Tuesday, September 20, 2022

East Exec Drops Truth Bomb Over Heat’s $90M Mistake

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To say that Duncan Robinson had a bad year with the Miami Heat in 2021-22 would not only be flippant – it would be an understatement of epic proportions. No other player in franchise history so surprisingly rose to prominence, only to brutally free fall immediately after reaching its peak.

In his first three years with the association, Robinson was in a class of his own from the deep, hitting 42.3% of his triples on nearly eight attempts per game. As a result, he was able to turn a two-way pact into a full-fledged deal and eventually a starring role on title contender Heat.

Miami was only too happy to deliver him a $90 million contract extension in the summer of 2021…

And then the roof collapsed.

Robinson became an official under 40% shooter last season, and his mediocre defense was at an all-time low. As the postseason game rolled around, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra saw fit to remove the perennial starter from the rotation entirely, while questioning his future in the process.

For those hoping for another bite in the apple for the 2022-23 sniper, a league executive has apparently thrown a wet blanket on the notion that Robinson will soon be back in his old place.

Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney recently spoke to an Eastern Conference executive about Robinson’s odd situation in South Beach. And the manager made it clear that the Heat are caught between a rock and a hard spot with the Michigan product.

“They’re in a bind because they have to get him on the floor if they want to trade him. But, man, they obviously don’t want to play him,” the manager said.

While the time Robinson spent on the back end of Miami’s bench represents just a moment in the full extent of his career to date, the manager believes it was enough to scratch his stock in the eyes of other clubs.

“The end of the year and the playoffs, when he doesn’t play, that just kills his value. Every team tries to figure out what everyone else thinks they value their players, but playing time is the ultimate way to measure it. Not giving him minutes when you think he shouldn’t be on stage for you says how much you appreciate him.

“And he gets $18 million a year.”

When Robinson played consistently tough minutes – and with the best players on the Heat – he was one of the deadliest snipers in the game. But given the sheer number of other options in the team’s roster, it’s hard to imagine Spoelstra using him in this way again.

“You like [Max] Strus much, obviously. They hope so [Victor] Oladipo comes through for them, I think they were pleasantly surprised by what they saw in the playoffs. They weren’t sure if he would stay with them at the end of the season. But the playoffs showed them he has a chance of going back to some percent of what he was before.

They’re not the only ones keeping Robinson on the bench, either. In fact, there are several higher level and more versatile players in his position group.

“You have Jimmy [Butler] and [Tyler] Herro and even Gabe Vincent. You like Caleb Martin more than [Robinson]. They have a lot of guys who will get minutes before Robinson,” the manager said.

However, keeping him in his current place in the pecking order makes it difficult to actually remove him from the list.

“If you want to use him in a trade, you have to show he can play,” added the manager. “So maybe they have to force him to the bottom, hope he gets shots early in the year, and then cut a deal.”

However, keeping him in his current place in the pecking order makes it difficult to actually remove him from the list.

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