The Miami Heat are trying to make another deep push in the NBA Playoffs after a stunning run to the NBA Finals as a No. 8 seed last season. A key reinforcement is coming to Miami to add scoring punch and three-point shooting, and it should have the Heat dreaming big again.
The Heat acquired Terry Rozier from the Charlotte Hornets for Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first round draft pick, according to multiple reports. The draft pick is lottery protected in 2027 and becomes unprotected in 2028, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports.
The Heat are 24-19 at the time of the trade and are currently holding on to the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Miami is trying to stay out of the play-in tournament by finishing in the top-six of the conference, and getting a dynamic scorer like Rozier should help.
Rozier turns 30 years old in March and has averaged exactly 20 points per game across 4.5 seasons with the Hornets. This trade signals another rebuilding move for the Hornets, who will again be drafting near the top of the lottery at the end of the season.
Let’s grade this trade for both sides.
Miami Heat grade: A-
The Heat are a cut below the top three teams in the Eastern Conference — the Boston Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Philadelphia 76ers. Of course, Miami beat two of those teams on their way to NBA Finals last season. The Heat needed an offensive spark plug to be able to dream of another deep playoff run, and Terry should be a big help in that regard.
The 6’1 guard is a tough shot-maker inside the arc who can also take and make three-pointers with volume. Since joining the Hornets in 2019-2020, Rozier is making 37.2 percent of his threes on 7.8 attempts per game. He had more responsibility than ever in Charlotte offense this year, and is putting up one of the better seasons of his career.
Rozier has been one of the best pick-and-roll ball handlers in the league this season, per NBA.com. He’s scoring 1.11 points per possessions on those actions, which make up 34.3 percent of his offense. Only Pacers superstar Tyrese Haliburton is scoring more efficiently among players who have used at least five pick-and-roll handler possessions per game this year.
Rozier’s 27.2 usage rate this season is the highest of his career, and his 57.4 percent true shooting ties his best mark ever for scoring efficiency. Rozier has the highest assist rate of his career this season, too, at 30.3 percent. He’s never posted a better BPM or PER, either, as two imperfect all-in-one metrics.
Rozier will have to play less with the ball in his hands for Miami in the biggest games, but his ability to lead bench units will still be clutch when Jimmy Butler rests. Miami’s offense currently ranks No. 20 in the league. Rozier will slot in alongside Tyler Herro to lead Miami’s new guard room. Rozier had a reputation as a good defender when he was younger, but he’s been poor on that end this season by the numbers, ranking in the 93rd percentile of offense and fifth percentile of defense, per EPM. If anyone can get Rozier’s defense back to where it once was, it’s Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
With the addition of Rozier and the emergence of rookie stud Jaime Jaquez, the Heat believe they have the pieces to make another Finals run despite losing Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and now Lowry from last year’s core. Boston, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia all feel more formidable than last year. Giving up only a lottery protected pick for Miami would have earned them an easy A+, but the fact that the pick becomes unprotected in 2028 is a little scary.
The pressure is on for Miami once again to win at the highest levels. You have to credit them for going for it.
Charlotte Hornets grade: A
The Hornets are 10-31 at the time of this trade. If the season ended today, Charlotte would have the league’s fourth worst record, and fourth best chances of winning the draft lottery.
Yes, the 2024 NBA Draft isn’t very good — read our full mock draft here — but the Hornets are still doing the right thing by prioritizing their future. They weren’t winning anything with Rozier on the roster, and it feels like they flipped him for good value.
The Hornets will hope the Heat are a lottery team in 2027, so this pick becomes unprotected in 2028. While Miami is one of the best organizations in the NBA, it’s possible the team could be aging out soon with Jimmy Butler at 34 years old. Just getting a lottery-protected pick for Rozier is solid value for Charlotte, but the unprotected pick could be a huge boon.
Charlotte might be terrible right now, but there’s an outline of a winning team starting to take place. LaMelo Ball is one of the game’s top young creators if he can stay healthy and reign in some of his worst tendencies. Picking Brandon Miller over Scoot Henderson isn’t something I would have done in the 2023 NBA Draft, but it’s looking like a smart move now. Mark Williams is a promising young center too, who should provide rim protection and lob catching well into the future.
The Hornets need a defensive-minded wing, another shot creator, and more shooting, especially in the front court. They need Ball to stay healthy. Getting a possible 2028 unprotected pick from Miami gives them another major chip to hold onto or flip in a trade. This is a win-win deal for both sides.