Rumored available target could be perfect role player for Heat’s next phase

Apr 12, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA;  Toronto Raptors forward Bruce Brown (11) lobs a pass toward the
Apr 12, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Bruce Brown (11) lobs a pass toward the / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra often says, “We’re not for everybody.” Over the years, the organization has identified the traits it's looking for in players and mastered finding and acquiring those players.

Whether or not the Heat can acquire a star this offseason, there will still be the need to fill out the roster with premium role players who could help take the team back to title contention.

Fortunately for the Heat, a player who seems to embody a lot of the stuff the team painted on its court this season could be available in a trade.

According to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, former Miami Hurricane guard Bruce Brown could be shopped by the Toronto Raptors this offseason.

"The sense from a handful of league sources is that the Raptors are likely to pick up the option, then turn around and deal Brown quickly rather than wait until the 2025 trade deadline."

Bruce Brown would be a seamless fit into the Heat’s culture.

Brown was a key part of the trade that sent Pascal Siakam from Toronto to the Indiana Pacers last season. He has a $23 million team option for next season and, rather than losing Brown for nothing, Smith reports that the Raptors are expected to pick up the option and deal Brown for something that helps their rebuild.

The Raptors have prioritized young players and draft capital in their recent deals. They also traded OG Anunoby for the Knicks for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley last season. They should be able to get a decent haul back for Brown, who is regarded as one of the top role players in the league.

At 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Brown plays bigger than his stature. He can guard all five positions and has been used as a center at times during his five-year career. The 27-year-old was a key contributor for the 2023 champion Denver Nuggets before signing a lucrative two-year contract with the Pacers last summer.

Brown started 33 games for the Pacers before getting traded to Toronto, where he came off the bench for all but 11 of his 34 appearances. He averaged 10.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists on 48% shooting for the season while playing for two teams and battling a lingering knee issue. 

Last month, Brown told a reporter that he felt like he was playing on one leg since December.

Brown, who played two seasons at Miami before getting selected by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 2018 draft, still spends his summers in South Florida and would surely welcome a chance to return full-time.

The Heat value players with Brown’s versatility, work ethic and selfless play. A couple of those players are Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith, who each could leave for more lucrative contracts as free agents this summer. 

Should they leave, the Heat will be even more motivated to find high-level replacements.