Burning Qs: Will the Heat trade Kyle Lowry?

May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks on in warm ups before game seven against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks on in warm ups before game seven against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

Welcome to another “Burning Questions” Miami Heat mailbag! It’s the mailbag with hot questions and even hotter answers.

As always, you can submit your questions to me on X, formerly Twitter, @wcgoldberg or email them to wcgoldberg@gmail.com. Alright, fire away!

No, and no.

Despite Kai Jones being the self-proclaimed “GOAT,” I don’t think he can beat Thomas Bryant or Orlando Robinson out for minutes. In two years in Charlotte, he could barely get on the floor. Zero starts, 613 career minutes. That’s 32 fewer minutes than Eugene Omoruyi played all of last season. Do you know who that is? Me neither!

Jones has plenty of talent but the Heat aren’t in position to be taking on more projects, especially ones with such a warped sense of where they stand.

As far as Dragic, look, I don’t want to say anything bad about him. Let’s just point out that he’s 37 and hasn’t played significant minutes in two seasons despite playing for four different teams. The vibes would be great, but that isn’t the Heat’s priority. Not to mention that because of his experience, a minimum for Dragic would be much more expensive (especially when considering the luxury tax) than a minimum contract for, say, Dru Smith.

Speaking of Dru Smith, he has a decent chance of landing the 14th roster spot if only because the Heat need depth in the backcourt. The other option would be Jamal Cain who, like Smith, is currently on a two-way contract. Cole Swider will make the team but the Heat don’t necessarily need him on the 15-man roster. If either Cain or Smith gets promoted, Swider can backfill that vacated two-way spot.

As “NBA-ready” as Jaime Jaquez Jr. might be, he’s still a rookie, and asking a rookie to run the second unit of a playoff team is asking an awful lot. But I like the idea of Jaquez being a secondary ball-handler on an up-tempo second unit when Jimmy Butler is on the bench.

Jaquez can do stuff, and the Heat need guys that can do stuff. That’s why they replaced Cody Zeller — a solid player but not exactly a stuff-doer — with Thomas Bryant — who can make mistakes but also makes stuff happen. Stuff, like getting up shots, grabbing offensive rebounds and jumping passing lanes, is good.

Jaquez can do that alongside Kyle Lowry or in a group led by Tyler Herro. Jaquez’s potential emergence shouldn’t dictate how the Heat handle their point guard position.

The short answer is yes.

Now for the longer answer.

As we saw last season with Russell Westbrook, expiring contracts have value, especially at the trade deadline. The Lakers flipped Westbrook and a future first-round pick in a package that reshaped the roster and propelled the Lakers to the Western Conference finals.

TBD if that sort of trade exists for the Heat, but keep in mind that Miami’s problem isn’t the same as LA’s. Those Lakers had star power but lacked depth. These Heat have depth but lack top-end talent. If I were the Heat, I’d consider packaging Lowry and a first-round pick for a top-50ish player on a long-term contract that another team is trying to get off of around the trade deadline.

If things go south for New Orleans, would they look to unload C.J. McCollum? Will Portland eventually try to trade away Jerami Grant? Does Washington see what they could get for Kyle Kuzma?

It’s inconceivable. Part of me wonders if there was some sort of clerical error, like Adebayo’s name just wasn’t listed as an option. I don’t know, because I don’t know how the survey works. But asking someone what they think of Bam Adebayo is becoming a great way to test how much basketball they actually watch.

On the flip side, the outrage about Adebayo’s absence could stoke the flames for a Defensive Player of the Year campaign. I maintain that Adebayo was robbed of the 2022 DPOY award that went to Marcus Smart. He’s been a candidate multiple times and will be for the next several years. Adebayo will get a DPOY award eventually.

Rank the following players in order of potential: Cole Swider, Jamie Jaquez Jr., R.J. Hampton, Orlando Robinson, Nikola Jovic. — RJ

  1. Jovic — He has a rare combination of ball skills and size. If he can put it all together, you’re looking at a player with All-Star potential.
  2. Jaquez — Love his feel for the game and his ability to defend multiple positions. If that jumper can be consistent, there’s a world where Jaquez can be one of the more impactful two-way players in the league.
  3. Robinson — A 7-footer who rebounds well and has floor-spacing potential, Robinson’s best-case is probably a longtime NBA backup and fill-in starter. That’s a good career.
  4. Swider — Teams need 3-point shooting, and Swider has the potential to be one of the best 20-or-so 3-point shooters in the league.
  5. Hampton — Super athletic but I need to see all the straight-line talent translate in a game before I get excited.