Miami Heat Forward Is ‘Expendable’ Amid Trade Talks: Report

Kelly Olynyk

Getty Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat shoots against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Capital One Arena on January 9, 2021 in Washington, DC.

It’s no secret that Miami Heat‘s big forward Kelly Olynyk has been struggling with the basket this season. Over the past eight games, the 29-year-old is shooting 4-of-23 from beyond the line.

So far this season, Olynyk is averaging 9.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The former first-round pick out of Gonzaga knows he needs to find consistency on the court, and revealed Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra’s unexpected advice to get his game stabilized.

Olynyk said ahead of Miami’s game against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, “I mean, obviously, it’s nice to play consistently like that. For me and us right now, we’re just trying to do whatever we can to climb our way back up the standings and get back in the right state of mind.”

“Obviously, those shots haven’t been going in the way you want this year, especially recently,” the 6-foot-11 forward continued. “But I just got to keep shooting, keep playing the role… Right now, it’s just about everybody playing your role and contributing positively to wins. Sometimes it’s not the role that you think of or want, but it’s just the role you have to play to help our team win.”

In the meantime, Olynyk’s name is being tossed around as being on the trade block. On February 26, CBS Sports‘ Brad Botkin reported on the trade rumors concerning Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry, noting that the Heat could be perfectly positioned to obtain the six-time All Star.

Botkin said, “Miami can make the money work very easily. Either Meyers Leonard or Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala (team option for 2021-22) get it done.”

Kyle Lowry home

GettyKyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates his three point shot in the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on February 05, 2021 in New York City.

Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Shapiro also mentioned Olynyk in obtaining Lowry. “Miami has a collection of expendable contracts, most notably Kelly Olynyk’s expiring deal,” Botkin said. “Figuring out the financials isn’t too difficult. Making a deal worth Toronto’s while is the hard part.”

Olynyk Is in the Final Year of His Contract With the Heat

GettyKelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat shoots over Aron Baynes #46 of the Toronto Raptors during a game at Amalie Arena on January 22, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

After the Toronto native signed a four-year $50 million contract with the Heat in 2017, Olynyk exercised his $13.6 million player option to remain in Miami before the start of the 2020-2021 NBA season.

If Olynyk is looking to stay with the Heat, he needs to prove he’s reliable. As it stands, Miami is on the hunt for a solid fourth and has been since before the season started. In particular, the Heat have been looking to trade for a power forward and have been linked to almost every possible free agent on the market.

The Heat also wouldn’t have to wait until the end of the season if they want to trade Olynyk. His expiring contract could make a good salary-matching piece for Miami as they explore their options before the trade deadline.

Despite His Lacking Performance, Olynyk Is On Pace to Nab a $1 Million Bonus

GettyKelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat shoots a three pointer against the New York Knicks during the fourth quarter at American Airlines Arena on February 09, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Olynyk gets a sweet $1 million if he plays more than 1,493 minutes, which is nearly 25 hours of court performance time.

While that sounds oddly specific, Olynyk also has another, albeit more typical, bonus coming his way if the Heat make the playoffs. While Olynyk is on pace to play near 1,500 minutes this season, if Miami makes it to the postseason, he gets an additional $400,000.

On February 18, Olynyk scored a season-high 22 points during the Heat’s win over the Sacramento Kings. During Miami’s very next game against the Lakers, he scored four points. During the Heat’s most recent win against the Utah Jazz, Oylynk notched eight points. As of February 27, he’s played a total of 831 minutes.

“He does a lot for us on that side of the floor,” Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Olynyk. “He spaces the floor, but he can also put points on the board. It is not just about spacing the floor. He allows us to play with a bigger front line with himself and Bam [Adebayo].”

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