4 Biggest Miami Heat Trades

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Shaquille O’Neal of the Miami Heat smiling during an NBA game in February 2007.
(Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Aug 03, 2023, 5:45 PM
  • Here's a list of the biggest Miami Heat trades in franchise history.
  • LeBron James leads the list of players Miami received through trade.
  • Other notable players the Heat acquired were Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O'Neal, and Jimmy Butler.

One of the most solid and competitive teams in NBA history is the Miami Heat, as they have only missed 11 playoff campaigns since joining the league in 1988. Another evidence of this winning culture and being a top contender in the Eastern Conference and in basketball odds is their three NBA championships, which is tied for fifth place all-time and cements the team as one of the winningest NBA franchises in history.

Drafting players like Glen Rice, Caron Butler, Dwyane Wade, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro is only one-half of the continued success of Miami, as the other half were the players they acquired via trade. These trades significantly boosted their chances of contending and directly led to titles. Here are the top-four players the team added via trades.

LeBron James

The monumental move of LeBron James to Miami in 2010 was a sign-and-trade deal with Cleveland that rewarded the Cavaliers with multiple first-round and second-round picks and a trade exception. This acquisition was the biggest and most successful trade in franchise history, as the Heat went on to four successive NBA Finals appearances.

Among those four trips to the Finals, “King James” delivered two NBA titles in South Beach with the help of Wade and Chris Bosh. He also led the team in scoring in his four seasons with Miami, where he racked up an average of 26.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in 294 games. Furthermore, he captured back-to-back MVP honors in 2012 and 2013.

Alonzo Mourning

In 1995, the Charlotte Hornets and star center Alonzo Mourning couldn’t agree on a new contract, which prompted the 1993 second-overall pick to force his way off the team through a trade. Charlotte sent Mourning, Pete Myers, and LeRon Ellis to Miami in exchange for Glen Rice, Matt Geiger, Khalid Reeves, and a first-round pick.

Mourning’s first stint with Miami lasted for seven seasons, where they competed in six playoff runs. He became one of the team’s leading scorers and a defensive presence inside the paint, with an average of 19.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks. During this stretch, the 6-foot-10 big man claimed back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1999 and 2000 and was selected to five NBA All-Star Games.

Shaquille O’Neal

The Los Angeles Lakers pair of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, one of the best NBA duos of all time, fell apart in 2004, a massive trade was bound to happen, and Miami capitalized on the opportunity to land O’Neal by sending Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant, and a first-round pick to Hollywood. This big-time trade created a new dynamic duo for the Heat with Wade and O’Neal.

In his four-year tenure with Miami, “Diesel” helped the team clinch the best record in the East in 2005 and win a title in 2006. The 1992 first-overall pick played for 205 games in Miami and produced 19.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. O’Neal also represented Miami in three All-Star Games in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Jimmy Butler

Miami’s most recent big trade happened in the offseason of 2019, and they pulled off a four-team deal to acquire Jimmy Butler, a four-time All-Star before his arrival. The 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft has bounced around three teams (Chicago, Minnesota, and Philadelphia) before arriving in Miami.

Aside from Butler, Miami received Meyers Leonard in exchange for Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson, and a first-round pick. The other teams involved in this trade were the Clippers, Sixers, and Trail Blazers.

The 2015 Most Improved Players awardee found a home with the Heat, as he became their main star, averaging 21.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in 231 games across four seasons. Butler also spearheaded the team’s two NBA Finals appearances in 2020 and 2023; unfortunately, they were defeated on both occasions. The 6-foot-7 forward was also selected to two NBA All-Star Games for Miami.

4 Biggest Miami Heat Trades

YearPlayer AcquiredTrade Details
2010LeBron JamesHeat received: LeBron James / Cavaliers received: Multiple first-round and second-round picks and trade exception
1995 Alonzo MourningHeat received: Alonzo Mourning, LeRon Ellis, and Pete Myers / Hornets received: Glen Rice, Matt Geiger, Khalid Reeves, and a first-round pick
2004Shaquille O’NealHeat received: Shaquille O’Neal / Lakers received: Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, and a first-round pick
2019Jimmy ButlerHeat received: Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard / Sixers received: Josh Richardson / Clippers received: Moe Harkless and a first-round pick / Trail Blazers received: Hassan Whiteside

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.