Why did the Miami Heat choose Terry Rozier over Dejounte Murray, and what comes next?

What comes next after the Miami Heat's trade for Terry Rozier?

Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat
Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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The Miami Heat have agreed to trade Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets for guard Terry Rozier. Here are some thoughts on the trade and what it means for the Heat going forward.

Miami chose Terry Rozier over Dejounte Murray

Rozier made more sense than trading for Dejounte Murray because of the price – one first-round pick for Rozier versus at least two firsts to pry Murray from the Hawks. 

Because Murray wasn’t a perfect fit, the Heat opted to pursue Rozier.

An argument can even be made that Rozier is a better fit for the Heat than Murray. Rozier gets to the basket (4.5 attempts in the restricted area) more than Murray (4.1), Tyler Herro (2.3) and Lowry (1.0), and about as much as Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. That should help put pressure on the rim and create open shots for Miami’s 3-point shooters.

Murray, on the other hand, takes a large portion of his shots from the mid-range and non-restricted paint area. The Heat already have players who thrive in that area in Butler, Adebayo and Herro, and didn’t necessarily need more shots from the inefficient mid-range.

Although Murray is the better defensive player, the Heat are betting that Rozier, who has a near-6-foot-9 wingspan, can be a difference-maker on that end (similar to what he was during his early days in Boston).

Salary cap impact

Trading Lowry’s $29.6 million expiring salary for Rozier’s $23.2 million salary drops Miami’s luxury-tax bill for this season from $29 million to $14 million.

The Heat also drop $6.3 million below the second apron, unlocking a $5 million taxpayer midlevel exception that Miami can use to sign any buyout players who earned less than $12.4 million this season.

When Rozier will play his first game with the Heat will depend on when Lowry reports to Charlotte for his physical to complete the trade.

What’s next?

By trading for Rozier, the Heat add $24.9 million to their payroll next season. That puts them only a few million dollars from the second apron for next season. 

If Caleb Martin opts out of his $7.1 million salary for next season (of which there is a good chance), the Heat won’t be able to resign him and stay below the onerous second luxury tax line. Basically, this means Martin is likely to be playing somewhere else next season.

Should the Heat, then, be exploring trades for Martin now?

Martin has been hampered by injuries for most of this season but seems to finally be turning a corner in his health. He can still be a helpful player for a Heat team trying to make a run. They won’t trade him for just anything.

While Martin is still valued by the Heat, his role isn’t as vital, given the emergence of Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Haywood Highsmith. If the Heat can acquire a player on a team-controlled contract that helps bring a bit more balance to the roster, the Heat would at least have to explore it.

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