Cash considerations are all the Miami Heat ended up with after the NBA trade deadline passed on Feb. 9. That’s it.
But that doesn’t mean the team didn’t add to the roster.
Miami — in the midst of a massively underwhelming season that saw the Heat head into the All-Star Break in the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference — may not have been a big player at the deadline, but the club did answer some questions 11 days later.
While the rest of the league was focused on All-Star festivities in Salt Lake City, multiple reports surfaced Feb. 19 that the Heat had added veteran forward Kevin Love, who negotiated a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Love’s All-Star days may be behind him, but the addition of the 6-foot-8 power forward at least tweaks the near-carbon copy of last year’s Miami roster that made a run to the conference finals.
Love had fallen out of the rotation in Cleveland, but he did play in 41 games, averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. For his career, he’s averaged 17.2 and 10.5. Clearly, the Heat feel Love can help add to its mix.
Kyle Lowry’s dropoff in production, a lack of depth, no true starting power forward and a decline in 3-point shooting, a stat they led the league in last year, are some of Miami’s glaring issues this season. And Love fits right into much of that, minus the 3-point need.
So, while shipping Dewayne Dedmon — along with a future second-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs for cash — seemed like the end of the road, the Love acquisition has changed the tone.
“This is the move that we felt made the most sense from a roster flexibility standpoint,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra of the Dedmon deal.
And in a way, perhaps he’s right. After all, Love slides right into that open roster spot and should be able to accrue more minutes than Dedmon.
The championship window with Miami star Jimmy Butler in the fold is closing, and Love may not be a long-term answer to keep that push moving forward. But for this season, and this chase to the back to the playoffs, he should be able to help the cause.
The Heat resumes play Friday night in Milwaukee against the Bucks. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.