2 reasons why the Heat should trade for Brandon Ingram, 1 why they shouldn’t

If they can't land a star, could Brandon Ingram be the upgrade the Miami Heat need?
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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The Miami Heat are expected to make roster changes this offseason, as confirmed by Pat Riley in his end-of-season press conference. How drastic and/or how big of an overhaul Riley and brass decide to go is still very much in question. There are seven players under contract through next season, including Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, Jaime Jaquez Jr and Nikola Jovic.

Even with Butler and Adebayo under contract, they are due for extensions. Butler’s extension doesn’t have to take place for another year, but it is yet to be seen if he and his camp will formally request it by this summer. The others under contract, such as Herro, Jovic and Jaquez, could be viewed as assets in the open market.

The Heat are always in the mix for the next whale, with players like Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, Trae Young and even LeBron James being linked to Miami by the media over the last few months. But with the team’s financial situation being hard capped at the second apron, what if they look for a cheaper way to improve the roster?

Someone who fits that description could be New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, who is expected to be available on the trade market.

Ingram, an underrated scorer, is coming off a season with averages of 20.8 points, 5.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds on 49.2% shooting and 35.5% from deep. 

He is also set to make around $30 million next season, unlike the $45-50 million range for names like Mitchell, Durant, Young and James. That is an easier contract to navigate and work around, granted the Heat have to send back salary to the Pelicans to get a deal done. 

At just 26 years old, the upside is certainly there with a player like Ingram. Let’s go over a couple reasons why a trade for him makes sense for the Heat, along with a crucial reason why they shouldn’t do so.

Pro: Heat need scoring

Miami sported a top-five defensive rating during this year’s regular season but ranked 21st in offensive rating. It seemed like the Heat couldn’t keep up on that side of the ball during several stretches throughout the year. You can rely on Ingram to put up points and create offense.

Outside of his 20.8 points this season, he averaged 23.8 points on average over the four seasons prior. The 2022-2023 campaign for Ingram was the best of his career, when he put up 24.7 points (career-high), 5.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 0.7 steals on 48.4% shooting and 39.0% from 3-point range. His career-high in points came in a game back in 2020, where he put up 49 points in a game against the Utah Jazz.

Having someone with this scoring potential could provide a much-needed boost to the Heat's offense. There were way too many scoring droughts during games for Miami the past few years, and a scorer of Ingram’s caliber and reputation is an attractive addition to pair with the skill set of Butler and Adebayo. When the game slows down, this current Heat roster lacks go-to scoring options. 

His playmaking is another offensive strength. Ingram has averaged more than 5.5 assists in each of the last three seasons.