The Miami Heat bolstered their back court with the addition of veteran guard Terry Rozier
The NBA trade deadline is a little over two weeks away, and there's been a shake up between two Eastern Conference teams. On Tuesday morning, ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski announced the Miami Heat acquired guard Terry Rozier, in exchange for Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first-round pick.
This move comes after the Hornets 128-125 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, in which Karl-Anthony Towns scored 62 points. With a 10-31 win/loss record on the year, Charlotte finds themselves once again in the basement of the East Conference standings. As a franchise, the Hornets haven't seen a playoff run since the 2015-2016 season, and have a cumulative 295-375 record since that year.
Welcome to the Miami Heat, Scary Terry! pic.twitter.com/6DQ3UWW7rF— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 23, 2024
Charlotte hasn't seen the playoffs since the 2015-2016 season
There was newfound hope after the franchise selected sensation LaMelo Ball third overall in the 2020 draft. While he's dealt with injuries, especially throughout the past two seasons, Ball is showing steady improvement in his scoring capabilities. Limited to just 36 games in the 2022-2023 season, Ball signed a 5-year $260 million extension this past offseason.
After Ball, Charlotte found themselves with a top lottery pick three years later. In 2023, the Hornets selected former Alabama forward Brandon Miller second overall. Logging his third straight game of 20+ points, Miller's found his stride after an inconsistent month. While the verdict is still out whether Miller is a franchise player, the loss columns keep stacking up for Charlotte.
4th in the Southeast Division, the Hornets have been plagued with several injuries. Forward Gordon Hayward has been out with several, limiting him to just 25 games on the season. Cody Martin's been limited to eight games, and big men Mark Williams and Nick Richards are injured as well.
The Hornets haven't had much luck despite drafting Ball, Miller
Following Michael Jordans recent sale of the Charlotte Hornets, it seems Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall are ready to sell and rebuild. While I can't confirm this information, this certainly seems the case. If you look at the Oklahoma City Thunder, they are a prime example of a team that found success after a rebuild.
A laughing stock in the NBA, Charlotte remains one of the worst teams on both sides of the ball. 27th in offensive rating, Charlotte averages only 108.8 points per game on 45.9 percent field goal shooting. Allowing close to 120 opponent points per game, the Hornets allow a league worst 40 percent three-point shooting. Unable to rebound efficiently, it's best the Hornets implode the team.
Terry Rozier is an instant upgrade for the Heat
Terry Rozier, 29, is now in his 9th NBA season. Having left the Boston Celtics for Charlotte in free agency five years ago, Rozier blossomed as a player. In 294 games with the Hornets, the guard averaged 20.1 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. This season, he's averaging a career-high 23.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.1 steals on 45.9 percent field goal shooting. He's a baller, and he fits in with the toughness and grit that Miami stands for.
In addition, Rozier has the highest usage rate percent of his career (26.8 %), and he's known for being one of the more clutch players in the league. In fact, according to the NBA, Rozier ranks 6th in highest clutch effective field goal percentage since the 1996-1997 season. With Lowry's play declining, Rozier isn't afraid to shoot the rock. He takes a ton of pull up three-pointers and makes nearly 40 percent of them.
For the Heat, it's a brilliant move, especially since veteran Kyle Lowry's name has been on the trading block for quite some time. Although Miami didn't get their man in Damian Lillard, Rozier is a major upgrade in their backcourt. In his prime, Rozier is player who's consistent, trending up, and can provide Miami with durable minutes.
Terry Rozier will join Tyler Herro in the backcourt
Rozier will be immediately inserted into the starting lineup at the point guard position for the Heat, along with Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin, and Bam Adebayo. As i've said years prior, don't sleep on the Heat. They are 24-19, and that's with Butler missing considerable time due to injury. This lineup is scary, and Miami has a higher chance of competing in the Eastern Conference. Their odds of winning an NBA Championship is currently at +4000 on DraftKings.
Overall, Scary Terry is a an upgrade over Lowry, who's 37 years old. From my days watching Rozier in Boston, he's an explosive guard, who should excel well when it comes to the pick and roll with Bam Adebayo. Not afraid to drive to the lane, Rozier will provide an offensive spark and secondary playmaking for this team. Similar to last season, the Heat rank 20th in offensive rating, putting up 113.4 points per game. They rank 9th in assist percentage, which should increase with Rozier.
The weakest part of his game is his defense, which head coach Erik Spoelstra can help develop during his time in Miami. While this deal looks great on paper, we'll see how he fits with Tyler Herro in the backcourt, and with start Jimmy Butler, who's back from injury.
Kyle Lowry spent three years with Miami
Veteran Kyle Lowry is averaging 8.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 37 games this season. An NBA Champion with the Toronto Raptors, he was a key part in Miami's run to the Finals against the Denver Nuggets in 2023. In his 19th NBA season, Lowry is a 6x All-Star who's played for Memphis, Houston, Toronto, and Miami. He was most recently taken out of the starting lineup, struggling over the last five games.
With Lowry on an expiring contract worth $29 million, Rozier has three-years remaining on his 4-year $96 million contract. Making $23 million this year, he's due to make $24.9 million in 2024-2026, and $26.6 million in 2025-2026.
Lowry will certainly be missed by his teammates in Miami. Bam Adebayo described Lowry as a "brother," and Kevin Love emphasized losing a "hall of fame, championship pedigree point guard" is tough. (Clutch points). With that said, it will give Love and other players from Miami the opportunity to step up.
Sitting at the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, the recent moves signals another playoff push for the Miami Heat.
Stay tuned for more NBA related articles. Click here
Sara Jane Gamelli is a full-time Sportswriter, Content Creator and Social Media Manager at Ballislife. She has a focus on the NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, and the NFL. Sara Jane currently resides in Connecticut/NYC area with her Cat and Dog. SJ has her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Economics, with a minor in business administration.Tweets by Ballislife