Among big-name players who were most likely to leave their team in NBA free agency, Kyle Lowry was arguably the most impactful available.
The six-time All-Star joins a core highlighted by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro that won the Eastern Conference title in 2020.
Lowry, who helped lead the Toronto Raptors to the organization’s first title back in 2019, joins Miami via sign-and-trade and can be the sparkplug that can help the Heat potentially return to the NBA Finals once more.
Based on what we know so far, this is the projected starting lineup for the Heat next season:
Point Guard: Kyle Lowry
Lowry, who is 35 years old, is the ultimate win-now player for the Heat. He reportedly joins Miami on a three-year deal, which means the organization will have to go all-in on winning in the immediate. But that makes sense for the Heat, who made an appearance in the 2020 NBA Finals. Lowry is never someone who relied on his athleticism for success and could extend his pro career with excellent court vision and facilitating.
Shooting Guard: Duncan Robinson
Miami’s front office made its confidence in Duncan Robinson incredibly clear, offering him a five-year deal worth $90 million. Of course, Tyler Herro is still on the roster for the Heat. But the big contract for Robinson indicates a desire to make him a part of their future.
Small Forward: Jimmy Butler
Miami’s move to add Lowry to their core will be most helpful to Jimmy Butler, who now will no longer be the only player on the floor who can consistently create their own shot. Defenses won’t be able to collapse onto him as often now that Lowry is in the mix, which could unlock another level of success for Butler on the Heat.
Power Forward: PJ Tucker
Miami also managed to sign PJ Tucker from the Milwaukee Bucks, who will presumably slot in as the starting power forward. Tucker is coming off a championship run with the Bucks and has always been known as one of the best role players in the league. He brings a toughness that will fit in well with the Heat. He can also help stretch the floor as someone who can hit his shots off the catch.
Center: Bam Adebayo
There is a reason why Bam Adebayo is representing the United States in the Tokyo Olympics. He is one of the best big men in the NBA and he offers one of the most versatile profiles defensively while also providing a spark as both a scorer and tertiary playmaker on offense. Even if Adebayo never becomes a primary option, as a complementary player, there are few better in the league.