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5 Takeaways from Miami’s Win Over Washington

The Miami Heat played a short-handed Washington Wizards team on Saturday night, and came away with the win. The Miami Heat looked pretty sharp offensively throughout, which clearly won them this game. Here are five takeaways from the game…

#1: Miami comes out on fire offensively, but invisible defensively.

The Miami Heat set a franchise first quarter record tonight, scoring 47 points on 78% shooting. Only issue was that Washington put up 44 points as well in that first quarter. As much as we can discuss Miami’s impressive shooting early, the defense is what truly needs to be keyed in on. The reason for that is because you’re playing a team without their two best players, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. A lack of individual efforts on defense was obvious, since there seemed to be a lack of urgency. That is not surprising, since that is what usually happens when going into a game against a team without their top players. It comes down to intensity on that end of the floor, and they didn’t have it early in this game.

#2: Kelly Olynyk having one of those Kelly Olynyk like games.

In Miami’s impressive first quarter scoring display, Kelly Olynyk was one of the players that truly shined. It is known that Kelly is capable of having those type of shooting games, but it just come down to consistency. Tonight was one of those games though, where he just couldn’t miss from deep. He also used his nightly fake hand-off, which usually ends up with an open layup at the rim. It was especially needed for Kelly Olynyk to have this type of performance tonight, since Bam Adebayo and Precious Achiuwa each had three early fouls. Obviously nothing can be replicated on defense or by rebounding, but the offensive boost was a huge positive for this team.

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#3: Goran Dragic getting back to his normal shooting abilities.

Goran Dragic, surprisingly, hasn’t been shooting the ball great to begin the year. Heading into this game, he was shooting 25% from beyond the arc. But he came out in the first quarter going 4 for 4 from three, which i discussed before the game since Washington’s lackluster defense can give those types of guys the rhythm they’ve been looking for. Those 4 triples were his only scores in the first half, and actually his only four attempts, but he used his passing to create for others on offense. The defense began to fly high, which led to him dribbling right by for a kick to the opposite wing or corner for a three. And that right there is the Goran Dragic effect.

#4: Tyler Herro showcases his great touch around the rim.

Tyler Herro was scoring the ball well tonight against the Wizards, mostly by attacking the basket with the ball in his hands. He seems to have great touch around the rim when using the basket, almost Goran-like, and showed his aggressiveness to get to the rim. He also cuts off the ball quite a lot, and against a defense like Washington, he found himself open a few times. And once he begins to get his scoring going, his play-making begins to look better and better. Not only did he score the ball well tonight, but he scored it efficiently, and that’s more important than anything.

#5: Jimmy Butler’s offensive initiative was this Heat team’s staple.

Although many of Miami’s players exploded on offense in that first quarter, nobody scored the ball as consistently as Jimmy Butler did tonight. He clearly could score the ball at will tonight against this poor Washington defense, and chose to do just that throughout the game. He probably could’ve done it a lot more, but that’s just not Jimmy’s game. Well, unless he’s in the finals. I’m pretty sure everybody is aware that Jimmy is more than capable of taking over on offense when needed, but if there was uncertainty, tonight should’ve cleared that up. Once again, there’s not much to takeaway when it’s against a team you’re supposed to beat, but Butler can do exactly that against pretty much anybody.

Could Miami’s Biggest Downfall Be Unselfishness?

I’ve gone through the different problems with this Heat team since the beginning of the season, including turnovers, lack of shot attempts, and rebounding. But the reason for a good portion of their issues seem to be unselfishness.

One thing I saw last night was that lineups that include their three best players, Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo, did not seem to be as effective as when they played with only two of them.

But why is that exactly?

Well, all three of those guys are pretty unselfish players, which means there is a lack of clarity on who the main aggressor will be on any given possession.

The main reason Miami put themselves in a hole last night was due to one word: Over-Passing.

And that doesn’t just pertain to the lineup with Jimmy, Goran, and Bam, since Tyler Herro and others are guilty of doing it a ton.

There are moments in the game where Tyler just needs to be Tyler and get shots up on the basket. Instead, he gives an extra pass or throws it out to the corner on the drive, when his original shot would’ve been the best shot.

When players on a team are selfish, it impacts the quality of the locker room. When players on a team are unselfish, it impacts their play on the floor.

