Miami lacks pick but has interest at combine
Staff can speak with draft prospects, work deals with other teams
MIAMI — Getting into the room with free agents hasn’t been a problem for the Miami Heat in recent years, even if the results with Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward have. Over the next month, the Heat face an even greater challenge — getting into the room with NBA draft prospects.
Not only do the Heat stand with the Toronto Raptors as the only teams without a selection in either round of the June 21 draft, but the Heat also lack the funds — at the moment — to buy their way into the draft, with all $5.1 million of their allowable spending money through June 30 sent to the Dallas Mavericks in the July salary dump of Josh McRoberts.
Against that backdrop, the Heat front office is in Chicago for the annual draft combine, still afforded the ability to interview up to 20 participating prospects.
In addition to Heat President Pat Riley, General Manager Andy Elisburg and the team’s scouting staff, coach Erik Spoelstra is representing the team this week at the combine.
Also with the Heat scouting contingent is Shane Battier, the team’s director of basketball development and analytics, who has been granted permission by the Heat to talk with the Detroit Pistons about their frontoffice openings.
While the Heat appear to be on the outside of the process, there are enough work-
arounds for the Heat to still get a foot in the door.
Although the Heat cannot complete a “purchase” transaction at the draft, having reached the limit of cash included in 2017-18 transactions because of the McRoberts move, the Heat can work with a team to select for them and then purchase the rights to that player after July 1, when next season’s “Maximum Annual Cash Limit” becomes available.
The Golden State Warriors, for example, purchased the rights to guard Patrick McCaw at No. 38 in 2016 by sending $2.4 million to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Warriors followed up that move by then purchasing the No. 38 pick last year from the Chicago Bulls for $3.5 million and selecting Jordan Bell.
The Los Angeles Clippers twice bought into last year’s second round, selecting Juwan Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. The Evans agreement was not completed until July, similar to the approach the Heat would have to take.
The Heat theoretically could also trade into this year’s first round by dealing next year’s first-round pick, in a move, because of league rules, that would have to be completed after the draft.
As it is, the Heat will need to stock up on several prospects currently on showcase in Chicago, scheduled to compete in summer leagues in both Sacramento and Las Vegas in July. Among players the Heat lured to their summer program last year, when they lacked a secondround pick, were undrafted 2017 prospects London Perrantes, Sebastian Saiz, Gian Clavell, Matt Williams and Justin Robinson.
The Heat last were without a pick in either round in 2016, when, among those lured to summer camp were Stefan Jankovic, Shawn Jones and Damion Lee.
Riley indicated last month that the approach again could be to seize upon the undrafted.
“We hope that one of the
President Pat Riley, GM Andy Elisburg, scouts and coach Erik Spoelstra are in Chicago.
guys we really like that we can sign on July the first might be tantamount to a first-round pick for us,” he said.
The Heat’s slotted firstround pick, at No. 16, now belongs to the Phoenix Suns as the first of two first-round picks due from the Feb. 19, 2015, trade for Goran Dragic, with an unprotected 2021 first-round selection also due. The Heat’s slotted secondround pick, at No. 46, is due to the Houston Rockets, who received it from the Memphis Grizzlies, who acquired it in the Heat’s Feb. 16, 2016, luxury-tax dump of the contract of center Chris Andersen.
South Carolina prospect Brian Bowen, center, talks with other participants Thursday, the first day of the NBA draft combine in Chicago.
Pat Riley indicated last month that the Heat’s approach could be to seize upon the undrafted. “We hope that one of the guys we really like that we can sign on July the first might be tantamount to a first-round pick for us.”