Analysis of this trade is straight forward. Leonard is out for the season. The Heat have little interest in that pick. Ariza has been away from the league and not joined up with the Thunder. This is a contender meeting a need and Sam Presti adding yet another pick to his historic collection.
Since losing Jae Crowder in the offseason, Miami has struggled at the four. Jimmy Butler has played up a position at times, but Miami needed size and shooting given the length they could face in the playoffs, particularly in the shape of the Sixers and Bucks.
This isn’t the least impactful of the Thunder’s pre-trade deadline sell off. George Hill and Al Horford could yet get dealt by Presti as the rebuild continues, yet Ariza is the player for Miami, and if he can get anywhere near his peak performance, he fills a void on their roster.
Given the Heat’s dearth of picks, this is a solid move for them. Much like Andre Iguodala and Crowder last season, Pat Riley and the Heat have added a veteran presence, and one with deep playoff experience.
Ariza hasn’t played since the league was shutdown. Family issues kept him out of the bubble, and he hasn’t taken the court this season. The same questions of conditioning arise as they did with Iguodala last season. Iguodala was by no means a star in the Heat’s run to the Finals, but he was a useful piece for Erik Spoelstra. Miami will be hoping for the same from Ariza, and particularly on the defensive end.
A career 35.2% three-point shooter, Ariza was up above 37% last season. He’s not the defender he once was, but this Ariza trade should help the Heat on that end. Spoelstra could even throw out line-ups with Bam Adebayo, Butler, Ariza, Andre Iguodala and Avery Bradley.
This deal is a bargain. Upside is a strange word to use with a 35-year-old, but it’s a fitting term for where the Heat are with Ariza. There’s minimal downside at this price.