1 Trade, 1 signing that could make the Heat contenders next year

Here's one trade and a free-agent signing that would help the Miami Heat reopen their championship window next season.
Mar 10, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA;  Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) looks to pass
Mar 10, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) looks to pass / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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Trade: Land Donovan Mitchell

Many around the league expect Donovan Mitchell to get traded this summer. Mitchell, like Butler, will be extension eligible but is not expected to resign in Cleveland. The Cavs would then be forced to explore that trade market for the 27-year-old scorer.

But before making any moves, the Heat must first resolve Butler's situation. Butler is expected to ask for a maximum two-year, $113 million extension, and the Heat don’t seem to be in a rush to give it to him. Perhaps there’s a middle ground where the Heat give Butler an extra year with a two-year, $90 million that comes out to an average of $45 million per season. With Butler locked in, the Heat can move on to other business.

Tyler Herro’s value across the league has been hotly debated, but the overall package that Miami shopped for Damian Lillard last summer – Herro, Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr., plus picks – has certainly gone up in perceived value. After Jaquez impressed as a rookie and Jovic developed into a playoff starter, both young players would be valuable in any trade. Herro, a 20-point-per-game scorer best suited to be a sixth man, can still be an important piece to a contending team.

Would the package of Herro, Jovic, Jaquez and a first-round pick (perhaps this June’s 15th overall selection) be enough to pry Mitchell away from Cleveland?

An NBA scout recently told the Miami Herald that a hypothetical offer of Herro, one of Jovic or Jaquez and a first-round pick would be, “a competitive one, because Mitchell can just leave in a year.”

Adding Mitchell to a lineup alongside Butler and Bam Adebayo would give the Heat a bona fide No. 1 scorer capable of leading the offense through the regular season. The Heat have finished the last two regular seasons with the 25th- and 21st-ranked offenses. The did not have a single player finish in the top 40 of scoring this season. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, was the NBA’s ninth-leading scorer at 26.6 points per game and is capable of scintillating scoring nights. He recently scored 50 in a playoff game and dropped 71 points on the Bulls in January. He’d be the sort of bucket-getter that the Heat have not had since LeBron James left in 2014.

Sending out Herro, Jovic and Jaquez would be tough, but the result would be an incomplete rotation that includes Mitchell, Butler, Adebayo, Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson. 

The Heat could turn to free agency to complete the starting lineup.