MIAMI -- The Denver Nuggets agreed Friday to a strategic draft-pick trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, a reminder that even during the NBA Finals the business of planning for the future doesn't stop.
The Miami Heat might need to call the Thunder soon, too, to execute a little strategic move themselves. Because it could be time for team president Pat Riley to resume one of his favorite games: star hunting.
It's been a spectacular two months for the Heat. While there is disappointment at their 3-1 deficit to the Nuggets after Denver took control of the series with Friday's 108-95 Game 4 win, there is zero shame. However, there is clarity.
The Heat play for championships and this team, though valiant, likely isn't quite good enough to win this Finals. As this series has shown through three double-digit losses to Denver, the Heat need more firepower in their corner, particularly on the offensive end.
There was a path for the Heat to steal another game Friday and scratch out a miraculous 2-2 tie. Down five points with eight minutes left on their home floor with Nikola Jokic on the bench and in foul trouble, they had a beautiful opportunity. The eighth-seeded team that had to claw its way out of the play-in tournament has won numerous games in similar situations repeatedly during these playoffs.
But unlike the other opponents the Heat have upset this spring, the Nuggets are deep, healthy and a killer clutch-time team. And Denver handled its business to reach the brink of ending Miami's historic run.