The turnovers and lack of shot attempts have a lot to do with the over-passing, since if they just focus on getting the ball up on their first opportunity, that fixes some things. As Coach Erik Spoelstra has said, the main thing is getting “shots on goal,” and when the shot attempts are 99-81 in a game, it’s hard to come out with a win.

And if there was any team where you’d feel better about the quantity of shots, instead of the quality, it would be this Heat team. They have plenty of offensive firepower to get them going, and that rhythm will ultimately carry over to their energy on the defensive end and the boards.

It just seems as if the unselfishness is the common factor between all of Miami’s issues. When Jimmy Butler began to be selfish offensively yesterday, it caused a huge Miami run to end the second quarter.

Jimmy Butler knows when it is time for him to be selfish, and that’s the trait that I believe is necessary for Bam Adebayo to pick up as well. There’s no reason for Daniel Theis to have more field goal attempts than Bam in a game like this. And once Miami’s young guys begin to realize being selfish is needed, things will begin to turnaround.

5 Takeaways from Miami’s Loss Against Boston

The Miami Heat faced off against the Boston Celtics, in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch, and Miami fell short after the late efforts from Duncan Robinson. After trailing by 10 with less than 2 minutes to go, Miami tied the game with 10 seconds left, but a Payton Pritchard tip in gave them the lead with 0.2 seconds left. Here are five takeaways from the game…

#1: Precious Achiuwa continues to show promising flashes.

For starters, Precious Achiuwa had the only positive plus-minus at the half, +10, while Bam Adebayo was a -18 at the half. The parts that truly stood out for Precious were on the defensive side of the basketball, particularly guarding Jayson Tatum. One of the league’s top pure scorers taking a rookie one-on-one seems to be an obvious result, but not when Precious Achiuwa is lined up across from him. He had two promising possessions where he altered Tatum’s jump shot, which is not an easy thing to do. His constant movement on defense is another thing that stands out when watching him play, while his offensive game will continue to develop. His ability to be a threat on the roll is enough impact right now, since it’s a huge bonus for Goran Dragic.

#2: Miami’s top 3 players look to be more effective when their minutes are staggered.

One thing that stood out when I watched tonight’s game against Boston was the lineups that included Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo. Automatically you’d think that lineup would be most effective since it includes your three best players, but I don’t know if that’s exactly the case. They seem to struggle when they share the floor together at times offensively, but why is that exactly? It could possibly be due to the uncertainty of who should take assertiveness. Most times when they share the court together, you begin to see an immense amount of over-passing. So does that mean these three guys are a bit too unselfish? I believe so. It’s only the seventh game, so that will change as the season progresses, but once playoff time hits I think they all know who the main aggressor will be.

#3: Boston takes advantage of Miami’s interior defense.

Boston began the game going 5/6 from three, which may have you looking at Miami’s defensive issues being out on the perimeter. But that wasn’t the case exactly. The Celtics began to take advantage of the paint area, especially when they were using their two big lineups with Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson. Now, that may have had something to do with their priority changing to the perimeter talents of Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown getting hot, but allowing easy bucket after easy bucket around the basket does not help your chances against a team like Boston. The Heat have gone to a bunch of small lineups that have included Jimmy Butler or Andre Iguodala at the 4, and it doesn’t help when Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk have less rebounds at the half than Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. The lack of defensive stops in the paint have resulted in Miami being a bottom tier rebounding team.

#4: There’s one reason for Miami’s run at the end of the second quarter and early third quarter: Jimmy Butler.

Miami went on a little run to end the second quarter, once Jimmy Butler seemed to take control of the offense. Then they went on an even bigger run to start the third quarter, which was headlined by Duncan Robinson. Although Duncan was hitting some much needed shots, it was all set up by the gravity of Jimmy Butler. He was having one of those nights where he was going to take it into your chest on his way to the basket, and that ultimately means more opportunities on the perimeter. There was one common factor during this run, Jimmy Butler was on the floor the entire team. The impact of Jimmy should not be understated, since his presence alone makes his teammates better.

#5: Andre Iguodala’s impact against good teams proves to be a huge positive moving forward.

