Milwaukee Bucks: Assessing the East landscape after the trade deadline

Mar 17, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Mar 17, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, Miami Heat: Goran Dragic
Dec 30, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Heat have fallen hard after shocking the Milwaukee Bucks in last year’s playoffs

After having made some notable swings at the deadline last year, the Miami Heat are hoping for a similar fortune this season.

It’s been a challenging season for the Heat as they have been hit hard by COVID-related absences and injuries. That has certainly been exacerbated by the short turnaround where the Heat took the Los Angeles Lakers to six games in last year’s NBA Finals and dismantled the Bucks en route to that appearance.

Now 22-24, good for eighth in the conference and 1.5 game back of the sixth-seeded New York Knicks, the Heat are looking to climb out of the play-in zone. And they’re hoping their additions of Trevor Ariza, Nemanja Bjelica and Victor Oladipo will all spur a similar turnaround to what we saw last year.

It’s Oladipo, in particular, who could swing the Heat’s fortunes in one way or another, all of which depends on what version of Oladipo the Heat are getting, especially as he’s looking for sizeable payday this offseason. However, Oladipo has never been the same player since suffering his ruptured quad tendon more than two years ago.

Either way, it’s an interesting gamble for the Heat to take, though they could have made the biggest gamble of all this trade deadline with their reported pursuit of Lowry. Whether they will live to rue that remains to be seen.