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Andre Iguodala, Heat

Grading the Heat’s splashy trade deadline move for Andre Iguodala

The Miami Heat made waves by finalizing their trade for veteran swingman Andre Iguodala prior to Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline. However, there were plenty of moving parts.

Miami agreed to trade Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and James Johnson (who was subsequently traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves) to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder. They also inked Iguodala to a two-year, $30 million extension that has a team option for the second year.

Iguodala was one of the more coveted assets readily available on the market, with both Los Angeles teams hot in pursuit and the Heat entering the fray late.

However, what are the implications of the trade for the Heat, both for this season and in the future?

Time to grade Pat Riley’s latest blockbuster.

Reliable wing presence

The most evident benefit Miami figure to get from Iguodala will be his versatility.

Iggy can play the shooting guard or slot right in at the small forward spot, which gives head coach Erik Spoelstra plenty of options in terms of lineup constructions and matchups.

More importantly, however, Iguodala’s skill set is more conducive to what the Heat need: a wing presence capable of defending at a high level and making plays for his teammates.

Derrick Jones Jr. had been excelling in this role for Miami all season. Jones is long and frequently disrupts passing lanes. However, he is a non-factor from the perimeter and is hardly the most prolific playmaker.

Iguodala, on the other hand, has proven he can knock down some perimeter shots in the biggest of moments (think Game 2 of the NBA Finals). Moreover, he can handle the rock in transition and is excellent at making the right basketball player.

The 2015 NBA Finals MVP was inserted into the starting lineup during Golden State’s playoff run last season, and he capitalized on the additional minutes. Iguodala averaged averaged close to 10 points in addition to over four rebounds and four assists per game.

His arrival gives the Heat a more reliable wing presence who can impact the game in multiple areas on the offensive end while locking up defensively.

Cap space

It might seem odd to offer a 36-year-old $30 million. However, Miami possess that crucial team option in year two of Iggy’s deal. More importantly, they freed up a ton of cash.

By getting Winslow, Waiters and Winslow off the books, the Heat opened up over $41 million in cap space for next year and more than $54 million in total. Crowder and Hill are both on expiring contracts, meaning their arrival has no bearing on what the Heat can do in the future.

The above factor is absolutely crucial when considering the Heat have been linked to pursuing Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal via trade and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo when he becomes a free agent in 2021 (if he does not sign a supermax extension).

In essence, Riley found a way to improve Miami’s chances of contending this year while also giving the Heat tons of cap flexibility to make a splash in the future.

It’s a pretty genius move from one of the best in the business.

Grade: A+