Heat

How High Should Heat Try in 2021 Trade Market?

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After a disastrous start to the 2020-21 season, the Miami Heat have recently stepped up their game, as they sit at a much-more-comfortable 17-17 record.

With the trade deadline looming on March 25, the Heat need to reinforce their standing among Eastern Conference contenders.

Reasons for Lackluster Start

Miami’s biggest void is at power forward. Kelly Olynyk patches the bleeding, but is otherwise inconsistent. Free-agent signing Maurice Harkless has failed to make an impact and has only appeared in 10 games. Rookie Precious Achiuwa has been great when given extended playing time, but playing alongside Bam Adebayo is a no-go.

The team desperately misses the 3-and-D presence Jae Crowder brought to the team.

Conversely, the Heat lack a true point guard– a significant reason for their initial uninspiring play. Jimmy Butler is the only player who fills the distributor role, as he accounts for 18.4% (163/887) of the team’s assists. This is a useful statistic until one realizes that Butler only played 21 of the team’s 34 games.

In the 13 games Butler has missed, the Heat have struggled mightily with playmaking. Acquiring a point guard is a box the Heat must check — through either the trade or buyout market — if they hope to compete again this postseason.

Trade Targets

With the Heat often active in the trade market, fans continue to swirl ideas. Listed below are some of the players who would alleviate the Heat’s struggles. Like the Crowder acquisition a season ago, another role player could tip the scales in Miami’s favor.

Whale Tier

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal has been in Heat trade rumors for the past year and a half. The Wizards guard is having a tremendous season, averaging a league-leading 33.2 points per game. The Wizards (13-19) have improved as of late, however, and Beal has reiterated his loyalty to DC.

While it isn’t likely Washington deals him, Beal is the best-possible fit for Miami and would elevate the team back at the Eastern Conference’s top.

Star Tier

John Collins

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins has recently entered trade rumors due to his expiring contract and Atlanta’s reluctance to re-sign him. Collins would be one of the best players that could fit next to Bam. The 6’9 power forward is prolific from behind the arc and has one of the NBA’s highest verticals. So far this season, Collins averages 18.1 points (54% FG, 39% 3PT, 85% FT) and 7.6 rebounds per game.

The video below details the team Collins would secretly love to play for.

Kyle Lowry

The answer to South Beach’s point-guard issue could be Kyle Lowry. Like Collins, Lowry’s name arose due to his contract’s pending expiration. If the Raptors sense he might walk away in free agency, it makes sense to get some compensation for him before that occurs. The ex-Villanova guard is a great friend of Jimmy Butler and is an all-around point guard.

An excellent veteran, Lowry excels in playmaking and on the defensive side of the ball. If the Heat can make this trade happen, it would take pressure out of Jimmy’s hands playmaking-wise and allow the offense to have a real playmaker. Lowry averages 18.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game this season.

Victor Oladipo

Possibly the most realistic trade target of all, Victor Oladipo almost seems destined to end up with the Heat. Though Indiana recently traded him to Houston in the four-team transaction that made Harden a Brooklyn Net, Oladipo reportedly still wants to rep the Miami Vice, per The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. Additionally, Dipo reportedly turned down a two-year, $45 million contract offer from the Rockets–the most they could offer at this time. Rumors state Oladipo has a deep love for the Heat culture, and he fits the team seamlessly. While being an impressive defender, Vic can help the squad offensively as well. The 6’4 guard is averaging 19.4 points per game.

Role-Player Tier

Thaddeus Young

As for players that could have a Crowder-like impact on Miami, Thad Young excels in all aspects of the game. The 6’8 forward is an excellent defender and can guard all frontcourt spots. Like Bam, Young is a ball-handler for the Bulls in transition. Bulls guard Zach LaVine recently called Young the “MVP of the team.” If Young became available, the Heat should go after him to solve their power-forward problem.

Young averages 11.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season.

Nemanja Bjelica

Nemanja Bjelica is another a likely trade candidate. The sizzling Serbian shooter has a 38.9% career clip from deep. Though his rebounding numbers aren’t fantastic, Bjelica will still be better than any of the Heat’s current power-forward options on the bench.

Bjelica is averaging 8.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game this season.

https://twitter.com/TheHoopCentral/status/1204242068152832000?s=20

P.J. Tucker

The 6’5 “center” from the Houston Rockets has seen his name in trade rumors since coach Mike D’Antoni‘s firing. Miami is interested in Tucker because they switch on defense often, and Tucker has positional flexibility, having played all three frontcourt slots. Tucker is one of the most premier three-point corner shooters in the NBA and brings defensive effort every play. While his performance has declined this season, a change of scenery could reignite the Tucker of old.

Tucker averages 4.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this season.

Which Option is Best?

Though the Heat are on a six-game win streak that saw them take down the red-hot Utah Jazz, Pat Riley has a big decision to make: What is the right trade to make? Whether it’s Beal, a star, or a role player, making the correct move is vital. With the Florida ball bouncing rapidly towards the trade deadline, the clock continues to diminish. Will Miami make a move to compete with the juggernauts in the East?

Follow us on Twitter @HeatLead for the latest Heat news and insight.

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