Standing Pat: Why Didn’t the Miami Heat Make Any Moves

Commentary2 months ago4 min readJohn Jablonka

This was quite a disappointing trade deadline for the Miami Heat. Whatever expectations you had, I don’t think any have been met. I’d say I’m usually positive and optimistic when it comes to anything Heat-related, but even I felt annoyed once the deadline passed and the only move was using a second-round pick to get rid of Dewayne Dedmon.

I wasn’t expecting a splash, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant. I wasn’t even expecting OG Anunoby or Mikal Bridges. My expectations weren’t high and somehow they managed to disappoint me. And not-so-surprisingly, the entire Heat Twitter wasn’t happy to see this either.

But were the Heat justified in staying put and not making a single move for a player?

It’s tough to say yes, especially when now there is one less team to worry about in the playoffs now that Durant and Irving are headed to the West. Even with other teams making moves, the East is still wide open.

Sure, there are teams like the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks that are probably the favorites, but I don’t see either of them head and shoulders above the competition.

So, after not making any improvements in the off-season, it was a fair assumption to think they’ll address those needs now with so many other options — there were plenty of options.

But once all of their targets were getting involved in other trades it was slowly becoming more worrying. Time was running out, no improvements have been made, and all the players were going elsewhere, but surely they were going to make at least one move?

Nope. And I do think it was a good decision.

What were their assets to trade?

Kyle Lowry expiring next season, who has had an okay season in the first couple of months before he’s had a really rough recent stretch. Duncan Robinson, who is obviously on a bargain contract and doesn’t get consistent playing time. Three undrafted guys, two of which are free agents. And three first-round picks to trade.

Is that appealing to anyone?

When there were reports that the Los Angeles Clippers might have been interested in trading for Lowry, I didn’t get it. What does he provide at this stage that’s worth giving up quality players for him? This same thing applies to the other players that the Heat could’ve traded.

And this goes back to their contract being unappealing to any team right now. I think that was the main thing that limited the Heat in making moves. Of course, it didn’t help with Lowry having injury issues and having a rough couple of months, nor did it help that Robinson’s value has tanked significantly.

This deadline wasn’t a case of attaching picks to a player to make upgrades. Because of those contracts and production, they would’ve had to attach picks to even get off them.

I honestly don’t see how they would’ve been able to upgrade the team without having to overpay for it. Now, that’s a self-inflicted issue and a completely different conversation.

Would it have been worth attaching all three picks just to get rid of Lowry and Robinson for a marginal improvement?

That’s why I don’t see the lack of moves as something disastrous because they could’ve easily been very reactionary and overpaid for a slight upgrade just for the sake of a move.

What about making moves to sell?

That’s one of the things I don’t understand entirely. They have Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Victor Oladipo all expiring or having a player option. Unless they’re entirely sure they want to bring them back(though I don’t know if they even should) on a friendly deal, they could lose them for nothing.

I don’t think they should have made any real change to try to have better lottery odds, but it’s a move like this that could’ve made more sense for them going into the off-season.

Now going forward with the season, I do wish we could’ve addressed the starting four needs. I would’ve been ecstatic with Kelly Olynyk. That’s all I wanted.

Right now, they are the sixth seed with a 31-25 record and 2.5 games back from fifth. It’s very likely that they’ll be a top-six team and comfortably make the playoffs. I wouldn’t bet on them going deep in the playoffs, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they were able to have two competitive series with any team.

And who knows, their shooting post the All-Star break might come back to average. Once rested, they might heat up in the playoffs and if they find some shooting, I like their chances with anyone. We’ve seen them last year compete with anyone and they were shooting worse than they are now.