The Miami Heat went into the offseason planning to add a star through free agency or trade. They’ve been named as a possible landing spot for Joel Embiid and in the discussion in the Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes.
Miami might not be able to reel in one of those MVP-caliber players. However, they should attempt to land Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets, according to a July 10 opinion piece by Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, because the Heat so far have been what Favale called one of free agency’s “biggest losers.”
“P.J. Tucker fled Miami for the Philadelphia 76ers. … The Heat have nobody to replace Tucker, and their apparent attempt to skirt the luxury tax doesn’t bode well for any late-summer free-agency miracles,” Favale wrote. “Surfing the non-superstar trade market may also be out of the question. Miami isn’t surrendering any first-round equity without knowing whether it’s out of the ongoing Kevin Durant or widely-expected-not-yet-underway Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes.”
Proposed Eric Gordon Trade
What would Favale’s hypothetical trade between the Heat and Rockets look like?
Miami Would Get: Eric Gordon, Kenyon Martin Jr.
Houston Would Get: Gabe Vincent, Haywood Highsmith, Duncan Robinson, 2027 first-round pick (pending obligation to Oklahoma City; top 10 protection)
The Heat would get a pretty good return: a proven playmaker, an underrated prospect and an opportunity to shed an enormous contract.
First, Miami would benefit from the playmaking and scoring ability of 14-year veteran guard Eric Gordon, who averaged 13.4 points a game on 47% shooting. His accuracy and ability to create his own shots could be beneficial for the Heat, taking some of the pressure off of Heat star Jimmy Butler.
“He gives them someone to space the floor away from the ball and bulldoze his way to the basket on downhill attacks,” Favale wrote about Gordon, who is halfway through a four-year, $76 million contract. “The half-court offense would be much better off.”
Martin, meanwhile, is what Favale called “a pseudo-Tucker replacement.” He’s only 21 years and has shown flashes of potential in his short career as an NBA forward. He averaged 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 21 minutes in 79 appearances for the Rockets. In June, Kelly Iko of The Athletic wrote that Martin’s “combination of age, athleticism and untapped potential” makes him “attractive” to teams around the NBA.
Lastly, Miami would shed the expensive Duncan Robinson contract. Robinson, 28, signed a five-year, $90 million deal in August 2021 that essentially pays him $16 million a year to be a role player. In his third season as a regular contributor, Robinson had career lows in points-per-game average (10.9), field goal percentage (40%) and 3-point percentage (37%).
Does This Trade Benefit the Heat?
In Favale’s hypothetical trade, the Heat would give up decent potential in Gabe Vincent, who proved to be a quality backup point guard for the Heat as well as Haywood Highsmith, a third-year player with limited playing time but strong potential as a player who could fill Tucker’s role.
While Gordon and Martin Jr. may not be the most exciting additions when considering that names such as Durant, Embiid and Mitchell being potentially available, they still fill needs for the Heat.
Recently, Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik commented on a possible Mitchell trade insisting the Jazz have “no intent” to trade their young superstar. And Mitchell likely wont force his way out of Utah, according to recent reports. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on Thursday’s episode of Get Up” that Mitchell’s plan is to “stand pat” and not try to “force any action right now” with the franchise in transition.