Miami lacks pick but has in­ter­est at com­bine

Staff can speak with draft prospects, work deals with other teams

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - SPORTS - By Ira Win­der­man Staff writer

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.

STACY RE­VERE/GETTY IMAGES

South Carolina prospect Brian Bowen, cen­ter, talks with other par­tic­i­pants Thurs­day, the first day of the NBA draft com­bine in Chicago.

JOHN MC­CALL/STAFF FILE PHOTO

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.”

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