3 Trades the Heat wish they would have made before the deadline

With the Heat's up-and-down season continuing, could another trade have helped them down the stretch for a playoff run?

Dallas Mavericks v Chicago Bulls
Dallas Mavericks v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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PJ Tucker, LA Clippers

There were indeed a lot of rumors and reports linking the Miami Heat to veteran PJ Tucker prior to the trade deadline. The Heat tend to circle back on players they used to have (Josh Richardson is the most recent example) or almost acquired.

Tucker was the most ideal fit as the starting power forward next to Bam Adebayo during that 2021-2022 season, which featured Miami earning the Eastern Conference’s top seed. His defensive versatility and ability to spread the floor was a valuable asset to this core. His locker room voice and leadership would have been welcome, too, especially with Udonis Haslem recently retiring.

After Tucker moved on from Miami by taking a slightly richer contract in free agency, his impact on both offense and defense was never as strong. He had a career year, even at his older age, offensively as a member of the Heat. Spoelstra utilized him beautifully within the team’s system as a true 3-and-D presence.

Tucker’s offensive game over the last couple of seasons changed to just sitting in the corners for 3-point attempts. However, he made plenty of quality floaters along with his long-range shooting in South Beach. He used to take pride in defending the opposing team’s best wing player, which could have been a big impact come playoff time. He can also handle some big man assignments, which would free up Adebayo to roam.

Unfortunately, Tucker chose the money over role and fit, signing with the Philadelphia 76ers following his lone Heat year. He was then traded from Philadelphia to the LA Clippers as part of the James Harden trade earlier this season. Now Tucker doesn’t have much of an impact and has struggled to get any consistent playing time on the Clippers.

It was reported that Tucker did have interest in a Miami reunion, as he publicly requested to be traded in search of a chance to get a role on a contending team again. However, his $11 million salary would have made it difficult for the Heat to swing a deal.