With the Kevin Love and Cody Zeller acquisitions expected to become official on Monday, let’s ask the team their immediate reactions to the moves and how that impacts the Miami Heat moving forward!
What is (was) your immediate reaction to the Love, Zeller signings?!
Matt Hanifan: “Heck yeah. Finally,” me when I read Woj’s notification. It’s been one-and-a-half years since new non-rookie blood has entered the organization. Even though it’s not some super duper big star like Durant (which would never happen anyways), the acquisitions of Love and Zeller shore up needs in the frontcourt for little-to-no cost.
Surya Fernandez: A sigh of relief that the Heat front office is doing at least something to try to upgrade the roster after a busy trade deadline that featured plenty of movement from rival teams. For as much promise that Orlando Robinson, Jamal Cain and other developing players have shown at times this season, if the Heat wanted to have any hope of making a deep playoff run they needed veteran reinforcements to give a boost to their starters.
Dan Riccio: My immediate reaction to both the signings was “it’s about time.” It is no secret to all of Heat Nation that fans knew there were some holes in this lineup/rotation and struggled with depth. Adding two veteran big men fills those needs and beef up a small front court. Both Love and Zeller are players that can make an immediate impact on the game for this team. Love especially, is the perfect person to pair next to or behind Bam. His ability to stretch the floor, rebound, pass and bring a strong IQ is very enticing. He can affect the game both inside and outside on both ends of the floor. Love could’ve been even more of a better fit had he come aboard a few years ago, but just last year when he was in the rotation for Cleveland he was runner up for 6MOY. He still has something left in the tank and Miami being able to offer him a “sizeable” role made it attractive for both sides.
How do you think this affects the rotation moving forward?
Matt H.: Well, presumably this means that Martin heads to the bench back to his old role if Love starts. Orlando Robinson and Omer Yurtseven, who’s still recovering from ankle surgery, will also be likely out of the rotation for a while; Robinson is nearing his games played limit for a two-way player (50). You also can’t help but think Miami’s backcourt — specifically Victor Oladipo and Kyle Lowry — will be healthy long-term, since no other guard was acquired. Miami now has an experienced frontcourt alongside and behind Adebayo after there were plenty of questions before and immediately after the deadline.
Surya: It gives Spoelstra much-needed flexibility both for in-game adjustments as well as if/when the injury report will affect Miami’s depth. Most likely the Heat’s two-players will be phased out and soon return to the Sioux Falls Skyforce while veterans such as Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry should be ramping up in preparation for the postseason. With the end of the regular season rapidly approaching and playoff seeding still a major area of concern, the Heat need to quickly figure out just how Love and Zeller fit with this roster and the only way that will happen is for them to get plenty of minutes. Spoelstra will also want to see how Bam plays alongside either one as well.
Dan: Besides just putting Caleb Martin back into a more comfortable SF role off the bench with Love capable of being a starter, the Cody Zeller pick up also adds more depth behind Bam Adebayo. Zeller adds a 7-foot veteran presence and when last in an NBA rotation just a couple of seasons ago, put up averages of nearly 10 points and 7 rebounds on 56% shooting. That is definitely an upgrade over any of the options Miami has had this year in both Dedmon and Robinson. It also gives Erik Spoelstra more depth and versatility. If there are injuries there are now more options to throw out there than playing rookies on two-way deals. A potential rotation when healthy of Lowry, Herro, Jimmy, Love & Bam with Gabe, Oladipo, Martin, Strus and Zeller/Yurt opens plenty of possibilities.
Do you think Love should start? Do you think he will?
Matt H.: Since Miami’s next game isn’t until Friday, so Love should have enough time to acclimate himself. So, yes, I believe he should-and-will start. If he doesn’t, Miami’s second-unit defensively wouldn’t make much sense with Love-Zeller theoretically paired together (unless Spoelstra somehow staggers those minutes). With Love starting, it makes more theoretical sense, though I’m interested to see how much he uses both Love and Zeller for the first few games and how they’re integrated into the rotation.
Surya: There’s a reason why Love was bought out by the Cavs, his shooting percentages and averages have all decreased with each passing month during the season – but his minutes have largely stayed the same even as his role has steadily diminished. I’m not quite sure if he’s ready to start after sitting out a dozen games before the All-Star break but with few viable options, the Heat will need to see what he can bring to the table rather quickly. For now, Love should be brought off the bench until Spoelstra has a good read on his health and level of fitness.
Dan: I believe Kevin Love should and will start. Miami has lacked a true starting PF ever since PJ Tucker left in free agency in the summer. Martin was always solid and held down that spot throughout this season, but knowing that Martin excels much more as a wing makes this an easy decision. Love has 3-4 inches of height on Martin, is a bigger presence, and has played either PF or C his whole career. Besides just the height, Love brings in a much needed new dynamic to the Heat starting five , he could be a real spark. Martin is at his best when he plays his natural position at SF and guards smaller guys. You have to appreciate the effort that Martin has given as a starting 4, but having a true PF in Love now makes it easier for everyone.