Miami Heat Tabbed as Top Trade Spot for $163 Million Star

What are the chances Miami Heat boss Pat Riley makes a Donovan Mitchell trade?

Getty What are the chances Miami Heat boss Pat Riley makes a Donovan Mitchell trade?

There is an expectation, even if it is one that only comes from the outside at this point, that the Miami Heat will make a trade in the coming weeks, possibly for a big-time star player. With one major NBA trade already in the books—this week’s Raptors-Knicks blockbuster—the Heat could be under some pressure as the rest of the Eastern Conference continues to upgrade. That’s why the possibility of a Donovan Mitchell trade to Miami remains lingering in the background.

At Bleacher Report, they’ve tagged Mitchell as the Heat’s No. 1 trade target, a guy who can immediately uplift the team’s thin backcourt and add a third scorer to help carry the offensive load.

Here’s what Zach Buckley of B/R wrote of the possibility: “The Heat have yet to pivot since losing this summer’s Damian Lillard sweepstakes, but they could still be in the market for a high-end shot-creator. Should the Cavs ever put Donovan Mitchell up for grabs, they may not find more young talent than Miami could potentially offer, assuming the Heat would be willing to part with all three of Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jović.”

Donovan Mitchell Trade Would Be Costly

Now, as with any Heat rumor that crops up, it’s pretty easy to poke holes in a Donovan Mitchell trade. For one thing, the Heat have put out a pretty consistent message that they like what they have on hand and are not falling over themselves to make upgrades.

For another, while the Miami Heat are a luxury-tax-paying organization this year, they want to limit future financial commitments as new, more restrictive CBA rules come online. Mitchell is in the third year of a five-year, $163 million contract, with a player option after next season.

If the suggestion is that the Cavs would ask the Miami Heat give up Herro, Jaquez and Jovic for Mitchell, we can pretty much assume that Pat Riley would hang up the phone laughing. Mitchell is a better player than Herro, but not by much. The scoring is there (27.9 points for Mitchell, 23.4 for Herro), but Herro is a better 3-point shooter who has also—and most who don’t watch the heat might scoff, but this is true—improved on the defensive end.

And throw in Jaquez, to boot? He is a rookie who has quickly become, arguably, the fourth-most important player on the roster. It’s hard to imagine Riley giving the OK to that.

Miami Heat Could Build Deal Around Kyle Lowry

If the Miami Heat were to consider a Donovan Mitchell trade, it would have to start with Kyle Lowry and be finished off with the young assets Cleveland would need. Jovic, sure. Two first-round picks? OK. Then it becomes a question of whether the Heat would part with Jaquez to get a deal done. But that’s probably the best package the Heat would give: Lowry, Jaquez, Jovic and two first-rounders.

That might not be enough to pry Mitchell from the Cavaliers, not considering Cleveland gave up Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, three first-round picks and two pick swaps to get him.

Indeed, around the league, there is question as to whether the Cavs have much incentive to put Mitchell on the market. There is a presumption that the team won’t be able to re-sign him when he hits free agency, but again, there will be new and more restrictive contract rules coming that could restrict the market for a player like Mitchell. Considering the assets they gave up, the Cavs might be better off waiting things out and re-signing Mitchell once he sees the limited market.

A Donovan Mitchell trade to the Miami Heat does have a nice ring to it. But look at the details, and it is hard to see how it comes to fruition.

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