With the fourth-worst record in the NBA, the Miami Heat are clearly struggling this season. While NBA analysts have already written off the franchise from making it to the 2021 playoffs, it’s hard to fairly judge a team that has been ravaged by COVID-19, and playing for three weeks without its superstar Jimmy Butler.
Sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 7-13 record, it’s no longer an overreaction to say that the Heat need to seriously shake things up. On February 1, the NBA Insider reporter for 5 Reasons Sports Network tweeted out some sobering, albeit not shocking news about the Heat’s current roster.
He tweeted, “The Heat never intended to go into the season with this roster. They had multiple bigs they wanted to sign but those players took larger deals elsewhere. They’re searching the trade market for a starting caliber 4. This team will look different after the deadline.”
It would be a huge blow to miss the playoffs after making it to the NBA Finals last season, and according to Adam Clutch’s report, they’ve been trying this whole time to add a forward in order to avoid that embarrassment.
While there was a lot of talk of James Harden joining the Heat through a blockbuster trade earlier in the season, the eight-time All-Star landed with the Brooklyn Nets.
While the Heat’s roster has pretty stayed the same since last season, they haven’t replaced the talent that was Jae Crowder, a 6-foot-6 power forward who was traded to the Phoenix Suns.
The Heat Will Struggle to Make a Trade Without Being Able to Offer a First-Round Pick Until 2025
While locking down a blockbuster trade and obtaining a starting-caliber forward before the trade deadline sounds great, there’s a glaring roadblock for the Heat to make such a major move: They have no first-round draft picks to offer up.
The Heat are so devoid of picks, they will have no choice but to put some of their young stars on the trade block. While it might be tough to say goodbye to Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson, the Heat can’t trade a first-rounder until 2025.
"After seeing other players take criticism for requesting to leave teams, those sources say Beal feels he’s getting nitpicked for choosing to stay in D.C"
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 2, 2021
Miami is going to have to get creative and quick to turn things around this season. While there was a lot of rumored talk about the Heat’s interest in obtaining Washington Wizards superstar Bradley Beal, it remains unknown if the 27-year-old shooting guard will ask for a trade.
Butler’s Return Brought Hope for the Heat to Finally ‘Turn Things Around’
Jimmy Butler back on a basketball court.
You love to see it. pic.twitter.com/ESAoGUh1Uc
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 31, 2021
After missing 10 games, Butler returned to the court on January 30 and ended the Heat’s losing streak. The five-time All-Star showed no signs of rust after not playing since January 9 and helped Miami eke out a win against the Sacramento Kings 105-104.
The 31-year-old played 34 minutes on Saturday night, scoring a season-high 30 points, along with eight assists and seven rebounds. As for whether or not Heat fans can expect the team to keep winning, Butler has no doubt.
“I figured I was going to come back and we were going to win,” Butler said.
“We’re going to build off of this,” Butler said. “So much to get better at, but we can do it. We’re going to turn this around. We’ve just got to go out there and do our job. It starts now.”
However, the Heat lost its next game to the Charlotte Hornets on February 1. After Butler missed a game-winning three-pointer at the final buzzer, the Heat completely fell apart during OT and lost 129-121.
“We just were not able to get any kind of stops down the stretch,” Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game.
“They had a three-point play, then another drive and then just lining us up and they were basically scoring going down the stretch. At the end of the day, if you get a double-digit lead, you got to find a way to get stops to finish it off and we weren’t able to do it.”