Following their series-clinching win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat are officially headed to the Eastern Conference Finals. And the date for Game 1 is already set, as the top-seeded Miami will host either the Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks at FTX Arena on Tuesday, May 17.
While uncertainty looms about just who the Heat will have to beat in order to advance to the NBA Finals, sharpshooter Duncan Robinson is also dealing with some uncertainty as an individual.
Over the summer, the Heat seemingly annointed him as a cornerstone piece for the franchise, signing him to a five-year, $90 million extension. After trudging through a slumpy campaign, watching his role shrink throughout and now finding himself out of the roation in the playoffs, though, Robinson has to be wondering what’s next for him.
A league exec recently told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that the baller’s goose may just be cooked, saying, “They’ve got too many other options and too many other guys they need to pay. If you can get off his money, you will take it.”
If team president Pat Riley does decide to explore his options with Robinson on the trade market, he could have a dealing partner in the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Exec: Heat Could Acquire Malik Beasley From the Wolves
As the exec sees it, there are a number of places that the Heat could potentially go with a Robinson trade. However, they believe that the following deal could be a real winner for the club:
- Miami Heat receive: G Malik Beasley
- Minnesota Timberwolves receive: G/F Duncan Robinson
“Malik Beasley needs a change of scenery,” the exec said. “You could swap those guys. I think playing in Miami could turn Beasley around a little bit.”
Although the 25-year-old Beasley put up a respectable 12.1 points per contest for Minnesota this season, he matched Robinson with a sub-40% connection rate from the field. However, Beasley’s late-season efficiency bump bodes well for his future prospects.
Over a 24-game stretch from February 3 to April 1, he boasted shooting splits of 45-46-91. He also played some of the best defense of his career, an area where Robinson has struggled mightily since entering the Association.
“He stopped worrying about his misses, he stopped worrying about his minutes, he stopped worrying about his opportunities. He started worrying about just finding his game in the flow of what we were doing and then guarding and doing all the little pieces that we needed everybody to do,” said Wolves coach Chris Finch, via the Star Tribune.
Meanwhile, Robinson would be right at home in Minnesota’s high-powered, three-point attack.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Heat!
The Heat Would Save Money, Too
As it stands, Robinson is under contract with the Heat through the 2025-26 campaign, although he has an early-termination option there. And his salary jumps from $16.9 million next season to just under $20 million in his final year, at which point he’ll be 31.
Beasley, meanwhile, is at $15.5 million in 2022-23 after which there’s a team option for ’23-24 at $16.5 million. So, not only is Beasley’s deal not as costly for a younger and more rounded player, but the Heat could also get off of it after a year or re-up with him and trade him as an expiring salary, should they feel so inclined.
Losing Robinson’s floor-spacing in the trade would be tough, of course, but Beasley is at a very respectable 38.6% from deep over his career while taking 58.8% of his shot attempts as triples. Moreover, he’s coming off a playoff run where his defensive rating of 108.5 was the third-best on his team.
So, it’s unlikely that he’d find himself riding postseason pine (at least for defensive reasons) as Robinson currently is with Miami.