Proposed Three-Way Blockbuster Brings Playoff Foe to the Heat

John Collins Max Strus

Getty John Collins and Max Strus battle for possession of the ball during a game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat.

The Miami Heat have long been mentioned as an ideal landing spot for embattled Nets star Kevin Durant amid his June trade request. And there’s no doubting that a partnership would have been a slam dunk for both sides.

After finishing in the middle of the playoff pack offensively, Miami’s attack would have ascended to new heights with Durant in the fold. Meanwhile, KD’s title chances would have skyrocketed as part of a Big Three-style core with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

For now, though, a trade sending Durant to South Beach looks to be off the table (if it was even on the table to begin with). As announced by Brooklyn’s GM, Sean Marks, on Tuesday, the Nets and the 12-time All-Star have agreed to move forward together, despite the unpleasantness of the last 60ish days.

So, with the dream of a mega-blockbuster kaput — but the Heat seemingly still in need of a boost in order to keep up with the Brad Stevens-es of the world, Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley has proposed another, more executable trade for the club.

Trade Nets Hawks Forward John Collins

In a piece breaking down potential impact trades that can happen in a world where KD is sticking with the Nets, Buckley zeroed in on a wild, trade involving three Eastern Conference rivals. Here’s the pitch:

  • Toronto Raptors receive G Tyler Herro, G/F Duncan Robinson and F Jalen Johnson
  • Miami Heat receive F John Collins and a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2024 (from ATL via SAC)
  • Atlanta Hawks receive F OG Anunoby and PF Thaddeus Young (can’t be traded until January 15)

As Buckley sees it, the deal would hit multiple birds for the Heat while giving the 24-year-old Collins, who has taken issue with his situation in Atlanta, an opportunity to spread his wings as a top option offensively alongside Butler.

“The Heat would fill their void at the four with Collins, escape Robinson’s bloated salary, gain a first-round pick to keep or trade and not have to try to price Herro in 2023 restricted free agency,” Buckley wrote.

“Collins has seen his usage drop in recent years, but the last time he was featured on that end, he averaged 21.6 points on 58.3/40.1/80.0 shooting.”

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According to Buckley, the other clubs involved in this deal may stand to benefit as much as the Heat by making the exchange. And it’s not difficult to see why.

While losing Anunoby — who’s one of the better two-way players in the game — would sting in the Great White North, the Raptors’ offensive struggles have been as bad or worse than the Heat’s. For his part, Herro could elevate their attack to the point that they become a factor in the top half of the playoff bracket once again.

The 2022 Sixth Man of the Year was a force for the Heat last season but, as Buckley puts it, “he still has considerable room to grow as a scorer and shot-creator.”

Conversely, the Hawks get a major boost on the defensive end as Anunoby and recent acquiree Dejounte Murray would combine to create a bona fide lockdown duo in the ATL.


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