Here's how the Miami Heat can acquire an elite scorer this offseason

The Miami Heat should be looking to acquire someone capable of scoring 26 points per game. Here's why.
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

It’s a stat that I’ve been citing in this space and on the “Locked On Heat” podcast quite a bit lately: The Miami Heat did not have a single player in the top 40 in scoring this season.

More specifically, nobody was in the top 44.

Tyler Herro, who played 42 games last season, and Jimmy Butler led the Heat, each at 20.8 points per game. That ranked 44th in the league, behind Portland’s Jerami Grant (21) and Charlotte’s Miles Bridges (21). 

As much as other stuff – like defense, rebounding, turnovers, shot quality, net rating, PER, BPM and FORX (Okay, I made that one up) – matters, basketball boils down to scoring more than your opponent. Championship-winning teams need dudes who can put the ball in the basket.

Take the eight remaining teams in the playoffs. Most have a scorer who ranked in the top 12 in points per game this regular season.

  • Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was third among qualified candidates in points per game at 30.1.
  • Dallas’ Luka Doncic ranked first with 33.9.
  • New York’s Jalen Brunson was fourth at 28.7.
  • Boston’s Jayson Tatum was seventh at 26.9.
  • Denver’s Nikola Jokic, not known as a premier scorer, was 10th at 26.4.
  • Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards was 12th at 25.9.
  • Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell averaged 26.6 points in his 55 games played.
  • Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton could be considered the exception since he averaged only 20.1 points per game, which would rank 37th. But consider that he led the league with 10.9 assists per game and he was creating just as many points as his counterparts.

Averaging 20 points per game the way Herro and Butler did isn’t the milestone it was once made out to be. Back in the day, having a “20-point-per-game scorer” meant you had one of the premier offensive players in the league. 

Ten years ago, only 21 players averaged 20 points per game.

This season, 50 players cracked the 20-point mark, including such stalwarts as (checks notes) RJ Barrett.

Because teams now play at a faster pace and take more efficient shots, the new milestone needs to be inflated. Twenty-two players scored at least 24 points per game, which feels like the right landing spot. Nobody on the Heat did.

The most elite scorers average upwards of 26 points per game. With Butler nearing 35 years old, it’s clear he can no longer carry the offense in the regular season. The Heat need someone who can. The Heat should be looking to acquire that scorer this summer. 

What if the Heat’s front office simply filtered the league’s top scorers and went down the list of players who averaged 26 or more points per game and asked if/how that player could be acquired? 

The front office’s job is much harder than that, but it’s a good start. Let’s try it.

  1. Joel Embiid: The 76ers aren’t trading Embiid. They are trying to use their maximum cap space to build around him. Next.
  2. Luka Doncic: Nope, not this summer. But Doncic could become a free agent in 2026. Something to monitor if he doesn’t sign an extension this summer.
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo: Although this season was far from ideal for the Bucks, few expect Giannis to force a trade this summer. But… would he? The Heat wouldn’t have the assets to pull off a deal even if he did.
  4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Next.
  5. Jalen Brunson: Mr. New York isn’t leaving that city.
  6. Kevin Durant: Although Chad OchoCinco is doing his best to fire up the rumors, I still don’t see the Suns blowing things up after one real year of the experiment and hiring Mike Budenholzer. I also don’t expect Durant to ask for yet another trade.
  7. Devin Booker: This could get interesting. I don’t think Booker asks for a trade this summer (again, I think they all give this another shot) but Bam Adebayo will be Booker’s teammate on Team USA. Maybe there’s a chance to plant some seeds that sprout in the future.
  8. Jayson Tatum: Not leaving Boston.
  9. Donovan Mitchell: This is the player most expect to get moved this summer. Mitchell reportedly won’t sign an extension to stay in Cleveland, which could force the Cavaliers to explore trading him this summer. The Heat showed interest in the past and would likely be interested again.
  10. De'Aaron Fox: This is another situation worth monitoring. It would be surprising if anything happened this summer, but Fox will be a free agent in 2026 unless he signs an extension with the Kings.
  11. Stephen Curry: Next.
  12. Nikola Jokic: Next.
  13. Tyrese Maxey: Nope.
  14. Anthony Edwards: No shot.
  15. Trae Young: You have to wonder how vaulting to the no. 1 pick in the draft lottery changes Atlanta’s plans for the offseason. Maybe it doesn’t change anything. Most around the league expect the Hawks to explore what they could get for Young in a trade. Would they trade the current face of the franchise to a division rival in Miami? I’m skeptical.
  16. LeBron James: I know everyone is wondering if he’ll leave the Lakers, but I still think he wants to stay in Los Angeles. All the noise is just posturing so that he can get the best contract possible.
  17. Kyrie Irving: Technically averaged 25.6 points per game. Either way, the Mavericks seem happy and, more importantly, Kyrie seems happy.
  18. Ja Morant: Averaged 25.1 points in nine games but is still one of the league’s premier talents. The Grizzlies don’t seem anxious to trade him at his lowest moment.

So those are the elite scorers. Among that group, the ones insiders consider the most likely to get traded are Mitchell and Young. If the Heat want to acquire an elite scorer, those would be the two to home in on. Otherwise, the Heat may have to wait… again.