In the National Basketball League, sometimes trades don’t pan out.
For the Miami Heat, there is a case to be made that’s what happened when they traded for G Kyle Lowry. On January 23rd, 2024, the Miami Heat traded Lowry and a 2027 first-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for G Terry Rozier III.
Two summers ago, the Heat acquired Lowry via sign-and-trade from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for G Goran Dragic and F Precious Achiuwa. Lowry and his three-year $85 million contract came to Miami with title aspirations that never materialized. Though the Heat did make a Finals appearance in 2024, it’s clear that management wanted to go in a different direction: Opting for Rozier and his four-year, $96 million contract. For Miami, the trade makes total sense. Sitting at 24-22, it was clear that a move was needed to improve their chances for a title. Shedding Lowry’s contract created nearly 15 million in cap space to acquire another scoring guard alongside F Jimmy Butler, F Bam Adebayo, and G Tyler Herro. In addition, Miami sent over a 2027 First-Round pick.
Time For a Change
For Charlotte, they are in the stages of rebuilding and are looking to accumulate as many potential first-round picks as possible. Moving Lowry for even more assets is something that Charlotte will likely consider. The move comes ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline in February. This transaction means more teams could be looking to make that move that makes them as competitive as possible when playoffs start.
With this trade, Miami becomes the only team in the league this season to have four players averaging over 20.0 points per game. It’s clear that General Manager Pat Riley wants to give this year’s Heat squad every chance possible to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy this season.
In the meantime, the new-look Heat roster will continue to gel and work on preparing for the upcoming playoffs.
Rozier finds himself in uncharted waters since this is the first time in his 8-year career that he is moving teams mid-season. Though Rozier has only played a few games so far for the Heat, he is willing to do what is asked of him in his new role.
“I’m not here to step on nobody’s toes,” Rozier said in his debut post-game press conference. “I’m here to help this team get over that hump, and that’s what I wanna do.”
The word “Culture” is one that has been associated with Miami for quite some time. So much so that this year’s city edition uniforms for the Heat even have them across the players’ chests.
In his short time here, Rozier can already attest to the culture Miami brings with it.
“Simply, the difference here is guys over here don’t like losing,” Rozier said. “It’s something that they’re not used to.”
The Early Returns For The Heat
After getting to see Rozier play a few games, there should be little doubt surrounding Rozier and his ability to contribute on both ends of the floor. His scoring ability is a big reason that Riley wanted him. There is plenty of season left for Rozier to better acclimatize himself to Miami both on and off the court. Miami will surely be looking to return to the NBA finals after losing 4-2 to the Denver Nuggets last year. Only time will tell if trading for Rozier puts this Heat team in a better or worse position to contend for a title. One thing is for sure: few coaches can extract more from their players than Erik Spoelstra.
Spoelstra seemed to acknowledge the team’s recent struggles but was adamant that it, too, would pass.
“Look, right now, we’re going to rally around each other, rally around our identity. It’s a tough time right now.” Spoelstra said to the Miami Herald.
Getting back into the win column sooner rather than later would help expedite the cohesiveness of this Heat team. Presently, Miami rests at the seventh seed and would lack home-court advantage in most potential playoff matchups.
Regardless, Rozier will now be a pivotal piece for Miami for what could potentially be a deep playoff push.
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