Mavericks run to conference finals fuels criticism of Heat’s trade stance

The Miami Heat were reluctant to trade for Kyrie Irving last season. Did the Heat make a mistake?
Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

While the Miami Heat are sitting at home, Kyrie Irving is set to play in the Western Conference finals, leaving many to question the Heat’s trade stance over the past couple of seasons.

Since reaching the NBA Finals in 2020, the Miami Heat have been one of the first teams linked to nearly every star that became available. However, they have been unsuccessful in actually trading for any star-level talent. One player who was linked to the Heat at last season's trade deadline was polarizing superstar Kyrie Irving.

Irving was viewed as an upgrade at the point guard position, but Miami, like many other NBA teams, was reluctant to trade for him due to questions surrounding his availability and reliability off the court.

Irving was ultimately traded to the Dallas Mavericks to form one of the most skilled backcourts the league has ever seen.

Despite all of the drama that has surrounded Irving during his career, his tenure with the Mavericks has been focused purely on basketball. This allowed him to help lead the Mavericks to their second Western Conference Finals appearance in three years.

Irving is a terrific scorer, especially in clutch moments. His playoff-scoring numbers this postseason won’t blow you away. He has picked his moments, but he delivered timely baskets seemingly every time his team needed one.

Perhaps the most impressive and unexpected ability Irving has brought to this postseason is his defensive effort. He has gotten several ball deflections and has held his own in isolation. His leadership on this end of the court has been contagious. He has inspired a greater level of effort for his whole team.

Did the Heat make a mistake not pushing harder for Kyrie? The question certainly stands right now. It is reasonable to believe that Heat Culture would have had an effect on Irving to develop the same focus and defensive habits that we are witnessing him possess on the Mavs now.

The Heat have been successful without Irving -- they did reach the NBA Finals last season without him, after all. However, one could argue that their ceiling would be higher with a superstar guard like Kyrie Irving on the team to help carry the scoring load.

The Heat will have more decisions to make this offseason. Rumors are already starting to swirl regarding other stars who might become available. The Heat will need to think deeply about whether or not making a trade could improve their ceiling. Playing it passively could put them at risk of missing out on talented players like Kyrie Irving.