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Miami Heat pursuing star players after loss in NBA Finals, 3 realistic trades that boost the team

The Miami Heat are pursuing a star player after coming up short in the NBA Finals. Check out three realistic trades that puts Miami over the top!

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat walked out of Ball Arena after Game 5 of the NBA Finals with overwhelming disappointment as the Denver Nuggets celebrated their first championship in franchise history. It broke a 47-year drought as they joined the league during the ABA-NBA merger.

However, the Heat are in a much better position than two months ago. Miami sat as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference with little hope outside the locker room. The team clawed its way through the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks before finding itself in another Game 7 with the Boston Celtics.

Miami looked the wrong side of history in the eyes and overwhelmed the Celtics on their own home floor. It was a historic playoff run that came up just short against Denver in the NBA Finals. Now, the task is to make it back and be on the right side of history.

There are plenty of factors in play for the Heat, including the increase in valuable assets and a new CBA agreement. The organization is hunting for star players and it has the feel of a major offseason that has already begun for Miami.

This team will not be the same next season and that is a good thing for right now. There is optimism that Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo will have a new partner to form the most talented Heat team since the “Big 3” days and there are a few ways to make this happen.

Related: Why the Miami Heat turned from a play-in team to a championship contender

Miami Heat finally land Bradley Beal in a trade with the Washington Wizards

NBA: Miami Heat at Washington Wizards
Nov 20, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) dribbles the ball against Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Trade proposal

  • Miami Heat: Bradley Beal
  • Washington Wizards: Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, 2028 first-round pick (top-10 protected)

Bradley Beal’s well-documented partnership with the Washington Wizards could be coming to an end sooner rather than later. The two parties are working on trade scenarios with the Heat and Milwaukee Bucks positioned as prominent suitors.

It would be a long-awaited welcome for Beal, who has a no-trade clause in his contract. The Heat have been enamored with the Wizards guard for several seasons but a trade has never come to fruition. Beal and Washington have always wanted to make it work.

With a possible rebuild on the horizon, the time has come for Beal to truly work on his options with the Wizards. One of them is joining the Heat as the team has “consistently stood above the rest of the league” in Beal’s mind.

Miami could try to pry Beal away from Washington without giving up Tyler Herro; however, it depends on the market for him. It’s well-known that Beal would love to be on the Heat but he may not force his way and allow other teams into the picture.

If so, Herro should be dealt and it’s that simple. The Heat can use Duncan Robinson to match his salary and give a 2028 first-round pick (top-10 protected) to incentive the deal. The Wizards won’t receive much in return but it has to be worth it to them.

The Heat need to go all-in on the Butler-Adebayo duo and Beal would be a great compliment. Herro shouldn’t be the reason this deal isn’t completed. If the Portland Trail Blazers don’t trade Damian Lillard away, it makes the decision much easier.

Speaking of Lillard, it leads to the next trade idea if he finally decides to ask out if Portland keeps the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft or goes into a complete rebuild.

Related: NBA reporters offer insight on likelihood of Kyrie Irving joining the Miami Heat

Damian Lillard demands a trade to the Miami Heat

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat
Nov 7, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles the ball around Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the first quarter at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Trade proposal

  • Miami Heat: Damian Lillard
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Nikola Jovic, 2023 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 first-round pick

Lillard has been the most popular name connected to the Heat and it is for good reason. The 32-year-old point guard listed Miami as a destination if he were to be traded and talked about his strong friendship with Adebayo.

The rumors of Lillard and the Heat will not go away until there is a resolution. It will take the organization going all-in on another star player or Lillard being traded elsewhere for the conversations to stop. Well, what if these conversations come to frution?

If the Trail Blazers guard truly wants Miami or Brooklyn, then it makes a trade a little bit easier since the organization would only be bidding against one team. Obviously, Lillard saying “Miami and only Miami” would make it better overall.

Still, any deal for Lillard would start with Herro. From a cap perspective, the team would be right at his $45.64 million cap hit by adding Robinson and giving Portland a smaller incentive with Jovic. Then, three first-round picks to round out the deal.

Jovic may not be needed but Herro and three first-round picks as the base make sense overall. It would give Miami a tentative starting lineup of Lillard-(Player X)-Butler-(Player X)-Adebayo with Lowry, Martin, Highsmith, and maybe Jovic rounding out the team.

The Heat could always flip Lowry for a decent player since his play in the NBA Finals and an expiring contract would be intriguing. Miami could always re-sign Gabe Vincent or Max Strus as well. Vincent would be a good backup point guard option for Lillard.

The basic idea is the Heat could build a team around the trio of Lillard, Butler, and Adebayo. If both Lillard and Beal fall through, Miami can always try to acquire a player to plug in at the four next to Adebayo.

Related: Miami Heat draft preview: 3 NBA Draft targets, including Dariq Whitehead

Miami Heat swing deal for Toronto Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby

NBA: Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors
Nov 16, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby (3) drives to the net past Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the second half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Trade proposal

  • Miami Heat: O.G. Anunoby, Thaddeus Young
  • Toronto Raptors: Tyler Herro, 2023 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick (top-5 protected)

This trade idea is less certain than Lillard and Beal because how much is O.G. Anunoby truly worth right now? Anunoby’s cap hit for the 2023-’24 season is $18.64 and he has a player option for the 2024-’25 season that will likely be declined.

The Toronto Raptors were reportedly asking for around three first-round picks but the idea of losing Anunoby seems worse than trading him away below the very high asking price. So, what could Miami offer to pry the 25-year-old forward away from Toronto?

Much like the previous trade ideas, Herro would headline a package. The Heat wouldn’t give up their young guard for a rental so Anunoby would stay long-term in this scenario. Due to the talented forward’s cap hit, Toronto would need to send out another salary.

Thaddeus Young could round out the deal from a cap perspective with the rest coming down to draft picks. This is where it becomes tricky because it is unclear how the Raptors view Herro as a player.

Would the No. 18 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and a 2027 first-round pick (top-5 protected) be enough for the Raptors? There could be other teams around the league that offer more for Anunoby so it may bank on their view of Herro.

Whether a draft pick is added or not, a tentative lineup of Lowry-(Player X)-Butler-Anunoby-Adebayo would be incredible on the defensive end of the floor. As said above, the Heat could also decide to re-sign Vincent and move Lowry to the bench if he’s still on the team with his expiring deal.

Either way, the Heat will have plenty of options available to them during the offseason. The organization has a sour taste in its mouth after losing the NBA Finals and the time for significantly improving the lineup is coming.