Back in late March, I wrote an article asking whether hindsight would frown upon the Miami Heat’s deadline deal trading Justise Winslow. The Heat traded away a 23-year-old Winslow who had a promising 2018-19 season and gave a contract extension to the 36-year-old Andre Iguodala. And since we didn’t know if the NBA could restart the season at the time, why make the trade?
Four months later, the NBA will resume the season. And Winslow won’t participate.
Grizzlies announce that during Monday’s practice, Justise Winslow fell after absorbing contact during an intra-squad scrimmage. Medical evaluation revealed a hip injury, which will cause him to miss the rest of the season.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) July 21, 2020
The injury is tough news for Winslow, who has missed 136 games since his rookie season. With the 2015 first-round pick now out for the rest of the year, it’s easy to argue that Pat Riley got something of value before Winslow’s trade stock plummeted even further.
Attaching Winslow to the deal allowed Riley to also trade Dion Waiters and James Johnson, who disappointed after they signed four-year deals in July 2017. And even conceding that Iguodala has not played well with the Heat, Jae Crowder shot 39 percent from 3 for Miami. Crowder also offered the Heat some defensive versatility Erik Spoelstra may have hoped to get from Winslow and Johnson before the season.
And we have the final eight “seeding” games and the playoffs ahead of us. If Iguodala and Crowder offer some strong performances, it’ll seem like an even better trade.
Just prior to this season, Winslow said that his goal was to “be the point guard for this team.” Although he played well in the season opener — a 27-point, 7-rebound, 7-assist performance while Jimmy Butler sat out for the birth of his daughter — Butler took on the point forward duties once he got back. And Winslow only played 10 more games after that season opener.