcus Thornton could be their next target, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Thornton was released by the Houston Rockets following the NBA trade deadline. The point guard was barely playing with the team as Patrick Beverley, Jason Terry and Ty Lawson soaked up all of the minutes in the role. The point guard was averaging 10 points in 18.8 minutes of action, but the Rockets no longer felt he was needed.

The interest in Thornton comes after Beno Udrih was ruled out for the season with a foot injury. The point guard underwent surgery to repair an issue in his right foot. With Johnson also out, that has left the Heat short-handed at the position moving forward. Thornton could at least help with depth if brought on.

Jackson stressed the signing of Thornton will not be rushed. The team is going to see how Johnson adjusts to his role. After interest from the Cavaliers, Hawks and Rockets, Johnson said the Heat just felt right.

"Man, I had a connection with a lot of guys here," Johnson said, via ESPN.com. "D-Wade, [Amar'e Stoudemire], UD [Udonis Haslem], guys I've been in contact with. Not just throughout this process, but over the years, and I just felt it was right."

The arrival of Johnson comes as the Heat are still in the dark over Bosh, according to Michael Wallace of ESPN.com. The forward continues to receive blood thinners as owner Pat Riley told the media that he is exploring all medical options. Bosh has not been ruled out for the season despite the rumors. The Heat are hopeful their All-Star can return sooner rather than later, but for now they will continue to take a cautious approach.

"They are continuing to find ways and to explore options," Riley said. "That's probably the best way to deal with it. I'm not going to comment (further) right now."

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