Heat-Hornets trade grades: Can Terry Rozier give Miami a needed scoring boost?

The Miami Heat are making a move to try to improve their offense and increase their chances of another deep playoff run. Miami is nearing a deal to trade Kyle Lowry and a lottery-protected 2027 first-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Terry Rozier.

This move definitely adds a scoring punch to a Heat team that has been inconsistent with backcourt play all season long. And it brings in either a player the Hornets can try to flip before the trade deadline on Feb. 8 along with a first-round pick, or just some salary-cap flexibility for Charlotte and a first-round pick. Let’s break out the red pen and throw some grades on this trade.

Heat acquire Terry Rozier

How you view this trade depends on which version of Rozier you expect to show up on the Heat.

Sometimes, Rozier will be an inconsistent 3-point shooter and kind of a playmaker, while putting up a lot of shots on offense. And sometimes, he’s a lethal 3-point shooter who can move the ball while also taking care of it. The Heat are hoping they’re getting the latter. Rozier is a career 36.7 percent shooter from outside, but it can be all over the place.

This season, he’s been slightly below league average (36.6) at 35.8 percent, but the rest of his scoring has been incredibly efficient. Rozier is averaging 23.2 points and 6.6 assists per game and has been one of the few consistent offensive spots on a horrendous Hornets team. His jumper has been on, and he can get run off the 3-point line on a hard closeout and still make the defense pay. And we’ve seen him handle even more point guard duties (while LaMelo Ball was out), and he posted a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. That all-around game is what Miami needs.

The Heat have been missing the presence Gabe Vincent gave them last year. Swapping Lowry for Rozier doesn’t help any depth in the backcourt, but it gives them someone defenses might fear again. Lowry hasn’t been that for a couple years. Rozier can slot in as the starting point guard and help spread the floor. If the Heat decide to go big with rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyler Herro in the backcourt, then Rozier can be a dynamic sixth man scorer off the bench as long as he’s able to knock down that jumper; without it, he’s a bit of an undersized gunner.

Rozier turns 30 this year, and he’s under contract for two more seasons for $50 million total after this one. But the 2025-26 season is partially guaranteed, as of right now. If the Heat make the second round of the playoffs, it’ll become fully guaranteed.

Grade: B

Hornets acquire Kyle Lowry, 2027 first-round pick

Are the Hornets going to keep Lowry? The 37-year old point guard is an expiring $29 million contract this season, and flipping him before the trade deadline could be really difficult. He’s also just not a player teams would be dying to give up any assets for, which is what I’m assuming the Hornets would be asking for. Even second-round picks wouldn’t be ideal for a guy who can’t really create his own shot anymore and is sort of playing on fumes after a long and successful career.

In the buyout market, however, you’d definitely take a cost-effective chance on adding Lowry to the roster and seeing if he can knock down a few big shots in a playoff run. If the Hornets just keep him through the end of the season, Lowry’s presence could be beneficial to the long-term growth and understanding of a star point guard like Ball. There just won’t be many tangible offerings and production-laden moments that Lowry can provide. That means this trade becomes more about the pick they’re acquiring for Rozier.

That pick is lottery protected in 2027 and, if it doesn’t convey, unprotected in 2028. Do the Hornets think the Heat will still be good through 2027 and potentially fall apart completely by 2028? That’s their hope. Bam Adebayo is only 26 years old, but Jimmy Butler will turn 35 later this year. By the time 2027 rolls around, Butler shouldn’t be the effective star we’ve seen during playoff runs, but stardom is getting stretched into later days in the current sports world. Charlotte is banking on the Heat not being very good around 2027, hoping this doesn’t convey and for Miami to be down in the dumps when this pick becomes available in 2028. It’s a decent gamble by the Hornets.

Grade: B-

(Photo of Kyle Lowry and Terry Rozier: Sam Sharpe / USA Today)

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