Andre Iguodala hit some much needed threes throughout the game tonight, which is all Miami needs from him. If he can hit the corner three at a good rate, that is huge for Miami’s bench unit offensively. Andre also did a good job of facilitating as well, setting up their shooters late in the game consistently. The games Iggy is needed most is when he is playing against a top team like Boston. High IQ veterans who can control the pace of the game are needed in these types of games. And more importantly, it provides clarity of what will be seen in a playoff setting. Andre is an important piece of this Heat team, mostly since the chemistry of that bench unit continues to be on display.

Miami Heat: Regaining Confidence and Regaining Clarity

Although Miami won a game that they were expected to win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it holds more value than you may think.

For starters, the confidence factor. This is across the board for everybody, but that starts with Jimmy Butler. He got some easy buckets at the start of the game, which was needed since him setting the tone was essential.

Also, the recent lack of 2 point shot attempts for Miami this season falls on Jimmy, since he is their primary attacker.

Duncan Robinson hitting 4 threes in the first half, after going 0-5 in the first half against Dallas is also very important. As I mentioned before the game, this match-up with OKC was a rhythm game. Getting Duncan back into his normal shooting rhythm holds value heading into Wednesday’s game against Boston.

So regaining that confidence was important for this team right now, but it wasn’t as important as regaining clarity.

Sixth different starting lineup in six games definitely doesn’t scream clarity, but maybe the slogan should be sixth time’s a charm.

Miami now has a clear 9 man rotation that they can go to on a regular basis, since this issue all along has been the 5th starter. I’ve been discussing keeping the main four guys off the bench together, since there is obvious continuity between them. The Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa offensive importance, and the Avery Bradley and Andre Iguodala defensive importance.

The fifth starter needed to be a guy that fits next to Bam Adebayo, can space the floor, and keep Miami in a good flow. And well, Kelly Olynyk did just that.

This does not mean Erik Spoelstra won’t change some things up with the starters or rotation going forward, but as of right now, he has his core group.

Miami needed both confidence and clarity these past few games, and it looks like they already have both after the sixth regular season game. And I believe that has a lot to do with the return of Jimmy Butler.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over OKC Thunder

The Miami Heat were coming off of a poor offensive performance on Friday night against Dallas, but came out tonight with a purpose against the Oklahoma City Thunder to get the win. Not only were there some pretty great performances all around, but also some clarity on this team moving forward. Here are my five takeaways….

#1: Jimmy Butler gets going out the gate.

Jimmy Butler ended up with 14 points at the end of the first half, since he came out with a purpose to get to the basket. And if it wasn’t a bucket in the paint for him, it was a pass to someone else around the goal for a basket. It has been discussed that the key to the Heat getting back to normal revolves around Jimmy. He was needed to set the tone, even in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he did just that. And as discussed, having another ball-handler and play-maker on the floor makes everybody’s life easier. As many were wanting, Jimmy Butler played like Jimmy Butler tonight, and it was necessary heading into a match-up with the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

#2: Duncan Robinson’s shooting back to normal.

Duncan Robinson shot 1-8 from three last game against the Dallas Mavericks, and 0-5 in the first half. And well, Duncan ended up going 4-7 from three in the first half tonight. That has a lot to do with Jimmy playing like Jimmy as well, since as I’ve mentioned, Duncan’s offensive game revolves around the production of Butler. When Jimmy begins to penetrate, the defense begins to shift and crash the interior, which allows Duncan to get open on the outside off of Bam Adebayo screen assists. It’s not that Duncan shot incredibly tonight, he just shot like himself. It was needed tonight since getting in a rhythm after that last game was important, especially approaching a big game against Boston as I mentioned prior.

#3: Tyler Herro looks good all-around, but still has flashes of hesitance.

When watching Tyler play tonight, it’s just clear that scoring isn’t his number one priority as it has been in the past. There were plenty of times that he beat his defender, but passed out to the corner instead of getting the ball up. There were also times that he made that extra pass, when the better shot would’ve been the opportunity that he got. Now, this definitely isn’t a huge knock against him tonight, since he played pretty well, it’s just something to look out for moving forward. He continued to look good as a passer, which looks even better when he shared the court with Jimmy Butler or Goran Dragic. And his rebounding abilities were on display as well, which is needed since Miami is last in the league in rebounds. Those extra efforts can make the difference to win you a basketball game.

#4: Miami finds a comfortable 9 man rotation.

