Heat should target Kelly Olynyk, three more former players to round out roster

Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. (5) drives the ball around LA Clippers guard Lou Williams (23)(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. (5) drives the ball around LA Clippers guard Lou Williams (23)(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

In the ever-dynamic world of basketball, few narratives are as captivating as a player’s homecoming. “Rook 1,” aka Josh Richardson has found his way back home in a move that has rekindled excitement and hope among Miami Heat fans.

Richardson was traded for Jimmy Butler back in 2019, and after four years of being removed, he’s coming back as not only a beloved icon, but as a seamless fit to the group.

Seeing him back in a Heat jersey is sure to bring back nostalgia from the pre-Butler days, but it also arises the question; why stop there?

With the Damian Lillard trade looming in the distance and the package currently unknown, it’d be fun to mix-and-match and bring back some familiar faces to mesh with the new ones. So, here are four former Miami Heat players that should be looked at for a potential return.

Like with Josh Richardson, the Miami Heat could look to some familiar faces to complete their roster and fill some important team needs.

The first player to look at is Derrick Jones Jr. It’s understandable as to why the Heat haven’t exactly made a run for players, as stated earlier, all eyes are on Damian Lillard. Now, if the deal is eventually made, there could be some roster spots to open up and there are a surplus of reasons as to why Jones could fill that role.

Familiarity is the biggest key here. Jones has experience not only with the Heat’s system, but also has experience playing alongside Damian Lillard. You can kill two birds with one stone! Jones was a vital piece on the 2020 Finals run. Whenever his number was called, you could expect him to come in and make the correct defensive rotations.

His best offensive and defensive season came in Miami, and being only 26, there’s still some untapped potential there considering he left for the Portland Trailblazers the season right after.

He still isn’t the best three point shooter, and wouldn’t be expected to be, but why not bring him back for much needed depth after a monster trade? To have that familiarity and athletic body at the end of a bench, could be very useful for the long 82 game season.

Jones’ market right now isn’t that high due to the new CBA tax rules. At the same time, for Jones, why not look at the opportunity to return home to a familiar coach, Erik Spoelstra, who knows how to unlock his potential?

The second player the Heat should target is unlikely, but he could be of big help, and that is Kelly Olynyk. He’s still currently under contract for the Utah Jazz, and had his option picked up, but that doesn’t mean the Heat can’t make a move.

Hypothetically, the Heat could have an opportunity to acquire Olynyk in the aftermath of a Lillard deal. The Jazz have earlier been reported to be interested in the Tyler Herro sweepstakes, and thus could be an opportunity for the Heat to grab their point guard and power forward.

While Olynyk was never much of a fan favorite, he embodied “Heat Culture” as much as anyone else and not everyone can do that. Olynyk definitely had his moments where he made you say, “Why did he shoot that?” and “How did he make that?” What is noteworthy is that Olynyk shot 38 percent on catch-and-shoot threes.

It isn’t the best percentage in the league, but for a stretch four, it’s certainly something to highlight. As it stands, the only real power forwards on this team are Kevin Love, Nikola Jovic and Caleb Martin (which is a stretch to say).

You need a guy who has proven can play next to Bam, and Olynyk has not only proven that, but he would be the best fit, bar any other power forward acquisitions in a Lillard trade.

Up next is “Rook 2,” Justise Winslow. He has had a cult follow in Miami during and after his tenure here, and now could be a good time to bring him back.

The same implications apply here, he would serve as depth at the wing spot after a Lillard trade, but Winslow would bring a different skillset to the team. In his role here again, he’d be much more of a ball handler now than he was back in the day. The “Point Justise” stans would resurrect as the loud and prominent group they once were.

He’d land maybe seven-to-eight minutes a game at best, but once again, you’ll have a ball handler who is familiar with Coach Spo’s system and is still a high level defender. Just like Jones, you can have him come in and attack bench units, creating havoc which could lead to more fastbreak opportunities.

At worst, he could be a minutes filler to allow either Adebayo or Jimmy Butler to catch some rest. Either way, it’d be cool to see both former Heat rookies back in Miami with the new era of Heat players.

The last player the Heat should bring back, is none other than Goran Dragić. The former all-star has definitely seen brighter and better days, but as he’s heading towards the of his professional career in the NBA, why not bring him back?

Yes, he won’t be the same Gogi that we remember, but he could serve as a strong third string and help fill in the Udonis Haslem role as well. He’s also expressed interest in returning if the Heat would have him, and for a year where the Heat seem to be pushing in all their chips (Lillard trade), it’d be cool to bring him along for the ride to get him a championship.

While it’s understandable that the Heat are waiting to secure Lillard and find out who goes where, for some of these players, not only would it be cool to see them in a Heat jersey again, but some of them can bring a real impact to the court like they used to in Miami. It’ll be interesting to see who the Heat target in the foreseen aftermath.