The Miami Heat have been on fire since the All-Star break, and they’re looking to regain their championship form and compete for the title again this year. The Heat had a historic run in the bubble last season and are looking to make upgrades, with that already underway thanks to the Trevor Ariza trade.
There are some pitfalls the Heat will need to avoid, though, if they hope to contend this year and beyond.
Mistake No. 1: Thinking Ariza solves all
The Heat trading for Trevor Ariza helps solve an issue they were facing. The Heat are missing Jae Crowder, who filled a two-way stretch-4 role for the Heat in their Finals run last year. Ariza was a good player to acquire in an attempt to fill this role, but he’s not perfect.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ariza has not played a second of NBA basketball. He missed the bubble with personal reasons and sat out for the Thunder before this deal. Buying low on Ariza makes a lot of sense because they had to give up basically nothing to do it, but the Heat should not get complacent and should continue looking for talent to help fill this role. Ariza might be completely calcified and have no ability to help the Heat in the playoffs, so the Heat should continue scouring the trade market.
Mistake No. 2: All in on now
The Heat have a lot of exciting young players on the roster, especially for a team that just made the Finals. Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Precious Achiuwa are all excellent long-term bets to help the team continue to be great after Jimmy Butler ages out of stardom.
Herro is a name that has been floated around by some media members in trade talks, but the Heat should avoid this unless it’s for a legitimate star player. Herro has the potential to be a star in this league, so mortgaging that potential star power for a role player now might be a move the Heat look back on with disdain.
Mistake No. 3: Playing Bam a lot at the 4
In many trade circles, the Heat have been linked to some centers in the league. This would be a huge mistake for the Heat to make. Bam Adebayo spends a somewhat significant amount of time at the 4 throughout the regular season, but in the playoffs, Adebayo is best at the 5 as a switchy defender and hand-off partner with Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro. This advantage is mitigated when he’s placed next to another 5 because he’s relegated to a more constant perimeter defender and help-side rim protector instead of a guy who’s constantly guarding the pick-and-roll and mucking things up for the opposing team.
So, with all this naysaying, what should the Heat do? Here’s one trade that makes a lot of sense for the Heat.
Miami Heat receive: Harrison Barnes, Daquan Jeffries, and Jahmi’us Ramsey
Sacramento Kings receive: Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, Maurice Harkless, a 2025 lottery protected first-round Pick, and a 2027 top-10 protected first-round pick
This trade solves the Heat’s stretch-4 issue by getting Harrison Barnes, who also provides some playmaking and slashing ability. Barnes is on a more than reasonable contract, and the salary matching works well with Olynyk and Bradley. This move would allow the Heat to make a Finals push this year without giving up the future to do it.