Kelly Olynyk got inserted into the starting lineup tonight, which was the 6th different starting lineup in 6 games. But after getting a look at the rotation, it seems as if it may be here to stay. For one, I’ve been a proponent of keeping both Avery Bradley and Andre Iguodala on the bench, since they cause defensive havoc on the perimeter when they share the floor together. Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa also have a great offensive connection that they don’t want to mix up, which is why they’ve been labeled as the core four bench unit. Now, the fifth starter has been in question, but Kelly Olynyk makes the most sense. He fits well with Bam Adebayo, and it allows Bam to slide to the power forward position. Also Kelly spaces the floor perfectly for Bam and Jimmy to penetrate, which means a much more functional offense. It seems like this 9 man rotation will be one that will be seen on a nightly basis.

#5: Kelly Olynyk became an offensive spark once again.

Although I discussed Kelly Olynyk a bit previously moving forward in the rotation, I couldn’t allow his overall performance tonight to get overlooked. He has been looked at as an offensive spark for this team over the years, since he is very capable of putting on a shooting display that he put on tonight. But although you get nights like this from him, some not so good ones come with it. And that’s a risk this team will take, since adding size to this team was essential individually, but having that in a guy who can knock down 6 threes is even better. Many have been talking about that 5th starter not being on the roster, but I believe he might be. Well, at least for now. Kelly gives this team exactly what they need, especially since he seems to be the perfect fit next to Bam Adebayo.

A Familiar Starting Lineup Likely Against OKC

Miami has played five games to this point, and each of those games have had a different starting lineup.

Until now. Well, I think.

The Miami Heat will be facing off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and they match-up pretty well with them since Andre Iguodala is the placeholder 4 right now.

Oklahoma City basically starts three guards: George Hill, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Lu Dort. That most likely means Jimmy Butler will take the match-up of Shai, while Tyler Herro most likely guards Hill and Duncan guards Dort.

The Thunder also start an undersized four, Darius Bazely, and he’s coming off an impressive performance against the Orlando Magic. Andre Iguodala clearly matches up well with the 6’8 Bazely, and although there’s questions about what the future holds for Miami’s power forward position, they can win plenty of regular season games with him there.

And of course Bam Adebayo will match-up with Al Horford. There definitely isn’t much to dive into with that match-up since you feel comfortable with Bam on defense no matter who he is matched up with.

Now, the bench is where Miami really can pull away early. First off, having Goran Dragic head in with the bench unit is a positive in itself, but it’s even better when a rookie, Theo Maledon, will be matched up with him for some time.

Goran’s craftiness allows him to break down a lot of young guys without experience, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised if Theo gets in early foul trouble.

Another guy that will be utilized for some time tonight is Kelly Olynyk. The Thunder play a bunch of bigs off the bench, including Mike Muscala and rookie Aleksej Pokusevski.

When Muscala gets thrown in off the bench, I’d expect Spo to do the same with Olynyk. Precious Achiuwa can also see time on him, but there are plenty of athletic 4’s and bigs on the roster that make more sense for Achiuwa from a match-up perspective.

This is game that Miami should win, especially coming off of a terrible shooting night against the Dallas Mavericks.

Limiting turnovers will be a huge priority for Miami as well, since they average the most turnovers a game in the NBA.

It’ll also be necessary to see Jimmy Butler play like Jimmy Butler. Not Finals Jimmy, but the high energy Butler many are used to.

We will see what happens tonight, as Miami looks to go to 3-3 on the season.

What is the Actual Issue with Miami’s Shooting?

The Miami Heat had one of their poorest shooting nights in a very long time on Friday, going 0 for 14 from three in the first half.

Now, the issue with Miami is not the three point shooting specifically, since this won’t happen much. There will not be many times that Duncan Robinson shoots up 8 threes in a game and only makes one.

The actual issue is when you begin to dive into the numbers of their offense inside the three point line. Miami was one of the best three point shooting teams this past season, so it’s clear they must stick to their roots, especially when Duncan Robinson is on the floor.

But, three point shots are generated by the activity around the basket and mid-range area.

The Heat are currently 28th in the NBA in 2 point field goal attempts per game, and that can be problematic.

