Nobody has a penchant for making superstar-level splashes on the trade and free agency scene like Miami Heat president Pat Riley. From Shaquille O’Neal to the Big Three era to Jimmy Butler, Riley has swung for the fences with incredible success.
Alas, there are limits to what a team can do when its draft coffers are barren, its cap situation is tight and its best trade asset — in this case Bam Adebayo — is apparently untouchable, even when you have a certified master like Riley calling the shots.
That’s the situation the Heat find themselves in now with Kevin Durant (and Donovan Mitchell) dangling out there, just waiting to be snatched up by some team with a big offer and a dream.
And while there’s a thought that Miami could go out and get more draft capital and up their offer for KD, it’s looking more and more like the 12-time All-Star will be balling in Brooklyn again next season. As such, one hoops scribe believes it’s time to move on to a more obtainable Plan B.
B/R: Heat Could Make a Play for Myles Turner
Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley looked at every team in the Association and worked to find hypothetical trades boosting each one’s starting five. Where the Heat were concerned, he looked to the frontcourt and pitched this trade with a longtime Eastern Conference rival:
- Indiana Pacers receive G/F Duncan Robinson, a 2023 first-round pick (top-three-protected) and a 2028 second-round pick.
- Miami Heat receive C Myles Turner
“Maybe it’s time to pivot to a less cost-prohibitive target,” Buckley said of the Durant pursuit. “Turner, for instance, wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, but he could beef up the Heat’s frontcourt and make this fourth-ranked defense even stingier.”
Last season, the 26-year-old Turner swatted 2.8 shots per contest, a number that would have led the league had he played in enough games to qualify. Meanwhile, opposing players’ field goal percentages dropped by an average of 8.7% on shot attempts within six feet of the hoop when Turner was the closest defender.
Bringing him to South Beach would give the Heat a throwback, two-towers look, which may be a controversial play, but it would almost certainly have a positive impact on at least one of the team’s other key cogs.
“The Heat would wind up playing jumbo ball with Turner, Adebayo and Jimmy Butler across the frontcourt, but that could be more than enough defensive protection to move [Tyler] Herro into the starting lineup.”
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Why Bam-Myles May Just Work
Pairing star big men isn’t really something that has hit pay dirt in the last decade-plus, but this particular combination may not be as awkward as one would expect.
Defensively, Adebayo has the chops to play out in the perimeter and guard the screen-roll, while Turner would be closer to the traditional drop. So, the overlap there may not be all that significant, and both players would be adaptable in their respective roles.
On the other end, Turner is probably capable enough as a floor-spacer to prevent things from getting too clogged down low. Throw Herro into the starting mix and the Heat’s frontliners get even more room to operate.
“If Turner hit enough threes to keep defenses honest and attack lanes open, he might help this club strike the two-way balance it needs to complete a title run,” wrote Buckley.
For his career, Turner is a 35% three-point shooter who has taken a higher and higher percentage of his shots from behind the arc as the years have gone by.