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Heat NBA trade-deadline tracker: No Olynyk-Heat reunion; Lowry to 76ers?; Knicks pulling away; buyout options surface for Heat

Miami Heat president Pat Riley at Kaseya Center in Miami on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023 (John McCall/South Florida ֱ)
Miami Heat president Pat Riley at Kaseya Center in Miami on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023 (John McCall/South Florida ֱ)
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MIAMI – The moment of truth has arrived for the Miami Heat and the rest of the league, with today at 3 p.m. the NBA trading deadline.

While it is not necessarily the ultimate finish line, with the buyout market running through the end of the month, it is a moment that will give Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg and the rest of the Heat front office the opportunity to take stock of where the team stands.

Throughout the day, the ֱ will provide updates in this space about moves and scenarios of impact to the Heat.

A complete update will be provided following the deadline in a separate piece at SunSentinel.com, with coverage at your doorstep in Friday’s print edition of the South Florida ֱ.

1:45: A Lowry hint?

With the 76ers sending former Heat draft Patrick Beverley to the Bucks, it could be a signal of  Philadelphia having confidence it can land native son Kyle Lowry on the buyout market.

Lowry, dealt by the Heat to Charlotte for Terry Rozier and expected to receive a buyout from the tearing-it-down Hornets, is from Philadelphia and played collegiately there at Villanova.

1:30 p.m.: The buyout market

As deals continue to be made, it has become clear that the next step for several teams focused on youth and the future could be freeing players to move on to the buyout market.

Worth noting from a Heat perspective is that the Heat’s current place in relation to the luxury tax allows them only to sign players from the buyout market whose 2023-24 salary was the NBA average of $12.4 million, or less.

Added to that group of potential buyout possibilities for the Heat have been Thaddeus Young ($8 million) and Seth Curry ($4 million).

1 p.m: The East selloff

As the dealing continues, it has become increasingly clear that the Hornets and Nets are in selloffs, prioritizing the future.

That has had the Nets, according to multiple reports, moving Royce O’Neale to the Suns for draft capital and Spencer Dinwiddie to the Raptors, in a deal for Thaddeus Young and Dennis Schroder.

In a bigger deal, the Hornets moved P.J. Washington to the Mavericks for Grant Williams, Seth Curry and a first-round pick.

11:30 a.m.: Knicks adding again

Already having pulled away from the Heat in the East playoff race, with a 5 1/2-game lead at the start of play Thursday, the Knicks continue to bolster their playoff push, this time with a move for Pistons guard Alec Burks and Detroit forward Bojan Bogdanovic, ESPN and The Athletic report.

In landing Burks for a package including Quentin Grimes, and then Bogdanovic in a package including Evan Fournier and Malachai Flynn, the Knicks follow up on their previous acquisitions of OG Anunoby and former Heat first-round pick Precious Achiuwa from the Raptors.

11:15 a.m.: A Lowry twist?

In a small deal, the 76ers, according to ESPN, are dealing guard Danuel House and a second-round pick to the Pistons essentially for salary-cap relief.

While the deal is minor in scope, it potentially better positions Philadelphia for a move to former Heat guard Kyle Lowry, should he hit the buyout market after his Heat trade to the Hornets for Terry Rozier.

Lowry is from Philadelphia and played collegiately there at Villanova.

11 a.m.: ֱ Heat target on the move

What began with the Hornets’ deal of Terry Rozier to the Heat last month is continuing as a house cleaning for Charlotte, with long-time Heat trade target Gordon Hayward being dealt to the Thunder, according to ESPN and The Athletic.

The Heat were not in play for Hayward, whose salary also made him ineligible to eventually be acquired by the Heat after a potential buyout.

10:45 a.m.: No Olynyk reunion with Heat

Viewed as a potential answer for the Heat’s lack of size, former Heat center Kelly Olynyk instead is going from the Jazz to the Raptors, ESPN is reporting.

Olynyk, dealt at the 2021 trading deadline by the Heat to the Rockets for Victor Oladipo, is being sent, according to ESPN, from the Jazz along with Ochai Agbaji to Toronto for Kira Lewis, Otto Porter and a 2024 first-round pick.

The next possibility is Olynyk becomes available on the free-agent market, with a salary that would then leave him available to be signed by the Heat.

10:30 a.m. : Rivals makes move

A pair of teams the Heat are competing against to avoid the play-in in the Eastern Conference playoffs, became trade partners today.

In a deal reported by ESPN and The Athletic, the Pacers are sending 3-point specialist Buddy Hield to the 76ers for Marcus Morris, Furkan Korkmaz and three second-round picks.

The Heat entered today three games behind the 76ers for the No. 5 seed in the East and one game behind the Pacers for No. 6.

The top six seeds in each conference advanced directly to the best-of-seven opening round.

The Heat play Wednesday in Philadelphia.

The draft capital

The Heat entered the day with somewhat limited resources, not allowed by league rule to trade this year’s first-round NBA draft pick until after exercising a selection in June.

The Heat do not have an unencumbered first-round pick to trade until their 2030 selection.

The Heat also are limited with their future second-round capital, with only one unencumbered selection to offer, that being a 2026 Los Angeles Lakers’ second-rounder. Otherwise, the Heat can trade a conditional 2024 second-round pick of their own that is protected beyond No. 50, or a 2027 second-round pick that is the least favorable of second-round picks in that draft of those held by the Heat, Pacers, Rockets, Spurs and Thunder.

The money

When it comes to money moves, the long view includes the rights of Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith to become free agents this summer, and the impacts of such negotiations on future payrolls.

As for this season’s payroll, a potential objective would be to move off of the contract of guard Dru Smith, who is out for the season on the final year of his minimum-scale deal after December knee surgery.

The Heat also might prefer to move off of the contract of seldom-used center Thomas Bryant, but Bryant also has a player option on his deal for next season.

The roster

The Heat have operated one player short of the NBA’s 15-player limit on the standard roster, as a means to save against the luxury tax.

That means the Heat would be able to take in one more player than they send out, if needed, in a potential trade.

The Heat also are able until next month to swap out their players on two-way contracts, with Jamal Cain, Cole Swider and RJ Hampton currently holding those deals.

The buyout market

Teams are allowed to add players on the buyout market at any time, even beyond the trade deadline, but such players are eligible for the playoffs only if waived by March 1.

The Heat last season utilized the buyout market to add Kevin Love and Cody Zeller.

Because of the Heat’s position against the luxury tax, they cannot add a player on the buyout market this year who currently is earning in excess of $12.4 million, the NBA’s average salary.

Already done

The Heat moved ahead of the deadline on Jan. 23, when they acquired guard Terry Rozier from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for guard Kyle Lowry and a protected future first-round pick.

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