With the Miami Heat entering the 2021 NBA Playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, fans can practically smell the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That’s not to say, though, that the club couldn’t benefit from a roster upgrade or two.
To that end, it’s probably a safe bet that team president Pat Riley will be ready and willing to make a major move this offseason — should the opportunity to do so present itself — regardless of whether or not Miami brings home title No. 4.
And, as Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz sees it, there may be a big-time deal to strike with the lottery-bound Kings, who have plenty of work to do themselves if they hope to end a 16-year playoff drought next season.
In a piece identifying hypothetical trades for teams that missed the play-in tournament — in this case, Sacramento — Swartz pitched a move that would see a 16 PPG scorer land in South Beach.
Proposed Deal Brings Harrison Barnes to the Heat
The trade that the hoops scribe has suggested stacks up as follows:
- Sacramento Kings receive: F Max Strus, G/F Duncan Robinson
- Miami Heat receive: F Harrison Barnes
Obviously, losing a breakout performer in Strus, not to mention an elite shooter and fan favorite in Robinson, would be no small thing for the Heat. However, Barnes may be the rare star player who is A) worth such a price and B) obtainable without having to throw in a bunch of additional assets.
Barnes would give the Heat an upgrade in the starting lineup over Robinson. Barnes averaged 16.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and hit 39.4 percent of his threes this year.
The deal would keep Miami in the title hunt next year while also clearing future salary cap.
The inside-out combination of Barnes and Bam Adebayo would give the Heat one of the better frontcourts in the Association next season. Moreover, the former’s payout for next season is very reasonable at just over $18 million.
From there, the Heat could re-up with him at a similar rate, which is probably a better move than paying a premium for Robinson — who shot under 40% from the field in 2021-22 — every year until 2026.
Or, the Heat could simply allow Barnes’ deal to come off the books in 2023, which would definitely make Tyler Herro’s inevitable extension more palatable from a luxury tax standpoint.
As for the Kings, they acquire a pair of building-block pieces while getting something back for the expiring Barnes, who probably has eyes for a title contender.
The Kings will need to add some help on the wing if they want to finally reach the playoffs next year, and they shouldn’t be afraid to take on long-term money to do so.
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Bam’s Big Goal
Although his regular season was marred somewhat by injury, Adebayo nonetheless had a stellar year for the Heat. Over 56 games, he averaged a career-best 19.1 points per contest while adding 10.1 boards, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals. Along the way, he made himself a top contender for DPOY honors.
Clearly, though, Adebayo has bigger fish to fry, i.e. securing a spot on Miami’s Mount Rushmore.
“I picture my way is like D-Wade’s,” Adebayo said during an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Ashley Nicole Moss. “He’s the greatest player ever to walk through and have on a Heat jersey. When I retire, that’s how I want to feel. I want it to feel like it was D-Wade and it was Bam, the two greatest to ever wear a Heat jersey.”