Now, you can point to the fact that Jimmy Butler has been out and he is the heart and soul of their offensive attack, but just because he’s not out there should not result in a lack of penetration.

You may also point to the turnover issues this team has endured, since that ultimately means they have less possessions offensively. That’s a reason Coach Spo alluded to getting “shots on goal” before their match-up with the Mavericks, but getting “shots in goal” may have been more effective.

Although these statements can be used as counters for being third to last in the NBA on two point attempts, it doesn’t make it any better. One of the main reasons the Golden State Warriors were effective from three is that they generated a lot of stuff from the mid-range and paint early on.

Now, to add on to that, Miami ranks 27th in shot attempts per game less than 5 feet from the basket. And that stat right there is the true tell.

Once again, Jimmy Butler is a big proponent of utilizing a floater in that area, but it still falls onto others. Bam Adebayo has been expanding his range little by little each game, which definitely is a positive, but at times he will be needed to attack. The reason his jumper has been discussed is to broaden his game a bit, so it will open up his ability to drive to the basket. We saw him do it a bit in the win over Milwaukee, and it’ll be needed going forward.

Bam shouldn’t be the only one to blame. Guys like Andre Iguodala settling for threes early in the game is not ideal, but if he would put the ball on the deck and get to the basket, opportunities will begin to form.

The point is that Miami’s three point shooting can be their biggest strength, but also their biggest downfall.

It just comes down to realizing what the defense is giving them. And since Duncan has made his way to the top of the scouting reports for other teams, getting inside the paint will maximize the play of both Duncan and everybody on the floor.

A lot of the top teams seem to be struggling to start the season, but the good thing about Miami’s struggles is that they’re visible.

Turnovers are the primary issue, followed by getting to the basket which leads to getting to the free throw line. And by the way, the Heat are in the middle of the pack in free throw attempts, which should take a leap once Jimmy gets his rhythm.

Either way, the Miami Heat have some things to clean up, but I don’t think they’re as dramatic as some people think they may be. It all comes down to their leader and star, Jimmy Butler, since he can take control of a game and a team when he needs to, and I feel like that is coming soon.

Who Benefits Most from a Jimmy Butler Return?

Jimmy Butler is probable for tonight’s match-up against the Dallas Mavericks, and although they came out with a win without him on Wednesday, he will clearly be needed today.

One thing that is always discussed when talking about Jimmy Butler is his impact when on the floor. That was obvious after Miami got obliterated by Milwaukee on the first night of the back to back, since most of the guys just don’t seem comfortable when he’s not on the floor with them.

Every single player benefits when Jimmy shares the floor with them. It allows Goran Dragic to take less of a load from the last game and it gives Bam Adebayo added security on the defensive end.

But who profits the most from his return?

Well, that would most likely be Duncan Robinson. When people discuss the player that helps Duncan out the most, the name Bam Adebayo usually comes up, and rightfully so since the dribble hand-offs they run are un-matched.

But Jimmy Butler being on the court opens up the floor for Duncan tremendously. The word gravity is always tied with Duncan, but it should be tied with Butler as well, since the worry he puts on a defense when putting his head down to attack should not be understated.

Not many on this team attack the basket at the level of Jimmy Butler, except for maybe Goran Dragic, but he’s usually not looking to create for others on the perimeter when he drives in.

In the first game without Jimmy, Duncan was 1-4 from three, and followed that up the next day going 2-4 from three.

Only attempting four threes is something that must change for Duncan going forward, since he is their key to a successful offense. But just watch how many shot attempts Robinson gets up tonight when Jimmy returns.

Jimmy Butler will probably have to guard one of the leagues brightest young stars, Luke Doncic, tonight at times, so it’s clear somebody will need to step up on the offensive end to take the load off of him.

And I would expect that guy to be Duncan Robinson.

Heat trade

5 Most Important Trade Days in Heat History

The Miami Heat have never been shy about pulling the trigger on a big trade. Throughout franchise history, the Heat have targeted and secured some of the most important and talented players in the league. These days, trade rumors link the Heat to James Harden, an eight-time All-Star, three-time scoring champ and one-time league MVP.

Although recent reports indicate talks between the Heat and Houston may have stalled, Miami may pounce at any time. The Heat have a long history of trading for disgruntled stars in their prime. For Miami, it’s a matter of leverage, and rarely have the Heat lost this type of trade.

