Here’s a question the Heat will face for the next five months now that they know for sure what already seemed obvious: Miami won’t land Kevin Durant:
Is it worth trading a future first-round pick as part of a package to get good, but not great, power to replace PJ Tucker bound for Philadelphia?
Or would the Heat be better off holding on to all of their valuable draft stock to dangle in an All-Star deal, and go ahead with Caleb Martin (and some Jimmy Butler) up front?
Among the tough strikers that could be spared, there are a couple that stops thinking: Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic, the type to score big and shoot three exceptional points that would spread the floor around Pam Adebayo and Butler; and John Collins, a better striker who was said to be available at least to some degree.
Ultimately, the show here doesn’t require a first-round pick, because it would take the Heat out of the star market, and because it would likely require a contract trade (Duncan Robinson) that could help smooth the trade for said superstar. With Collins, there are financial concerns, too.
Furthermore, I would doubt Utah or Atlanta’s desire to burden themselves with the Robinson deal, which has only four years and $74.3 million left, with a guarantee of $65 million of it.
There is no indication that Utah is shopping for Bogdanovic, who is worth $19.5 million in an expired contract. But jazz is rebuilding, and no player is off limits it seems.
Bogdanovic averaged 18.1 points and 4.3 rebounds last season while shooting 38.7 percent on triples. He’s mostly played as a junior striker in his career but moved to center forward last season in this modern game where the traditional ‘triples’ turned into fours.
He’s running a career-high 39.2 percent in shooting triples and has averaged between 18 and 20.1 points in each of the past four seasons, one with Indiana and three with Utah. But defense is certainly not strength.
If Utah gets Robinson’s contract, the Jazz would presumably want more than one first player anyway. But this is an option worth exploring if it can be done without first trading the manager or if Hit is looking for help on the trade deadline.
Under no circumstances would it make sense to include Phoenix’s first manager Jae Crowder, who is entering the final year of his contract. From a maximum facilitation point of view, there is no clear match for Heat’s salary in any of Crowder’s proposal anyway.
Crowder is still a great option, but it does take some creativity in how the trade is crafted.
Harrison Barnes of Sacramento (16.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 39.4 on triples last season) would fit in. And while there has been speculation that royalty might make it available, there is no evidence for that.
He’s on an expired contract, worth $18.3 million this season. But is it worth his first-round pick, Robinson and perhaps another asset?
Collins (16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds in 54 games) would make the Heat better, but his contract would be painful; He’s worth $23.5 million, $25.3 million, and $26.6 million over the next three seasons, with a player option worth $26.6 million for 2025-26. That’s a lot for a player who isn’t an All-Star.
This deal will likely put the Heat in luxury tax territory this season and into the future, assuming Miami gives a lucrative extension to Tyler Hero.
A Collins deal involving Robinson, Nikola Jovic and the No. 1 pick would work in the future from a maximum standpoint, but there would be little incentive for the Hawks to do so, and it’s hard to see the Heat give up the champ for the good – but not the great – power forward not a good defender And you’ll pay them a luxury tax.
Indiana Miles Turner, who is worth $18 million in an expired contract, would give the Heat a big and top blocker with a game of showdown. But there would be little incentive to rebuild the Pacers to take on the final four years of Robinson’s contract.
Even a first-round pick and Jovich may not be enough to tempt the Pacers to face Robinson, and it is questionable whether Miami would be wise to suspend a first-round selection, given Turner’s contract expiration and limitations in his offensive play.
Here’s an important point about Turner, who averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in just 42 games last season: While he has a three-point game, he doesn’t have an effective three-point game.
Last season, he made 1.5 three-pointers per game, but only hit 33.3 percent after making fewer than 33.5 percent and 34.4 percent of three-pointers in the previous two seasons.
Conversely, Collins shot 36.4 percent of his triples last season and 37.6 percent of his career.
“For me, Collins would be best suited to Pam’s side,” said one Western Scout.
“He’s more dynamic offensively than Turner, and he can make space on the ground better. With Turner, the offense is more complex and more specific where Bam can set up and run. You want Bam in the middle of the mail area.
“You can make it work with Turner, but I don’t think it’s a great fit. With Collins, he can do a lot offensively. But he’s not for everyone. He’s a free spirit. And he’s not great defensively.”
The Pacers were reportedly seeking two first-round picks from the Lakers in a proposed deal involving Indiana Turner, Buddy Heald and Russell Westbrook’s expiring contract.
Consider this, too: A report from NBA writer Michael Scotto this week said Turner is seeking more than $20 million annually in a new deal. That’s a lot of money for a player who isn’t in the all-star discussion.
The point is here, as we’ve said: Don’t rush into trading the first option in the future – something you may need when the next disgruntled superstar appears – for most of these players. Bogdanovic, Collins and Turner will all help you out, but it all comes with problems – Bogdanovic’s defense, Collins holding, and Turner’s uneven shot as a supposedly large “stretch”.
Crowder could eventually turn out to be the most convenient temporary solution, provided it doesn’t cost a first-class Heat.
News to note
For those wondering about the Heat’s addition of strength forward in Free Agency, this seems unlikely. The Heat will pass the luxury tax threshold if you sign the 15th player to any type of contract, even a minimal deal.
The best player in the power rotation with the remaining free agent is probably former sixth player Montrezel Harrell, but he’s not the kind of big-time Eric Spoelstra to play alongside Adebayo.
On Wednesday, felony marijuana-smuggling charges for Harrell were reduced to misdemeanor possession in Madison (Kentucky) County Court. The charges will be expunged from his record after 12 months if Harrell has not been charged with a crime within that time.
Jersey has been added
In 20 games this season, the Heat plans to wear classic jerseys the team wore from 1988 to 1999. They will go on sale in Heat retail stores this fall. Miami used these throwback shirts in 2015-16.
This story was originally published August 31, 2022 4:39 pm.