Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald stirred up Miami Heat fans when he discussed the possibility of the Heat trading for a “depressed asset, a player who at one time was very good but has seen his value drop” like Al Horford or Kristaps Porzingis.
... I've come up with a way the Heat could field a starting group with 17 All Star appearances next season and get back its 2023 first-rounder, if only Riley and Sam Presti would agree for me to moderate a conference call: https://t.co/vu07FYnVTw— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) June 11, 2021
This idea is intriguing because, as I’ve discussed, Chris Paul was seen as a depressed asset back in the summer of 2019. He was 34 years old, had come off of three injury-riddled seasons and had a $44.2 million player option for the 2021-22 season. And now, he’s putting together an amazing run for a Phoenix Suns franchise in the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Chris Paul's fourth quarter stats in this series: 30 points, 12-of-13 FG, 4-of-4 from 3, eight assists, zero turnovers, +20 in three games.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 12, 2021
Horford and Porzingis (as well as Kevin Love) would all fit the bill of playing the front-court role next to Bam Adebayo. Another player in this discussion, John Wall, would be expected to start at point guard. Miami may only consider trading for Wall if Kyle Lowry, an impending free agent, signs elsewhere.
At 25 years of age, Porzingis is 10 years younger than Horford. Jackson also reported that Miami had interest in Porzingis in 2018 before the New York Knicks traded him to Dallas. But Jackson also mentioned the possibility of the Oklahoma City Thunder, in a Horford trade, giving Miami back their 2023 first-round draft pick. Getting that pick back would allow the Heat to make more competitive offers for a disgruntled star in the future.
Besides, Horford’s contract is at a lower value and shorter length than that of Porzingis. Horford is slated to earn $27 million next season and $26.5 million in 2022-23 — the rare case of a contract decreasing in value as time goes on — while Porzingis will have a $31.65 million salary for next season, $33.83 million the one after that and a $36 million player option for 2023-24.
There’s also the issue of the Heat picking up the $19.4 million team option for Goran Dragic and subsequently trading him for this “depressed asset.” Dragic is very close with Jimmy Butler. The Heat also put up a poster in Slovenia with the message, “Your other family is always with you” when Dragic entered free agency in November 2020 — not exactly ancient history.
Message on poster translated from Slovenian to English: Your other family is always with you.— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) November 20, 2020
Free agent negotiations begin tomorrow at 6 p.m. The Heat wants Dragic back. https://t.co/mEMzh7bcGe
Andre Iguodala has a $15 million team option for next season, and the Heat would no doubt prefer to trade him for someone seen as a “depressed asset.”