It goes without saying that Duncan Robinson’s 2021-22 campaign didn’t go according to plan. After having signed a five-year, $90 million extension with the Miami Heat before the season, the sharpshooter’s field-goal percentage fell under 40% and his lack of versatility on both ends of the court saw his playing time get slashed by Erik Spoelstra.
By the time Miami’s year was over, he had become a forgotten man, logging multiple postseason DNP-CDs. He did play relatively well during an abbreviated stint in the Heat’s season opener on Wednesday, but the prevailing thought continues to be that Pat Riley would redistribute his salary if he could.
Elsewhere on the roster, the Heat may also have a hole at the power forward spot where veteran PJ Tucker flew the coop over the summer and was replaced with, well… nothing.
While moving Robinson’s gnarly contract may be a tall order for the Godfather, Bleacher Report‘s Greg Swartz believes there are deals out there that get the job done while also finding a legitimate starting four-man (with all due respect to Caleb Martin).
Trade Proposal Brings Sharpshooting Big to South Beach
Ahead of the first big weekend of NBA action since the 2022-23 season tipped off, Swartz took five from breaking down the new campaign to look at the trade market once again. For his latest feature, the longtime hoops scribe attempted to identify the one trade every team “should already be plotting.”
The Heat were actually mentioned in a pair of trades, one of which saw them acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic from the Detroit Pistons. But the deal Swartz pitched for the Utah Jazz — and the one we’re focusing on here — netted Miami a former No. 7 pick with size, inside-outside scoring chops and potential for growth.
- Miami Heat receive F Lauri Markkanen
- Utah Jazz receive G/F Duncan Robinson and a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2023
For a team that occasionally struggled to score points when they were needed the most during the playoffs, Markkanen could be a godsend. As a member of the Cavs in ’21-22, the Finnish Flamethrower averaged 15 points and six rebounds a night while sinking 35.8% of his triples.
Wrote Swartz: ”Miami is a perfect fit for Markkanen, who would instantly become the team’s starting power forward. He’d keep the floor spread while playing solid defense and still has upside at age 25.”
Losing yet another draft asset here is no small thing, but if you overpay someone to the degree that the Heat overpaid Robinson, a price must be paid. And seven-foot sharpshooters are hot commodities.
Why the Jazz Would Do the Deal
Now for the $74-plus million question — why would the rebuilding Jazz be more apt than other teams to take on the final four years of Robinson’s deal? And the answer is simple really: stockpiling picks (and losses) is the order of the day in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz may have designs on turning things back around sooner than some would assume, but this year should be all about going all-in for Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson. Moreover, the team prioritized future first-round picks and pick swaps in moves to jettison Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
It’s probably safe to assume they’ll do the same in talks for their other trade assets, i.e. Markkanen, Mike Conley, Malik Beasley, Jordan Clarkson.
Meanwhile, Robinson could still turn this thing around and his deal will sting less as the years go on and the cap/tax marks go up; he could also get redirected for another pick or player. Whether those things offset the financial hit to the degree that the Jazz would consider a deal with Miami is hard to say. There’s a method to the madness, though.