Two weeks ago, we introduced our ongoing series inspired by South Florida native and baby boomer monarch, Jimmy Buffett, entitled, “A Heat Homer Looks at.” The first installment was a happy time as Miami was in the midst of winning 11 out of 12 games as the team was playing together for seemingly the first time all season. This time around, the Heat have lost six-straight and we are in what can only be classified as an angsty teen locking themselves in their bedroom blaring Avenged Sevenfold because the world doesn’t understand them.
Not only that, but the Heat were left at the alter by LaMarcus Aldridge, who followed a week of rumors making him all but a forgone conclusion to join the team with a last-minute signing with the Brooklyn Nets. This was met by jubilation from Nets fans who were
presumptively quoted as saying, “this is one of the best things to happen in my entire four months as a Nets fan.” Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald tweeted this in response to what changed in the last few days that altered Aldridge’s thinking.
I mean, who can blame him? The Nets have a much better championship pedigree as opposed to the Heat. Who could forget the countless NBA championships won by the vaunted Nets?
Zero. Also, who wouldn’t want to play for head coach Steve Nash and all of his titles? Zero. That’s something Pat Riley seven and Erik Spoelstra three just cannot compete with on their end.
Alas, despite not gaining the services of Aldridge on the buyout market nor ponying up Tyler Herro and his future first-born son for three months of Kyle Lowry, the Heat killed the trade deadline. They kept Herro, Duncan Robinson, Goran Dragic (was never going anywhere), and seemingly everyone else in rotation other than NBA referee villain Kelly Olynyk. They also added former two-time All-Star and former first-team All-Defense guard Victor Oladipo to see what he can do in an audition to his upcoming free agency. Like everyone else that went to college in the Big Ten, it was no secret that Oladipo, the former Indiana Hoosier, has been clamoring to move to Miami. Now, the Heat own his Bird Rights and can see his fit up close to decide if they want to commit to him in the long-term in the backcourt. If they so choose, that means they can keep Oladipo and the rest of the roster other than Kendrick Nunn going into 2021-2022.
The team also added Nemanja Bjelica which is a name I will pronounce no less than 15 different ways before the end of the year. Bjelica has struggled this year shooting the ball, but is a traditional stretch-four who has played with fellow countryman Dragic and shot a career-best 41.9 percent from three a year ago with Sacramento. Both Bjelica and Dragic will be on the floor Monday night against the Knicks with the former making his Heat debut and the latter seeing his first action in over a week.
After climbing into fourth in the East, Miami now finds themselves in a tie for eighth with the Pacers. The losing streak requires context, however, as four of the six losses came by five points or less, and to say the Heat were undermanned would be like saying BYU’s president at a bar is underserved. Between holding players out who were traded (four outgoing), Dragic missing time, KZ Okpala and Udonis Haslem being out under precautions, Nunn missing time with a hurt ankle, and Jimmy Butler being out with a stomach bug, Miami was scraping lineups together.
Oladipo will miss Monday’s game with a cold, Okpala and Haslem are still out, and Nunn will also miss the action. New York could be without Julius Randle as he still battles a nagging injury suffered a week ago. While there is context to be applied to the recent skid, no one in the Association is going to feel pity for the Heat, and it is time to start winning games again. This week offers four opportunities with New York Monday, at Indiana on Wednesday, and home dates with Golden State and Cleveland on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.