Let me know what you think of this trade:
So the Heat to me have the culture and experience to make a championship run but are outgunned talent wise, their bench is a little thin and they sorely need a 4. This trade fixes all of that for them and propels them into championship contention.
The Lakers are in a halfway house, unable to tank this year but not able to compete, this could be an early season trade that makes them more competitive while maintaining their flexibility to make another move closer to the deadline with Russ’s contract and their last remaining 1st.
The Spurs are simply too well coached and have too many starting level players to tank at the moment, so the front office gets involved and forces Pop’s hand, picking up assets, players to rehabilitate and a young prospect who would benefit from landing in San Antonio- here’s how each team looks after the trade:
Heat: The Heat suddenly have one of the more complete rosters in the league after this trade. They move off of Robinson, a negative contract whose skill set is largely redundant with Strus on the roster. Oladipo, a guy who they’d keep in an ideal world but can’t seem to shake injuries early this season. Deadmon who’s been much maligned by Heat fans on the sight, as well as Jovic a high upside guy with real talent, not ready to compete in the playoffs this year.
In return they bring in the 4 they desperately need in Kelvin Johnson. A steady perimeter defender who’s shown real shot creation and shot making talent this year (currently shooting 41% on 9 3’s a game) he’s learnt the trade in San Antonio and is ready to help a roster compete for a chip. He’s also tied down to a great contract and helps Miami continue to bolster their two timeline core, ready to take the reigns with Adebayo and Herro when Butler and Lowry age out. McDermott adds more perimeter shooting and fairly reliable defending as well as some size to the roster. He could play at the 3 or 4 and with him, Strus and Johnson on the roster Miami could always field 2 elite 3 point shooters to help spacing. Bates-Diop is an underrated role player I like for his length and versatility. A sturdy defender who’s reliable at the line, I like him as a rotation guy in the playoffs. Lastly Dieng comes in for Deadmon. A savvy role player who can space from 3 and facilitate Miami going small off the floor, I’ve always been impressed with Dieng’s IQ and he allows for Yurtseven to get more minutes considering that he and Deadmon have a largely similar skill set.
All in all the Heat would play like this:
PG: Lowry, SG: Herro, SF: Butler, PF: Johnson, C: Adebayo - Vincent, Strus, Martin, McDermott, Dieng would be their playoff rotation. A deep team with the option to change up their style of play in a number of ways. They’re asking Vincent to be the back up Pg full time which is a step up but Herro will need to develop his playmaking skills anyway if the Heat are to challenge again this year.
A shorter summary for the Lakers. They part with two underwhelming guards on expiring deals and bring in two starting level guys on expiring deals. All in exchage for their 27 1st and a couple of seconds. Poeltl would allow for AD to play the 4 more often, leading to even better defensive numbers and more rim protection. They’d lean into playing more like Memphis last year, not necessarily the best 3 point shooting team in the league but Davis and Poeltl could attack the boards on offence seeking to increase half court efficiency that way. Russ has always loved playing with a savvy big man too, the hard screen and rolls Poeltl provides would be a Steven Adams like fit back at OKC. Richardson is another great fit. A role player who can defend on the perimeter to a high level while knocking down 3’s, he compliments Bron and Russ perfectly. Both guys are on expiring deals meaning that if the Lakers chose to let Russ go in FA instead of trading him they’d have a lot of flexibility with the cap in the off-season.
I see the Lakers lining up like this:
PG: Schroeder, SG: Richardson, SF: James, PF: Davis, C: Poeltl - Westbrook, Lonnie Walker, Reaves, Brown, Bryant
This leaves the Lakers with a more talented roster and the flexibility to improve the roster further later down the line in the season. The top 8 of the rotation looks far more balanced with the guard clear out and I think their form would pick up pretty fast. Dare I say that with the cast of more athletic role-players Russ might look a better fit with AD and Bron on the floor than last year? Probably not but I’m secretly a bit of a Russ believer still… That’s as long as he maintains this new mentality we’ve seen in the last 10 games or so.
Finally the Spurs. (I understand if this trade hurts at first Spurs fans.) The Spurs definitely get worse after this trade but shouldn’t that be the aim? Johnson is the biggest loss. He’s on a good contract and is seemingly developing into a high level starting player in the league, I can see him putting up 20ppg on good efficiency while being a decent defender for his career.
But in this trade they get back the Miami 1st from this year (further strengthening their young core) a swap in 28 where the Heat could be at the end of a cycle where Spurs are planning to be a juggernaut again and Jovic, a proper high upside guy with great size, an eye for a pass and ball handling skills, raw talent that can be refined in SA. They also pick up some expiring money in Nunn and Beverley. 2 year guys who can be flipped next year to contenders in Oladipo and Deadmon and Robinson who’s on a negative deal that gets better as the cap increases. This is also bad money that expires when they’d be looking to contend again so not a massive negative. Not to mention the addition of a Lakers 27 1st which could prove to be very valuable, this is a trade that brings in future picks and strengthens the Spurs’s own 1st this year and allows them a better chance at a top 2 pick.
They’d still have a rotation of young guys who can all develop together:
PG: Jones, SG: Vassell, SF: Robinson, PF: Sochan, C: Collins - Branham, Langford, Jovic, Deadmon, Roby and Wesley would all be in line for minutes off the bench.
This excludes the expiring Lakers guys who I don’t think the Spurs would have an interest in playing, I think they’re a bad team with this lineup but Vassell, Sochan, Jovic and Branham would all have a lot of reps and hopefully develop with the aim of bringing in generational talent in the draft next year.
Let me know your thoughts! I like this for all 3 teams but can See SA fans feeling short changed. Like and Flame if you enjoyed the read.