Blockbuster deals litter Miami’s history and each has seen the franchise vault into championship contention. Here’s a look at the five most important trade days in Heat history.

Heat Trade History: November 7, 1994

Arguably the most consequential trade in Miami Heat history came on November 7, 1994. On this date, the Heat dealt a young, future All-Star, Steve Smith, and a franchise cornerstone, Grant Long, with a 1996 second-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for All-Star forward Kevin Willis and a 1996 first-round pick.

The Heat were coming off their first winning season and second playoff berth. They sported a talented young core and seemed to be on the rise in the Eastern Conference. But things soured with managing partners Lewis Schaffel and Billy Cunningham as the two embarked on a sudden roster retooling.

They traded Rony Seikaly to Golden State for Sasha Danilović and Billy Owens on November 2nd, then followed that with the Willis deal.

“I think there’s not one person in this world that has had any relationship with Lewis Schaffel that has continued to stay friends with Lewis,” Seikaly said after the trade.

Smith, then 25, was coming off a 17.3 points-, 5.1 assists- and 4.5 rebounds-per-game season and a summer appearance with “Dream Team II.” Smith criticized the Seikaly trade, only to find himself shipped off two games into the season.

This would be the last trade Schaffel and Cunningham would make for Miami.

The ’94-95 Heat flopped and the two would sell their club interest to franchise patriarch Ted Arison’s son, Micky, before the season even ended.

As the new managing partner, Arison hired Dave Wohl as GM. Wohl fired head coach Kevin Loughery and replaced him with Alvin Gentry on an interim basis to try to shake up the 17–30 Heat.

Heat fans may barely remember Willis’ tenure with the club. He averaged 14.2 points and 10 rebounds-per-game over parts of two seasons before being dealt away.

But this is one of the most important trades in Heat history because not only did it lead to Micky Arison acquiring controlling interest in the club, it also directly led to two other integral moves.

Enter Pat Riley

Following a disappointing ’94-95 season, new Heat management sought to reshape the franchise and looked to bring in Pat Riley. The former New York Knicks head coach had suddenly resigned after the ’94-95 season, reportedly rejecting a five-year, $15 million contract extension to stay in the Big Apple. Riley had one year left on his deal, but sought more control of the roster in New York, something team president Dave Checketts and GM Ernie Grunfeld weren’t willing to cede.

Riley reportedly negotiated a $40 million deal that included a 10 percent ownership stake with Micky Arison secretly. As a result, tampering charges were filed and the Heat were forced to surrender $1 million and a first-round pick to the Knicks.

The pick they sent? The one they’d landed in the Willis deal, Atlanta’s 1996 first round pick.

The “trade” officially posted on September 1, 1995, then Riley came on board in Miami. The city celebrated his arrival with a parade and shortly thereafter, Riley remolded the roster in his own image.

The Knicks, meanwhile, selected Walter McCarty with the No. 19 overall pick in 1996. McCarty played one season in New York, 35 games, averaging 1.8 points-per-game. He was traded to Boston ahead of the ’97-98 season. He played 10 seasons in the NBA, mostly as a reserve, and averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 rebounds-per-game for his career.

Heat Trade History: November 3, 1995

Pat Riley entered his Heat tenure aiming to make Miami a contender. So he did, for the first time, what would become his pattern: Riley targeted a disgruntled All-Star in his prime.

Alonzo Mourning had rejected a seven-year, $70 million contract extension in Charlotte earlier that offseason and things seemed destined for a breakup with the Hornets. Mourning reportedly wanted $13 million-per-year, but Charlotte couldn’t afford that after signing forward Larry Johnson to a 12-year, $84 million contract extension in 1993. (That deal made Johnson the richest athlete in the history of team sports at that point in time, and Zo wanted more.)

Riley identified Mourning as the centerpiece for his rebuild, a player in the mold of Patrick Ewing, his center in New York. Mourning came to Miami as a two-time All-Star and a someone who’d averaged over 21 points, 10 rebound and three blocks-per-game. So he flipped the final piece of Miami’s initial young core for the future Hall-of-Famer.

On November 3, 1995, the Heat sent Glen Rice, Matt Geiger, Khalid Reeves and a 1996 first-round pick to Charlotte for Mourning, Pete Myers and LeRon Ellis. Mourning immediately agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract extension and the rest is history.

