The Heat might be wise to trade Jimmy Butler and start over, but it would also be wise to stop counting them out.

The Heat might be wise to trade Jimmy Butler and start over, but it would also be wise to stop counting them out.

The Miami Heat just finished a tough week in what has been a tough season so far, losing to the Detroit Pistonsthe Memphis Grizzlies — that they were without a And Morant, Desmond Bane i Years Jackson Jr. — and finally the spurs Saturday night to drop to 12-15 overall. If the postseason were decided today, Miami would enter the final playoff spot.

Of course, the postseason doesn’t start for another four months, which begs the question: How should the Heat handle those four months? Continuing to believe they can compete with anyone when healthy, or resigning to the seemingly growing reality that they are not a true contender and it might be wise to tear up the roster and start over. Charles Barkley recently suggested they do the latter.

“It might be time to break up the team and start over,” Barkley said Within the N.B.A. “They had some contracts that are like … not good. So they have to start over. That’s my personal opinion. It’s like, ‘Hey, trade some of these guys to contenders or teams that [can] Get us some young guys and start over.”

Erik Spoelstra was asked about Barkley’s comment. “Who cares,” Spoelstra said.

This is Heat Culture, as nauseating as that phrase has become. They don’t care what anyone says or thinks outside their walls, and they do always they think they can win. It’s kind of refreshing. Most of us who cover the league like to play the games on paper. We like to talk about offensive and defensive ratings, lineup net ratings, mid-range reliance, 3-point prevalence, spacing, and we add all of that up to decide who can, and can’t, compete with who, sometimes before games. be really played

The Heat prefer to play the games. They’re not doing so well right now, but every year we seem to do it with the Heat, thinking of them as some sort of JV contender, if not a contender. Yet they’re always in the mix: one NBA Finals game last season, two championship wins in 2020.

Barkley is right about risky contracts. Jimmy Butler he will make $45 million next season and $48 million in 2024-25. Kyle Lowry he will make just under $30 million next season. Duncan Robinson he’s making $17 million this season, and is due more than $37 million over the next two seasons. Bam Adebayo is in the second year of a $163 million deal. Tyler HeroThe four-year, $120 million contract hasn’t started yet.

There is an argument, perhaps a strong one, that Miami should handle shedding some of that money. They could start with Jimmy Butler, their only real asset outside of Adebayo who would return a rebuild-worthy return. They could match anything they get back for Butler with Adebayo and Herro moving forward. It might be the smart move before Butler, who is due nearly $95 million over the next two seasons, starts to really depreciate as both a player and a trade chip.

But then again, that would be the strategy of a team that is willing to give up its present in pursuit of a better future, but the Heat just don’t play like that. They live in the now. That doesn’t mean they throw all caution to the wind. It wasn’t long ago that everyone wanted them traded Chris Paul or even Russell Westbrook, and the Heat said they were fine with acquiring Butler. They felt Butler was enough. Almost everyone else thought they were crazy, but they weren’t. Butler has been a star at the championship level, and you can bet Miami believes he will be again this postseason.

So they will keep playing. He continues to find ways to win at the rim, to not outplay himself, to overcome his offense and his free-throw rate, his mediocre shooting and lack of dependent depth, to get games down to the final minutes where Butler can be the main character. best player on the court It may not be the smart way, but it’s the hot way. Throw in the stats, throw the ball up and let’s play. We can all write them off, but as always, they will continue to take their chances and they like it.

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