The Miami Heat made quite a big splash this offseason with the signing of Jimmy Butler. Butler gives the Heat their first star since the end of the LeBron James/Big-3 Era and also gives fans a star to look forward to watching at Miami home games.
Still, many are overlooking the Heat and do not consider them a contending team in the East at all, even with the signing of Butler. Butler is an excellent two-way player who is one of the best defensive players in the league that plays with an edge in every game. Butler is also a bonafide 20-ppg scorer who can light it up at any given moment with an array of offensive skills.
However, it still takes more than one All-Star player to become a contender, and Miami could be two Hall of Fame players away from forming a potential contender in a very top-heavy Eastern Conference. Here are the two players Miami can bring in to make them a legitimate Eastern Conference team.
We have all heard the rumors that Chris Paul is likely to be moved by the Thunder after receiving him in the Russel Westbrook trade. GM Pat Riley has been actively working to bring in Paul to the Heat to join Butler and the rest of the Heat cast. After all, Chris Paul is still an effective point guard in the league despite his age. Paul is still an excellent leader, experienced veteran, and a Hall of Fame point guard when he hangs up his shoes. Paul would also give the Heat another big name to make things interesting in the East.
The East is very top-heavy with very few good teams including the Bucks, Sixers, and Raptors. If the Heat can bring in Paul, it might push the Heat in the conversation for a top-4 team in the East. Paul’s playmaking and big-shot making will come in handy in Eric Spolkstra’s gritty system.
To make this happen, the Heat would have to include Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic, and a first-round pick in a trade with Oklahoma City.
Prior trade talks between the Heat and the Thunder resulted in a stalemate, as OKC wanted Bam Adebayo in the trade package. Eric Spolkstra was very opposed to trading Adebayo, thanks to the player’s flashes of brilliance, including defensive and rebounding dominance towards the end of last season. As a result, the Thunder might ask for Tyler Herro as a potential trade package as well.
If the OKC can accept a trade for Dragic and Winslow, the Heat might soon be adding another All-Star player to their cast.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest offensive players of all-time and will go down as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Yet, Anthony has basically been let go by his past two teams after failing to make an impact in today’s uptempo and ball-sharing NBA game. Carmelo has recently come out and explained to the NBA universe that he is still capable of performing in the league, and will do anything teams need to help them win. Carmelo still wants to win and wants to win now.
Bringing in Melo to join Paul and Butler would give the Heat a very interesting Big 3. Even though Melo and Paul are aging, they might still be serviceable enough to catapult the Heat to a legitimate top-4 team in the East. Melo can probably still score at a high level and might thrive in Miami with an excellent coach and GM.
For the Heat, they would approach games with a starting lineup with Paul, Waiters, Butler, Anthony, and Adebayo. This might be enough to make them make some noise in the playoffs after a few years of mediocrity in a watered-down Eastern Conference.