This win-win Heat-Wolves trade can elevate Miami back into title contention

Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Both the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves have failed to live up to high expectations this season. Fortunately, there is still time to turn things around. The Timberwolves made one of the splashiest moves of the off-season by trading a package that included four first-round picks to the Utah Jazz for center Rudy Gobert. Gobert was brought in to be the team’s defensive ace while players such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell helped carry the offense.

Things haven’t gone according to plan thus far, however. After all, the Wolves have struggled on offense when all four players and Jaden McDaniels play together. In fact, that lineup has posted just a 108.2 offensive rating in 18 games thus far, which would rank well below the last-ranked Houston Rockets for the worst in the NBA.

That could obviously improve as the lineup gets more reps together, and they do have a positive net rating, but they may not have enough time left this season. Actually, they may only have a few days if they trade starting point guard D’Angelo Russell, who has been blamed for the offense’s problems and could otherwise leave in free agency this summer.

Meanwhile, the Heat are a good team that’s battled their way through injuries but find themselves sixth in a brutal Eastern Conference. In fact, depending on the matchup, they could even be eliminated in the first round if they don’t make a trade.

They have several issues, including the need for a starting power forward and a backup center, but they could also use an upgrade at point guard. Lowry simply isn’t worth the nearly $60 million that is owed to him this season and next year, and that has the Heat looking at their options.

The Timberwolves and Heat can help each other at the trade deadline.

The trade: The Timberwolves trade D’Angelo Russell, and Naz Reid to the Heat for Kyle Lowry, Dewayne Dedmon, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 pick swap, and a 2028 second-round pick. 

For the Heat, this trade would be an absolute no-brainer for several reasons. First, they’d upgrade at point guard and get a player who’s 10 years younger and plays closer to the value of his contract. Second, the Heat would avoid having to pay 37-year-old Lowry $30 million next season.

Third, Miami would also acquire Russell’s Bird Rights, giving them the ability to re-sign him this summer despite being over the cap. Fourth, they’d upgrade at backup center, switching out Dedmon, who’s been a shell of his former self, for a 23-year-old Reid.

Reid will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and could draw a lot of interest, but the Heat would also have his Bird Rights. The cost of all of those benefits would be the Heat’s first-round pick in this year’s draft, a first-round pick swap in 2024, and a 2028 second.

That may seem like a paltry return for the Wolves, but they probably won’t be able to retain Russell and Reid in free agency anyways and they would be without a starting point guard. Lowry isn’t great at his $30 million price tag, but he’s a serviceable stop-gap option and a better playmaker than Russell. As for Dedmon, he’s on a non-guaranteed contract for next season.

The Wolves would also recover some of the draft assets lost in the Rudy Gobert trade, and the Heat’s pick in this year’s draft could be in the early to mid-twenties. That’s a solid asset, and they could use a young prospect on a cheap four-year deal to help offset Gobert and Town’s contracts.

Additionally, the pick swap could allow the Wolves to improve their draft position in next year’s draft if Miami is worse than Minnesota. Meanwhile, a distant second-rounder could prove to be a decent asset for the Wolves considering they have a recent history of finding good players late in the draft. Reid himself actually went undrafted before signing with the Wolves.

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Overall, both the Heat and Wolves are in need of a shakeup and this trade could help both sides. With only a few days left until the trade deadline, we won’t have to wait long to see whether this win-win deal happens.