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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Sign: Jonas Valanciunas

Riley spent most of his 43-minute press conference harping on the team’s lack of availability. One way to solve that is to sign more durable players, a player such as center Jonas Valanciunas. 

Valanciunas played all 82 games for the Pelicans last season and averaged 12.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He’s not the best rim protector but he’s a good rebounder and, at 6-foot-11, 265 pounds, a big body that the Heat could put next to Bam Adebayo.

The Pelicans are expected to make major changes to the roster this summer and that could include letting Valanciunas walk as a free agent. Valanciunas, at 31, could be available for something close to the taxpayer mid-level exception worth $5.1 million next season.

Adding Valanciunas would allow the Heat to slide Adebayo to power forward. Adebayo started taking more 3s late last season and if that trend continues it should allow the Heat to get away with playing another traditional big next to him more often. Valanciunas would be a plug-and-play fit who wouldn’t need to be on the court at the end of games when Miami prefers to go “small” with Adebayo at center.

Besides Valanciunas, could the Heat also sign a wing to a veteran minimum contract like Cedi Osman, Jordan Nwora, KJ Martin or Jae’Sean Tate? Can they re-sign Caleb Martin and/or Haywood Highsmith?

Maybe Miami’s exact road map won’t look this way, but it’s a good thought exercise when figuring out how the Heat can approach this summer and come away with a team ready to make another Finals run next season.

5 Stars the Miami Heat missed drafting by a single pick. dark. Next. Next