Though they finished first in the East just a year ago, something feels amiss for the Miami Heat. The club is eighth in the Eastern Conference, part of a lower tier of playoff hopefuls that include the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, and Atlanta Hawks.
That’s not the company Miami is used to keeping; in most years, Miami is jockeying for position with the conference’s power players — the Bucks, Sixers, and Celtics. This makes Miami’s path forward over the next month murky. Do they try for a big swing? Do they stand pat? Do they try to improve on the margins? Some teams are definite buyers. Some are sellers. The Heat exists in an unknown middle.
But if you ask Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, the answer isn’t that difficult.
“We talked to Spo before the game about whether or not the Heat needed to add somebody, add another piece,” TNT broadcaster Stan Van Gundy said during Miami’s game against the Thunder. “And he really doesn’t think so — they just need to get whole.”
The Heat could certainly benefit from better injury luck. As it stands, Miami’s top lineup has played fewer than 200 possessions together, with injuries limiting the team’s playing time together.
Heat Interested in John Collins
Though Spoelstra might not be too concerned about any trade additions, it doesn’t mean the Heat haven’t been linked to anyone.
Recently, the Heat were reported to have an interest in forward John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks.
“John Collins, too, the Heat are one of the teams watching that situation, but they probably need more young assets to send back. Everyone talks about the Lakers’ 2027 pick but (Miami’s 2027 pick) is one that the Heat can trade as well, and there is a lot of value being placed on that pick because you can imagine them hitting a bottom around then. Is it enough to help them get Collins? Probably not but it is a good asset for them,” an Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney recently.
This sounds much more like the Miami Heat we’ve come to know and love (unless you live in Boston): sacrificing whatever young assets and draft capital it has to bring in a decent option to keep the team competitive.
Collins is a perennial member of the NBA’s trade block. The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon is having a down year, with his 13.3 points per game the lowest since his rookie year.
Could the Heat Pass on This Season?
But what if Miami decides to go Spo’s route and let the trade deadline pass quietly?
It’s not a part the Heat are accustomed to playing, but every great franchise goes through some form of a rebuild eventually. And according to Deveney, the Heat could look to move Duncan Robinson to the Dallas Mavericks for future draft capital that could be crucial in setting up Miami’s next move.
“And Dallas is a team that had an interest (in Duncan Robinson), maybe they will again. If they were to swap out Robinson for Davis Bertans with the Heat getting a draft pick, Miami could use the pick in another deal. Robinson is a better player and might get himself back on track playing with Luka. Bertans has a shorter deal (three years, with Robinson’s deal going four years). It would work out for everyone if the Heat can get another player for the pick,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney.
By getting off of Robinson’s contract, the Heat would ostensibly leave one of the franchise’s worst contract decisions in the dust. But in Bertans, the Heat would take back another contract dud, albeit a shorter one, which the executive noted.