Jae Crowder, while he only played in twenty games for the Miami Heat, made an impression on Heat fans, and likely they made one on him. Crowder has been publicly flirting with potentially returning to South Beach ahead of and during his current dispute with the Phoenix Suns. After losing his starting role with the Suns, Crowder has been seeking a path out of the desert, and the Heat have been one of the teams most in consideration for facilitating a trade. On December 12, Shams Charania of The Athletic shared a report that momentum could build for the two sides to get a deal done.
“The Hawks and Heat also are interested in Crowder, and Miami is expected to have a re-energized pursuit soon because it has a slew of players, such as Dewayne Dedmon and Victor Oladipo, available to be traded starting January 15,” Charania wrote for The Athletic.
Somehow despite the Heat having very few tradable assets this season, they have been in a surprising number of trade rumors. However, that will soon change when Caleb Martin becomes eligible to be traded on December 15 and Dewayne Dedmon and Victor Oladipo become available in January. Will this be enough to get the deal done? Could they include the albatross of a contract that Duncan Robinson has? Would they move Max Strus? It’s hard to see how this deal gets done with Phoenix, but they have already been reported to be interested in Max Strus.
Heat Frontcourt Depth Could ‘Derail’ Their Season
Despite the fact that the Heat will have more players to trade in the coming weeks in a potential Crowder deal, another reason they could look to make a trade for Crowder is to add much-needed depth to their frontcourt. One Eastern Conference Executive recently told Heavy Sports that the “high-wire act” in the Heat’s frontcourt could potentially derail their season after being asked if the Heat need to add depth at big man.
“They’re going to need to hope they can get by with what they have because anything they do is going to put them into the (luxury) tax, and they don’t want to go there. They’re playing Bam (Adebayo) more than they ever have, and they have (Dewayne) Dedmon playing the minutes that Bam is not in. If one of them gets hurt, they’re in trouble. They’ll either have to write off the season or go into the tax.
[Orlando] Robinson is an interesting option, though. He is more of a traditional big guy, but he could hold his own if they need him for 10-15 minutes a night. But mostly, they’re doing a high-wire act with their whole frontcourt right now,” the Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports.
The luxury tax situation has put the Heat in a hard place when it comes to transactions. They have been unable to add players via free agency without going over the tax after Udonis Haslem re-signed for his twentieth season with the Heat, but they could add to their lineup with a trade.
Heat Add ‘Legitimate 7-Footer’ via Free Agency
While a deal for Crowder may not come until January, if it happens at all for the Heat, they did add depth to their frontcourt by re-signing rookie big man Orlando Robinson to a two-way contract. Robinson has been praised by league executives for being a quality big man that could contribute to their roster when given a chance.
“He was a big-time sleeper for me. I think he is a guy with a future in the league,” the executive said. “Legit 7-footer, huge wingspan (7-foot-4). He has an old-school game because he does a lot of back-to-the-basket stuff. He can post you up and make you pay if you send a double team. He is a good passer, he can chew up real estate in the paint, he has a go-to move and a counter. There’s not a lot of teams that do that anymore, but it is still a useful skillset,” an executive told Heavy Sports.