Former lottery pick would solve major Heat need in free agency

Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

After an excellent season, Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith has a $5.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, when he should be in line for a more lucrative contract from a team in need of a floor-spacing big with potential of 2025.

The Miami Heat should be that team.

According to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, Smith will decline his player option and become an unrestricted free agent. Even though he played it was a minor role in the Pacers’ run to the Eastern Conference finals, Smith shot 44.3 percent from the three-point range and showed the potential that made him the 10th-overall pick in the 2020 draft.

With Miami needing more size and athleticism, the 6-foot-10 Smith has the tools to be a good shot-blocker in the league and is very athletic. Smith is a power forward who can also play center, as well. Bam Adebayo and Smith can play together.

The Miami Heat should target Jalen Smith as a backup and potential frontcourt partner for Bam Adebayo.

Smith would help fill a hole be an excellent get for Miami. Miami has had patch jobs as the Heat have had at backup center behind Adebyao for the past couple of years. Smith is only 24 years old and offers more potential than previous options like Dewayne Dedmon, Cody Zeller and Thomas Bryant.. 

Or as a power forward, Smith along with and Adebayo would form an be athletic paring that could to both defending the rim and defending on the perimeter. Smith, a career 33.5% three-point shooter, would help space the floor for Adebayo and Jimmy Butler the same way guys like Meyers Leonard and Kelly Olynyk have done in the past.

Smith, who averaged 9.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 17.2 minutes per game last season, also brings value as a high-level transition threat, a pick-and-roll man and on the offensive glass.

Miami needs to address the backup center position this off-season. Smith would be a low-risk, high-reward signing who, in Miami, could reach his once-promising ceiling. It would be a good gamble for Miami to sign. Smith, being twenty-four, still has the potential to improve his game.

Smith is a big man who can stretch the floor, rebound and defend the rim. Smith should have a lot of options in free agency after getting his career back on track with the Pacers last season. He’d be an excellent get for the Heat.