The Miami Heat have had a tough start to the 2022-23 season, even as they currently find themselves turning things around. The Heat are just 16-15, which may not seem very good, but currently has them in the seventh seed of the Eastern Conference, which is a lot better than being outside the playoff picture entirely, which was their dilemma not too long ago.
Despite having a fairly similar team to last season when they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat have not seen the same results early on this season. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are still one of the best duos in the league, but the supporting cast around them has not delivered in the early going this season.
The Heat have looked better as of late, but they are going to need to make some improvements if they want to make another deep playoff run this season, and the easiest way to make those improvements is through the trade market. The trade deadline is still rather far away, but let’s take a look at some early predictions for the Heat’s dealings as the deadline nears.
2. Get rid of Duncan Robinson
Duncan Robinson has had quite a fall from grace for the Heat over the past two seasons. Robinson became one of the most lethal three-point shooters in the game, and while he wasn’t particularly good at anything else, that was good enough to earn him a five-year, $90 million contract from the Heat prior to the 2021-22 season.
All Robinson has done is go from being a crucial piece of their rotation to an afterthought on the back of their bench. Robinson shot a blistering 44.6 percent from behind the arc in the 2019-20 season, which was a big reason the Heat made it all the way to the Finals that season. But ever since then, Robinson’s three-point shooting has continually gotten worse.
It’s been a bit strange to see, but when Robinson isn’t hitting shots, he really has no purpose being on the court for the Heat. Miami has essentially replaced Robinson with Max Strus, and they have been looking to trade Robinson from pretty much the moment he signed his extension with them.
It’s safe to say the team made a mistake signing Robinson to such an extensive contract, because it has made it increasingly difficult to not only keep him on the bench, but move him in a trade as well. Robinson could have some value for a team looking to improve its three-point shooting, but he is hitting just 32 percent of his threes this season, so it seems unlikely the Heat would get much in return for him. Still, it feels like it’s time for Miami to cut their losses with Robinson and move on for good.
1. Bring D’Angelo Russell on board
The main problem with the Heat is that the players they managed to find production from last season have largely regressed this season. It’s not totally surprising, as guys like Robinson and Gabe Vincent were playing well above what anyone was expecting from them at one point or another for the Heat over the past few seasons. And Miami has gotten burned by relying on these players too heavily.
The problem is they are married to these players for the most part, which means it’s going to be tough to truly improve as long as they are sticking with these guys. However, a potential avenue for the Heat to unload some of their spare parts and pick up a true guard to come in and help run their offense exists in D’Angelo Russell on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Russell is a true point guard, and he operates like one for a Timberwolves team that seemingly wants nothing to do with him for whatever reason. Russell’s numbers this season (17 PPG, 6.4 APG, 3.1 RPG, 47.1 FG%, 37.4 3P%) are pretty solid, which is why it’s so confusing that his name keeps on popping up in trade rumors.
The Heat have been linked to Russell lately, and making a move for him would make a lot of sense. Russell can create shots for himself and others, which is something Miami doesn’t have enough of. They have guys in Butler and Tyler Herro who can create for themselves, but they don’t have a true facilitator who can run their offense, despite Butler and Kyle Lowry’s best efforts.
Adding Russell would fill Miami’s two biggest offensive needs in just one move, which is why it’s something the Heat should be considering now even though the trade deadline is still so far away. They have shown signs of turning the corner recently, but if they really want to make a title run this season, they could use some help on offense, and Russell could be the perfect fit for them.