Why the Miami Heat need to go all in for Donovan Mitchell or Trae Young

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The fifth year of the Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler era ended without an NBA title for the team, so it’s obvious that the roster needs some changes.

In order to have any real shot of contending for a title anytime soon, the Heat need to go all in for Trae Young or Donovan Mitchell.

Now, people can use the excuse that if Butler had been healthy against the Boston Celtics in this year’s playoffs, things would’ve been more competitive, but it likely wouldn’t have been enough anyways. Miami needs to make a major splash as soon as possible, or else it risks wasting the rest of Butler’s career.

NBA executives reportedly expect this summer to be “active” as high-spending teams “grapple with restrictions under the new collective bargaining agreement.” The Heat have to get in on the action and shake up the roster a bit.

Butler and Bam Adebayo should be the only untouchables, and everyone else should be on the table in an attempt to acquire Young or Mitchell.

The Case for Trae Young

Many NBA sources reportedly believe the Atlanta Hawks will trade Young this summer if they can find a buyer, and it appears as though the squad might prefer to get rid of him instead of Dejounte Murray. With Atlanta getting the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 draft, it might be even more inclined to trade Young.

Some Heat fans are likely cringing at the idea of Young in a Miami uniform, but his talent is undeniable.

The Heat have needed good, consistent point guard play for a while, and Young would help. Yes, Terry Rozier was a solid acquisition, but does he really move the needle? He also had some injury issues toward the end of the regular season and missed all of Miami’s postseason run.

Everyone knows that Young is all offense and very little defense, but the Heat need to swing big on an offensive-minded point guard. The team has been in the bottom half of the league in points per game in four of the last five seasons. Having Young would help in that regard, as he’s a solid 3-point shooter, excellent playmaker and has an incredible knack for drawing fouls.

In my eyes, the best part about Young joining the Heat would be how he’d be able to unlock Adebayo’s offensive game. Young is arguably the best alley-oop passer in the league, and it feels as though Adebayo hasn’t had someone throw him good lobs consistently since Dwyane Wade left. The pick-and-rolls between the two would be incredible to watch and insanely difficult to stop.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Adebayo could bump his scoring average up to around 24 points per game with Young on the team.

I know fans are probably concerned about his defense, but I think Erik Spoelstra would be able to find ways to hide him on that end and fill out the lineup with enough defense around him.

Now, I’ve cooked up a four-team deal headlined by Young that I think works for all sides involved.

Potential Miami Heat trade for Trae Young

Giving up Nikola Jovic would be tough since he definitely has some solid potential, but Young is a proven All-Star. Are we sure Jovic will ever be as good as Young? I’m very high on Jovic, but I don’t see him being the type of talent that Young is. I would do my best to keep him out of any trade, but it feels like Atlanta wouldn’t accept any proposal without him.

At least Miami gets to keep Jaime Jaquez Jr. in this deal. I think Jovic is better and has more potential, but being able to keep Jaquez is a win.

Due to NBA rules that prohibit teams from trading picks in consecutive years, Miami can only trade its 2030 first-round pick at the moment. However, it could agree to a deal involving its 2024 first-rounder (No. 15 overall) before the draft and just select a player on behalf of another team on draft night. That’s what the Heat would do in this case.

Tyler Herro would go to the San Antonio Spurs in this deal and become their starting point guard for the time being. He’s someone the team has been linked to before, so the landing spot is a realistic one. San Antonio would only have to give up Tre Jones and a protected 2025 first-round pick.

In an effort to create some cap space, the Heat would send Duncan Robinson to the Utah Jazz as well as a protected first-rounder. The pick would be a thank you to the Jazz for absorbing Robinson’s contract.

The price might be a tad steep, but it’d be worth it for one of the best offensive threats in the league.

The Case for Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell is definitely the option that excites Heat fans more. The resemblance to Wade is there, and he has a good relationship with Adebayo. The rumors linking Mitchell and the Heat have been endless over the years, and it feels like this might be the perfect time to bring him to South Florida.

Now, let’s get something straight: Mitchell is flat out better than Young. He’s just as good on offense, is WAY more athletic and a better defender. Furthermore, he’s definitely a better fit culture wise in Miami. If I had to choose one player for Miami to go after, it’d be him — no doubt.

Some seem to think he’s a ball hog, but his teammates in Cleveland aren’t all that consistent. I feel as though he’d be better at sharing the rock in Miami. He’s a capable passer, and pick-and-rolls with him and Adebayo would be great too. Mitchell is capable of making some nice passes.

Despite only having one more guaranteed season left on his contract (holds a player option for the 2025-26 season), Mitchell would probably cost more than Young. Jaquez would also likely need to be included in any potential deal.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. I could’ve just used the same framework as I did for Young, but I wanted to be creative, so I switched up some things.

Potential Miami Heat trade for Donovan Mitchell

Besides getting Mitchell, the Heat get a decent 3-and-D option in Dorian Finney-Smith. Now, the only thing I ask — no, beg for — is that Finney-Smith not be used as the starting power forward next to Adebayo. He’s not a good enough rebounder to be the starting 4. Have him be the backup and get around 20-25 minutes per night.

Cleveland should be happy to get two solid prospects, three first-rounders and an expiring contract for someone who could walk away for free. Ben Simmons’ value is at an all-time low, but he’s someone the Cavs were previously interested in. Perhaps Cleveland can help him get back to being the All-Star he once was.

The Spurs desperately need shooting and would likely be thrilled at being able to acquire Robinson, who bounced back this season to shoot nearly 40 percent from deep. Ty Jerome could provide some depth for them, but he’s mainly included to make the numbers work. He only played in two games for Cleveland all season long, dealing with ankle problems.

Brooklyn is another team that has been linked to Herro in the past. It would be happy to snag him and create some cap space while getting Simmons off its books.

Who do the Heat prioritize?

Mitchell is the better player and fit in Miami, but Young probably would cost less. I think teams should always go for it all no matter the cost, which makes me choose Mitchell.

The fans would probably enjoy that more as well, and I believe he’s better built for the playoffs. Furthermore, he seems more likely to force his way to Miami than Young, which could help the Heat lower the cost in the end.

I’m fully aware that Miami might not end up having the luxury of choosing, but if it does get to choose — Mitchell is the way to go.

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David is a Miami native and University of Maryland graduate with experience in writing, editing and video production. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.