Grading the trade for the Miami Heat
The Miami Heat spent the entire offseason seemingly banking on acquiring Portland superstar, Damian Lillard. And to make matters worse, the Heat had no real contingency plan in place if the trade failed to come to fruition.
Lillard was traded to Milwaukee and Miami remained stagnant throughout the entirety of the offseason. Despite reaching the NBA Finals a season ago, the Heat failed to improve the roster in the offseason.
Miami lost starters, Max Stus and Gabe Vincent in free agency. And to offset the losses, Miami signed Josh Richardson and drafted Jaime Jaquez Jr. in the draft.
While Miami did reach the NBA Finals, they did so after barely making the postseason. The Heat entered the playoffs as an eighth seed after they finished the regular season with a 44-38 record. Adding Lillard to a finals team seemed like a surefire way to make yet another deep playoff run.
However, after failing to acquire Lillard, the Heat are yet again linked to another star player on the market, Zach LaVine. And a Miami lineup including LaVine looks seamless on paper.
LaVine would slide right into the spot that Tyler Herro once occupied in this mock trade. LaVine's combination of athleticism and 3-point shooting would do wonders for Miami's offense.
Moreover, the Heat also have the perfect defensive scheme and numerous quality defenders to make up for LaVine's flaws on the less glamorous end.
The only argument in this trade is LaVine's value. How high does Miami value a player who isn't much better than Herro? Also, a player who's five years older than Herro.
In this scenario, it's likely the Heat still have their sights set on a big name. And LaVine fills that void for Miami. He's a two-time All-Star and has averaged more than 24 points per game in four straight seasons.
Potential starting lineup: Kye Lowry, Zach LaVine, Jimmy Butler, Haywood Highsmith, Bam Adebayo
While LaVine fits nicely in the Heat's lineup, he's not a massive upgrade over Herro. This season, their averages are nearly the same, and Herro is five years younger.
The Heat receive a C+ for this trade. Acquiring LaVine for only one unprotected draft pick is a win, but exchanging Herro for LaVine doesn't move the needle as it should.