The countdown to the draft now can be measured in hours and not days and the speculation is heating up.
With the 14th overall pick the Miami Heat have options, although not as many as teams in the top 10 or with multiple picks. What are those options? We answer that and more in today’s mailbag.
If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).
From @AsherWildMan6: Do you think it’s possible that after the draft is over Miami leaves with no players? Could they draft someone for another team to acquire future (and needed) picks and or package 14 with McRoberts to unload and accumulate picks for the future?
The Los Angeles Lakers are attempting to acquire another lottery pick and who knows how many more would like to move into the top 14.
The Miami Heat have that 14th and final lotter pick in Thursday’s draft. Could they find a trade partner?
The chances of the Heat drafting a player and then moving that player certainly is realistic considering Pat Riley’s history. The only reason the Heat cannot trade that selection prior to the draft is because of their willingness to unload draft picks and teams are not allowed to trade away consecutive first round picks (the Heat did not have a first rounder last season and already moved its 2018 first rounder).
Acquiring additional picks would be beneficial considering Miami does do not possess a second round pick in the next five years starting with this draft, and along with no first-round pick next season it already has dealt their first rounder in 2021.
The Heat would love to dump Josh McRoberts’ $6-million salary. If they could make a deal to move down in the draft that would allow them to pick up a second rounder and attach McRoberts’ salary to the trade that would be win-win. The Heat do have the option of stretching McRoberts’ contract which means releasing the power forward/center and taking cap hits of $2 million for each of the next three seasons instead of a $6 million cap hit this season. That $4 million savings in July could be valuable.
The more likely scenario, rather than coming away with no players in this draft, is the Heat moving down to acquire an additional pick, especially considering the new two-way contracts that allow teams to keep two additional players under their control who they send to the developmental league. The Heat value the D-League and have used Sioux Falls to develop players like Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Okaro White.
Portland has three picks and perhaps it would be willing to deal Nos. 20 and 26. Same with Utah which owns the 24th and 30th picks. Or perhaps Miami could drop down a few spots to late teens and add up a second rounder.
All of this, of course, depends on how much the Heat like the players that will be available to them with the 14th pick. Miami may not be sure it if can retain James Johnson and may believe someone like Lauri Markkanen (perhaps the best case scenario) or John Collins would be more valuable than an extra pick. Or the same when it comes to Dion Waiters and perhaps adding a Donovan Mitchell or Luke Kennard or OG Anunoby.
But one thing is certain, Riley and GM Andy Elisburg will explore every option.
From @ChrisHypeTrain: If the Heat hold onto the 14th pick could that player will be in the rotation next season or do you seem him spending time in the D league?
Yes. Okay, I know that’s a bit vague but the answer is yes to both. The Heat will be active in free agency but we have no idea how that will end up. Miami may need this pick to fill out the bench whether he is a big (more likely) or a wing. We saw two years ago both of the Heat’s picks, Justise Winslow at No. 10 overall and Josh Richardson in the second round, became key contributors.
Miami has had a lot of success using the developmental league to its advantage and would have no problem sending the pick to Sioux Falls for seasoning if it believed it was warranted. But with a lottery pick, the Heat’s plans are to add a player that can remain on the Heat roster and eventually contribute. … if they keep that pick.