With the Miami Heat fresh off a big Game 3 win over the Celtics in Boston, fans have to feel good about the club’s current direction. Whether the Heat advance to the NBA Finals and win the championship or not, though, team president Pat Riley will undoubtedly be exploring his options this offseason.
As the old saying goes, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. Moreover, the Heat have shown time and time again that they’re willing to push a lot of chips to the center of the table if it means bolstering the team’s star quotient.
To that end, one Eastern Conference executive recently told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that Miami could be interested in making a push for LA Lakers big man and eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis, should he become available. Even as some have opined that Davis’ value has dipped.
“He is an elite talent and he is 29 years old. Everybody wants him, everybody thinks that if they get their hands on him, they can keep him healthy, etc., etc.,” the exec said. “Phoenix, Miami, any team that really wants to take that next step. The injury is a risk but the payoff you get if you can keep him on the floor is worth it.”
With that in mind, here’s a hypothetical deal to get Davis to South Beach (if you’re into that kind of thing)…
Blockbuster Makes AD a Miami Man
In order to facilitate Davis’ Miami move and create what would instantly be one of the Association’s nastiest frontcourt combinations in him and Bam Adebayo, we’re proposing the following trade:
- LA Lakers receive PG Kyle Lowry, G/F Duncan Robinson, C Omer Yurtseven, a 2022 first-round pick & a 2026 second-round pick (via OKC, Dal or PHI)
- Miami Heat receive F/C Anthony Davis and G Kendrick Nunn (opt-in)
Let’s address the elephant in the room right up front. To see the Heat reacquire Nunn for Lowry just a year after having pulled his qualifying offer as part of the process to trade for the six-time All-Star would be a wild turn of events. Alas, Lowry’s contract is necessary for salary matching.
Moreover, Lowry missed 19 regular-season games and has appeared in less than half of the Heat’s playoff games while dealing with a dreaded soft-tissue injury. And between the returning fave in Nunn and current backup Gabe Vincent — who grew by leaps and bounds as a point guard this season — you can probably replace a lot of the 36-year-old’s production at a substantially lower price.
Additionally, Heat Nation may have a ton of love for Robinson and Yurtseven but neither is playing any kind of role in Miami’s current title chase.
On the other end, Davis continues to be an elite talent when healthy, having averaged 23.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.2 steals per contest in 2021-22. In theory, his pairing with Adebayo would make the Heat even more formidable defensively, while giving them another A-grade weapon to help boost their occasionally sagging offense.
Finally, the Heat actually save nearly $4 million on the deal next season.
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What the Lakers Stand to Gain
Setting his health situation aside, as good as Davis is when he’s on the floor, his monster deal — combined with those of LeBron James and Russell Westbrook — makes it nigh impossible for Los Angeles to improve its roster. And make no mistake, this roster needs improvement.
By pulling the trigger on this trade, the Lakers add the floor-spacer they desperately need in Robinson and a point guard in Lowry who either A) flows with LeBron and makes the team’s offense hum like Westbrook couldn’t or B) becomes a very tradeable asset after next season.
Also — even though both players are signed to deals that go beyond 2023-24, the Lakers are actually freeing up money in the long-term by having them instead of AD, who will make $37.9 million next season, $40.6 million the following year and a whopping $43 million in 2024-25 (provided he doesn’t exercise his ETO).
This deal isn’t just about saving cash or bringing in B-level support players, though. The Lakers also get a really nice prospect in Omer Yurtseven and draft assets.
Yurtseven didn’t play a ton this season for the Heat but he’s only 23 and, when given minutes, he played incredibly well. Over a 10-game stretch in December/January when Miami was being crushed by COVID-19, he averaged 13.6 points, 13.9 rebounds and 1.0 steals per contest while shooting 54.5% from the field and 50% from deep.
In short, he could be the team’s center of the not-so-distant future.
Really, picks and players like Yurtseven are what the Lakers should be in the market for, as opposed to the aging former All-Stars and/or overpaid players they’ve brought in recently.