While he’s not in the same stratosphere as Ben Simmons, Jerami Grant, et al. where trade chatter is concerned, Miami Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson’s name has come up surprisingly often recently for a guy who just inked a $90 million extension.
Given the season that he’s having, though, the rumors are hardly a shocker. For the year, Robinson is hitting on just 39.7% of his shots overall and 36.1% from deep — his lowest marks since year one as a pro. Meanwhile, he’s just 3-of-19 over his last three games, all of which were Heat losses.
And the team has been 4.1 points per 100 possessions better with him off the floor this season.
If the Beantowners do indeed have interest in Robinson, and the Heat also have buyer’s remorse — which may be dicey propositions, but we’ll go with it — here’s a deadline deal that could work for both sides; one that would net Miami an old fave and a high-scoring combo guard.
Josh Richardson Returns in Trade
The Duncan-centric deal at hand would shake out as follows:
- Boston Celtics get: Duncan Robinson and KZ Okpala
- Miami Heat receive: Josh Richardson and Dennis Schroder
For a pair of cash-strapped teams that may have difficulty making big moves at the trade deadline, the financials on both sides this trade are practically dead even. And where Miami is concerned, the club improves its future cap situation by bringing on a pair of shorter-term deals.
However, the deal has the potential to be a boon for the title-chasing Heat, too.
During his run in South Beach from 2015 to 2019, Richardson looked like a player who could become one of the better two-way wings in the Association. However, he has played for four different teams in the last four years and saw a big regression in his efficacy from deep.
This year, though, he’s playing more efficiently than he has in years, rocking an effective field goal percentage of 53.5 and flirting with 40% from deep. That, combined with the fact that he actually defends and has a more varied skill set than Robinson offensively, could make him a more useful piece for a Heat team that has been essentially winning without the sharpshooter this season.
As for Schroder, the veteran guard could bolster the Heat’s backcourt scoring and bench attack in a big, bad way. His presence would also allow Tyler Herro to play more off-ball when they share the court, something he has done a lot less of in 2021-22.
Finally, the team wouldn’t have to be placing any eggs in the basket of Victor Oladipo, who may or may not be a shell of his former self once he returns.
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Why the Celtics Would Do It
Where Boston is concerned, this deal would be one for next season and beyond. It’s also a means of cashing in on some assets that don’t have a long-term future with the franchise.
For his part, Schroder is looking at major pay raise over the summer; the market isn’t going to back him into a corner for a second straight offseason. And the Celtics aren’t going to be able to pay the shot creator what’s coming to him. As such, it’s imperative that team president Brad Stevens gets something out of him, even if they take a step back this season.
Richardson is in a somewhat similar situation. The Celtics extended his current deal for an additional year, but they likely don’t view him as a long-term piece.
By swapping them for Robinson — assuming the Heat star returns to form — they’ll receive a core piece with an elite-level skill in shooting. Although he’s not much of a ball-mover — which has been a problem for the Cs — Boston’s stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown may be more apt to cough up the rock themselves if they’re hitting one of the league’s deadliest marksmen.
In turn, Robinson could open up a lot of room on the floor for Tatum, Brown and the rest of the Celtics to operate offensively.
Again, this is assuming a level of interest in Robinson on Boston’s part. If that’s not there, adding a contract like Robinson’s makes little sense.
As relates to Okpala, the forward has yet to crack a spot in Erik Spoelstra’s rotation. However, he’s still very young and has impressive physical tools and, theoretically, a lot of upside. Until the Celtics are in a position to make a major splash, he’s exactly the kind of player they should be targeting as an asset or developmental piece.