Miami Heat

Mailbag: Should the Heat go after the Pelicans’ No. 4 pick? At what cost?

Spoelstra: “This season without question would be the growth of our young players”

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talks to the media during the season-ending press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday April 12, 2019 in Miami.
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Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talks to the media during the season-ending press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday April 12, 2019 in Miami.

The Miami Herald Heat mailbag is here to answer your questions.

If you weren’t able to ask one this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang). You can also email me at achiang@miamiherald.com.

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Sam: Should the Heat trade a piece of its young core to the Pelicans for the No. 4 pick?

Anthony Chiang: That depends on how the Heat feels about prospects who are expected to go in that range such as Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland, North Carolina’s Coby White, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter and Duke’s Cam Reddish. If the Heat projects any of them to be a future NBA star, then the answer to this question is easy. It’s yes.

Taking all of that into account, I wouldn’t make this trade from the Heat’s standpoint. Here’s why: There’s little conviction on any of the prospects in this year’s draft past the top three — Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett. The Heat has Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow under contract for the next three seasons, and Bam Adebayo is under contract for two more seasons before he can become a restricted free agent in 2021. The Richardson, Winslow and Adebayo deals are all cap-friendly, too. To break up an intriguing young core the Heat has under contract together (at very reasonable price points) for the next few seasons, you need to have a strong feeling you would be drafting a star at No. 4. You know Richardson, Winslow and Adebayo aren’t draft busts at this point, but there’s no guarantee you won’t run into a bust with the fourth pick this year.

Here’s what I would do if I’m the Heat: Draft at No. 13. Add that player to the young core of Adebayo, Richardson and Winslow. Hope you hit on a fourth draft pick in a row. Continue to develop these players. Hope it’s an attractive young core to a free agent star in 2020 or 2021 when there’s cap space.

@Daniel22223333: That — in a league-wide summer feeding frenzy of star trades and free agent signings — the Heat lacks space and assets to do anything of consequence, and the fan base should resign itself to mediocrity and purgatory for at least the next two seasons, if not longer. I would take the affirmative in any such debate. Is there a viable case to be made on the other side?

Anthony: Pat Riley didn’t rule out changes this summer and left all possibilities on the table during his season-ending news conference in April. But the 2020 or 2021 offseasons are still the most realistic for the Heat to make significant changes because of salary cap reasons. Still, it’s hard to imagine the Heat coming back with the same team again next season. My guess (and it’s simply a guess) is there will be some type of changes to the roster this offseason. Will they be significant? The answer will help resolve the debate you’re referencing.

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.
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