Even as the Miami Heat are fully engaged in a mission to capture the NBA championship, the team has featured heavily in trade rumors. Depending on who you ask, Pat Riley is dumping Duncan Robinson, dealing Tyler Herro for another star, luring Bradley Beal from the Wizards or any of a number of other summer moves.
One of the big stories going around is that Miami would be the top landing spot for Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, should the baller ask out of Utah. And there’s at least a modicum of fire to go with that smoke.
After all, Mitchell has a close friendship with Heat legend Dwyane Wade — himself a minority owner with the Jazz — and Miami is closer to winning a title than Utah, which was just ousted in Round 1. Moreover, Riley is no stranger to making big plays to boost his club’s star power.
That said, one league executive is of the belief that Mitchell and Miami are actually an odd fit and is advising a quieter move to bolster the roster.
Are Mitchell and Butler a Bad Pairing?
Asked by Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney about the hypothetical Mitchell-Heat team-up, an Eastern Conference executive had a strong reaction to the idea.
“It is hard to imagine Donovan Mitchell sharing a floor with Jimmy Butler,” the exec said. “If you had to give up Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro to get Mitchell, then OK, you have some shots for Mitchell there. But I am not sure you have made yourself better at that point.”
The exec observed that Mitchell is a ball-dominant player, something that Miami already has in multiples, and pitched an alternate course of action for Riley and Co.
“Mitchell needs the ball, and if you have Jimmy and [Kyle] Lowry, I am not sure how that would work,” the exec said. “The Heat will be able to make some changes if they put Robinson on the market, and that will probably be enough to put them over the top.”
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Mitchell’s Days in Utah May Be Numbered
Regardless of whether or not Miami is the best spot for Mitchell, the likelihood that he’ll be plying his trade somewhere other than Salt Lake City in the near future is definitely a nonzero number.
After finishing with the best record in the league in 2020-21, the Jazz fell short in Round 2 of the playoffs against the LA Clippers despite Kawhi Leonard going down during the series. Their first-round exit last week was equally surprising given that Luka Doncic missed multiple games.
The continued underperformance, as well as his awkward relationship with Rudy Gobert, has made Mitchell trade machine fodder in a big, bad way. It’s feasible that either the team or the player could push for a change at this point.
Mitchell averaged 25.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest in 2021-22 with shooting splits of 45-36-85. Despite their mix on and off the court being called into question, it’s worth noting that the Jazz outscored opponents by 7.4 points per 100 possessions when Mitchell and Gobert shared the court in ’21-22.