Rice, meanwhile, left Miami as the franchise leader in points and games played. He’d won Miami’s first 3-Point Shootout crown the year prior and remained on an upward trajectory. Rice would go on to be a three-time All-Star for the Hornets and a two-time All-NBA performer. Rice would win a championship before Mourning, getting his lone title as part of the 2000 LA Lakers squad.

Deadline Day, 1996

Zo needed a running mate and Riley found him one later in that first season with Miami. On deadline day in 1996, Riley and the Heat made three separate trades to bolster the roster. The biggest deal landed Miami Tim Hardaway and Chris Gatling from Golden State for Bimbo Coles and Kevin Willis.

The Heat had started that season well, going 11-3 through the first 14 games. But they languished after that, heading into the deadline at 24-29. Riley then reached for another disgruntled star Hardaway. He also landed veterans Gatling, as well as Tyrone Corbin, Tony Smith and Walt Williams in separate deals.

With a depleted roster after the deadline, the Heat faced Michael Jordan and the (eventual) 72-10 Chicago Bulls with just nine active players. The Heat upset Chicago 113-104 in what marked most memorable victory in franchise history at that time. Rex Chapman led the Heat that night, going for 39 points including 9-of-10 shooting from three.

Hardaway arrived soon thereafter and promised Mourning a playoff berth. He and Zo turned the season around and helped Miami make its third playoff appearance. The two would develop into one of the most potent tandems in the league and helped get the Heat to the top of the Eastern Conference over the next several seasons.

Heat Trade History: July 14, 2004

The course of Miami Heat history would change trajectory again in July of 2004 when Riley set his sights on yet another disgruntled star. Shaquille O’Neal’s falling out with the Lakers led to Riley pouncing on the future Hall-of-Famer. O’Neal and Bryant’s relationship soured, and the Lakers elected to appease their bright young star instead of the aging big man in the wake of the 2004 NBA Finals loss to Detroit.

The Heat featured an intriguing young core led by Dwyane Wade and were coming off a Conference Semifinal appearance. Miami flipped much of that young core to get their hands on Shaq. The Heat sent Caron Butler, Brian Grant and Lamar Odom (three starters), plus a 2006 first-round pick and a 2007 second-round pick to LA for O’Neal.

This seemed like a steep price for a player many felt was on the back end of his prime. But this trade led directly to Miami’s first NBA Championship. O’Neal should have been the league MVP in 2004-05 and had Wade not injured his ribs, this group may have hoisted two titles.

Interestingly, the Heat reacquired Steve Smith and Alonzo Mourning that season as well. Smith would retire after the ’04-05 season, but Mourning stayed around to help the Heat win the title in ’06. That ’06 title team took shape after Riley engaged in the largest trade in NBA history, a five-team trade that saw Miami land James Posey, Antoine Walker and Jason Williams.

Heat Trade History: July 10, 2010

The Heat shocked the sports world in 2010 with the arrival of the Big 3. While most tab these moves free agent signings, the acquisitions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh were technically sign-and-trade deals.

For James, the Heat shipped out a 2013 first-round pick, a 2016 first-round pick, and second rounders in 2011 and 2012, as well as the rights to a pick-swap in 2012. Of those four draft picks, Milan Mačvan, Jae Crowder, Nemanja Nedović and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, only Crowder played for Cleveland, but that wasn’t until 2017, several years into his NBA career. Luwawu-Cabarrot pick, though, helped facilitate the Cavaliers trade for Kevin Love in 2014.

The Bosh deal featured a pair of 2011 first-round picks going to Toronto, one which the Heat eventually reacquired and one which originally belonged to the Raptors.

The pick that eventually became Jonas Valančiūnas, the 2011 fifth overall selection, landed in Miami as part of a deadline deal 2009. That trade saw the Heat ship Shawn Marion, Marcus Banks and cash to Toronto for Jermaine O’Neal, Jamario Moon, a 2011 first- and a 2010 second-round pick.

The pick that eventually became Norris Cole made its way through three other franchises before returning to Miami. The Heat sent to Toronto in the Bosh sign-and-trade, then the Raptors sent it to Chicago for future Heat player James Johnson in February of 2011. The Bulls picked Cole in 2011, then traded him to Minnesota with Malcolm Lee for Nikola Mirotić.

