Miami Heat offseason mailbag: If not Donovan Mitchell, then who?

And who will the Heat target in the NBA Draft?
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game One
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game One / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Welcome to the Miami Heat offseason mailbag! Every week, I’ll jump on here and try my best to answer your questions and provide some explanations during what should be an eventful summer. Let’s do it.

As always, thanks to everyone who sent in questions on X. It’s also where you can send future mailbag questions.

Donovan Mitchell.

JK. But maybe?

I’m assuming you’re talking about All-Star caliber players. If so, it’s difficult to pinpoint who will really be available and who we think could be available.

A few examples of the latter: Everyone on the Suns. Phoenix isn’t blowing this up yet, and I don’t see any of those stars asking out after one full season. I also don’t buy that LeBron James would actually leave LA, no matter where his son is drafted.

The reporting around the Paul George situation has been interesting but, even if he took meetings as a free agent, the Heat don’t have the cap space to sign him and it would be tremendously difficult to acquire him via sign-and-trade because of their position against the second tax apron.

Zach LaVine is still available but I don’t see the Heat going in that direction.

Brandon Ingram almost certainly won’t be back with the Pelicans, and I do think he’s gettable. What would New Orleans say to an offer of Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic and two first-round picks? 

The concern with Ingram is that he’s injury-prone – something Pat Riley made clear he wants to avoid – and thrives in the same mid-range area on offense as Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. It’s not a great fit, and I’m not sure he’s the guy the Heat want to go all-in on.

One of the Hawks guards is almost surely getting traded this summer. Atlanta asked for a lot for Dejounte Murray at the trade deadline and didn’t get it, but then Murray went on to average 24.5 points on 45% shooting (36% on 3s), 8.7 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals after the All-Star break. Will that stretch motivate teams to offer more for Murray this summer?

Then there’s Trae Young. The Lakers are the team most often linked to Young and he’d be a good fit there. You could talk me into the fit in Miami. Young might be the best pick-and-roll facilitator in the league, is a willing shooter, and would immediately turn the Heat’s offense into a top-15 outfit (if not better with some good shooting). But defense is a concern and so is his reputation. Also, I’m skeptical that the Hawks would want to trade their current franchise player within the division if all things are equal.

Which brings us back to Mitchell. The word out of Cleveland is that the Cavs are increasingly confident that they can sign him to an extension this summer. Some of that is surely posturing by the Cavs – but how much, exactly? If Mitchell tells the front office he won’t re-sign, they’ll have no choice but to at least explore the trade market. Mitchell, because he can be a free agent next summer, has some say in where he ends up. The prevailing thought is that he’d be willing to sign long-term in Miami. Then it comes down to whether the Cavaliers are interested in what the Heat can offer in a trade.

So, sorry, but the answer is Mitchell.

Alright, so in a world where Mitchell does extend... What then?

The Heat can explore the other options we already covered, but those might not be ideal or realistic.

They should explore breaking up the trio of Rozier, Herro and Robinson. While all are good players, their skill sets are a bit redundant. Could the Heat move one of them to address another hole on the roster?

What would the Nets give up for Herro? Does Cameron Johnson interest the Heat? Could they ask for Dorian Finney-Smith and draft picks? 

What would teams in need of spacing – such as the Bulls, Pistons, Hornets, Thunder, Jazz, etc – give up for Robinson?

Maybe all this amounts to moving deck chairs, but this roster is stale. There’s something to be said for refreshing Miami’s feng shui.

What are you getting at, Brian? A top-25 player who is 32 years old? So you’re talking about Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Paul George and Damian Lillard.

Of that group, Kawhi, Steph and KD aren’t going anywhere. I have my doubts about LeBron leaving LA. George, as we covered, is extremely difficult for Miami to acquire. I think Lillard gives it another year in Milwaukee.

And I’m not trading Jimmy Butler just to shake things up. If the Heat trade Butler, it will have to be because they (a) don’t want to commit to the max extension and (b) Butler seeks that money elsewhere. In that case, Miami’s hands might be tied.

But in that scenario, I’d be looking to turn a Butler deal into a multi-team trade, where the Heat get assets back for Butler that they can use to trade for a star who is on Bam Adebayo’s timeline.

Mock drafts from ESPN, Bleacher Report, the Ringer and CBS all have the Heat taking a guard with the No. 15 pick, whether it’s Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham, USC’s Isaiah Collier or Duke’s Jared McCain. 

Based on how the Heat have approached the draft the last couple of years, though, I’d expect them to look strongly at adding more size. That was a priority when they drafted Nikola Jovic in 2022 and Jaime Jaquez Jr. in 2023 and, with Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith possibly leaving in free agency, they will still have a need for perimeter depth.

Some of the wings projected to go around Miami’s pick are Colorad’s Tristan De Silva and Cody Williams, Kansas’ Johnny Furphy and Providence’s Devin Carter. 

This draft is also deep with high-upside centers like Kel’el Ware, Yves Missi, Zach Edey and DaRon Holmes II, if the Heat wanted to find a long-term backup for Adebayo.

But these are just guesses. It’s too early for an informed opinion on who the Heat might be eyeing.