The Miami Heat haven’t put together a successful defense of their Eastern Conference crown during the early portion of the 2023-24 NBA schedule, and an influx of talent may be necessary to push them back toward the top of the standings.
At 12-9, Miami is still in the playoff picture well before the February 8 trade deadline, but more scoring punch should be coveted with the roster struggling to live up to expectations or overcome the absences of injured stars Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley came to the rescue of the South Beach residents with his latest Miami-centric trade proposal, one that would bring in a high-scoring guard with a Sixth Man of the Year trophy on his resume who’s just one year removed from averaging 20.8 points per game.
Jordan Clarkson & Kyle Lowry Swap Places in the Latest Trade Proposal
As Buckley makes clear, the Utah Jazz aren’t yet actively shopping Jordan Clarkson, averaging 17.8 points, 4.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds for a struggling outfit during his age-31 season. However, his presence on the trade market may be imminent.
While breaking down the Los Angeles Lakers‘ options during trade season, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha explained the Purple and Gold are “still evaluating their needs and will continue to monitor the league, including potential fire sales in Toronto, Washington, Utah, Brooklyn and/or Charlotte that could make useful rotation players available.”
Utah, with just seven wins in its first 21 contests, likely won’t have any interest in parting with Lauri Markkanen or Walker Kessler. However, veteran talents such as Clarkson, John Collins and Kelly Olynyk could be available imminently.
And that’s where the Heat could swoop in.
Buckley’s proposal involves Utah sending Clarkson to the Heat for Kyle Lowry and a top-10-protected 2028 first-round pick. As he wrote, “The Heat could still use another perimeter scorer and creator, and a Clarkson trade would allow them to address those needs without depleting their assets. With Lowry on an expiring deal, the financial relief and protected pick might be enough to get Utah to bite.
“Get Clarkson to South Beach, and Miami would have one of the league’s better quick-strike scorers to either run the bench unit or play a support role with the starters. He pressures opposing defenses with his downhill driving, and he’s had full seasons during which he’s been a quantity-plus-quality shooter from distance. Between 2019-20 and 2020-21, he averaged 2.6 threes per game on 35.6 percent accuracy.”
Clarkson Would Elevate a Miami Offense Falling Outside Ideal Territory
The Miami offense under head coach Erik Spoelstra has by no means been a glaring liability, even with Jimmy Butler struggling to reach his former levels, Tyler Herro suiting up in just eight games and Adebayo out of the lineup with a persistent hip injury.
Role players such as Duncan Robinson and the unrelated Orlando Robinson have been able to step up to the proverbial plate, allowing the Heat to rank, per Basketball Reference, 18th in scoring offense and 12th in offensive rating—a discrepancy that underscores the methodical nature of their approach.
But more firepower is needed to keep pace with the Eastern Conference elites.
Lowry, to his credit, has pulled his weight during his age-37 season, playing quality perimeter defense and minimizing his mistakes while chipping in with 9.1 points per game. But that narrative could change at a moment’s notice if he stops connecting from outside the three-point arc with the same frequency. His 43.6% shooting on triples is laudable. It’s also an extreme outlier for a veteran with a career 36.8% success rate who’s coming off a year in which he hit only 34.5% of his three-point tries.
Selling high makes sense, particularly considering Utah should have interest in either his expiring $29.7 million deal or the potential to acquire more draft capital in a subsequent move with another contender.
Clarkson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a rough start in 2023-24, slashing just 41.4/31.6/83.6 en route to his 17.8 points per game. But his track record indicates that he’ll trend up when fully recovered from his current hip injury, especially if he’s surrounded by more talent and a scheme that often seems to bring out the best in ball-dominant guards.
At the very least, he’d be a quality change-of-pace option allowing Miami to attack the opposition differently, whether serving in an off-ball, cut-heavy role alongside Butler and Adebayo or handling the rock himself in a bench-heavy lineup.