The Heat acquired Cole from Minnesota on draft night in 2011. Miami picked Bojan Bogdanović with the No. 31 overall pick (second round) and used that to land Cole. Interestingly, the Heat had the choice of Cole or Jimmy Butler at that point in 2011.

The Big 3 Era Pays Off

The Heat floundered in the wake of their 2006 championship. O’Neal’s relationship in Miami deteriorated and saw the big man moved to Phoenix in a trade. Riley retooled the roster around Wade and O’Neal but never found the right combination before trading Shaq away in 2008.

The pieces he landed in that deal were Marion and Banks. Those two were integral in later trades for Jermaine O’Neal and the 2011 first-rounder which helped facilitate the Bosh sign-and-trade.

The Heat won two NBA titles and made four straight Finals appearances before seeing James walk in free agency. It took some time, but the lean years post-Big 3 era led to another interesting young core. Riley then used it as trade assets yet again.

Heat Trade History: July 6, 2019

The Miami Heat’s long history of targeting disgruntled stars led to the trade acquisition of another such All-Star in July of 2019. After engaging the Minnesota Timberwolves in trade talks for Jimmy Butler in 2018, the Heat got their man nearly a year later in a four-team deal with Philadelphia, Portland and the LA Clippers.

The Heat shipped off their own malcontent in Hassan Whiteside to the Blazers and Josh Richardson to the 76ers. They also sent a 2023 first-round pick to the Clippers to help facilitate the deal. In return, Miami landed Butler and Meyers Leonard. Also involved in that deal was current Heat forward Maurice Harkless, who almost came to Miami then but went from Portland to the Clippers instead.

On that same day, the Heat sent three future second-round picks (2022, 2025 and 2026) to Indiana as part of a three-team trade. The Pacers landed TJ Warren from Phoenix, while Miami received KZ Okpala from the Suns.

This trade helped solidify the young core in Miami and the Heat went on to a surprise NBA Finals run in 2020. Led by Butler, the Heat won the Eastern Conference Championship and took the LA Lakers to six games in the Finals.

There’s no telling when the next big trade will happen. But if there’s a disgruntled star out there, rest assured that Pat Riley will be engaged in trade talks. And if the Godfather is involved, the outcome always comes out in Miami’s favor.

Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler: The Perfect Match

When discussing Bam Adebayo, it’s never about will he take that next leap, but instead when will he take that next leap.

In the two preseason games to start the season, the improvements in his offensive package involving the mid-range jumper have been clear. But if you think he’s getting major opportunities now on offense, just wait til Jimmy Butler lines up next to him.

Something I’ve mentioned lately is that although many speak about the offensive gravity that Duncan Robinson holds when on the floor, Jimmy Butler does as well.

Sometimes he doesn’t look to score early in the game, but once he starts attacking, it just truly opens everything up for the entire team. And after losing in the NBA Finals this past year, I can guarantee Jimmy won’t be taking any regular season game lightly.

The reason Bam Adebayo will benefit majorly from Jimmy’s offensive aggressiveness and flow is because he will have many open shots from about 12 to 15 feet. And if he doesn’t shoot those open jumpers, he will be hearing it from Jimmy.

Whenever Jimmy would drive and kick to him last season, he usually took one dribble into a floater, which obviously is great to use as well, especially for a center. But making a defense worry about that 15 footer just opens that up even more.

Another thing to note is that Jimmy Butler will be directing traffic a lot this season with the ball in his hands, and he will look to work the ball into their offensive staple. The offense runs through Bam just through his ability to pass, set screens, and hand-off, but adding that element creates the leap that many have been waiting for.

There’s a reason that this organization gave Bam the nickname “no ceiling,” and that’s because even after he perfects his jumper this season, there are still tons of areas that still have room for improving.

Many always rave about Jimmy Butler’s perfect fit for the Miami Heat culture and organization, but what about the fit with Bam Adebayo?

I know Bam fits perfectly with anybody in the NBA, since he does everything on the court, but their games align just as much as their mentality and eagerness to win.

As much as people want to constantly discuss possible trade scenarios and things of that nature, just feel comfortable either way having two stars that are basically the same person.