Heat Trades Daequan Cook and Pick No. 18 to OKC for Pick No. 32
The Miami Heat has traded out of the first round of tomorrow’s draft, sending its No. 18 pick and guard Daequan Cook to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 32 overall pick in the second round.
Pat Riley has publicly acknowledged his preference to build through free agency and on the eve of the draft he has held true to his word, opting instead for the added cap space this trade creates.
The move corrects an error made by Riley back in October, when he violated his self-imposed plan to maximize the team’s cap space for the coming off-season and instead chose to pick up Cook’s team option for next season – to the surprise of many, including Daequan. Cook has since regressed, in his fourth and final season under his rookie scale contract.
For Oklahoma City, this deal makes a great deal of sense. The Thunder receives a quality shooter and a top 20 pick for the 32nd pick. And something tells me general manager Sam Presti isn’t done swapping. Now OKC owns three first rounders – Nos. 18, 21 and 26 – and could use them as a springboard to move up a little more.
For Miami, this is a straight salary dump. The Heat not only jettisons the $2,169,857 on Cook’s contract for next season, but also the $1,237,500 salary it would have been obligated to pay the No. 18 selection in Thursday’s draft. In total, the Heat saves $3,407,357.
Still, one has to question this move. If the Heat is successful in its bid to add three max contract free agents, draft picks will be a vital means to surround them with talent. Miami may have been better served swapping the pick for a 2011 first rounder. Cook’s $2.1 million salary could presumably have been rather easily be shed, if the need arises, by offering a potential suitor up to the $3.0 million limit to take him. How many unprofitable smaller-market teams could realistically pass up the opportunity to add backcourt depth in the form of a young and developing Three-Point Shootout champion not only free of charge, but at a $830k profit?
Miami does, however, receive something of value from Oklahoma City. Second round picks are not assured guaranteed contracts, and therefore do not immediately count against the cap. The Heat could utilize its entire cap space elsewhere, and thereafter circle back to such picks utilizing the minimum salary exception. Having a pick at the top of the second round could provide a quality talent at no cost against the cap.
The Heat now holds four second round picks in tomorrow’s draft – the 32nd, 41st, 42nd and 48th. It is certainly possible Riley could use some combination to trade right back up into the first round.
Miami now has salary commitments to four players for next season – Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, James Jones and Joel Anthony. But Beasley is expected to be traded shortly. Jones is expected to be waived by June 30 in order for the Heat to take advantage of his buyout, which would pay him $1,856,000 next season. And Anthony is expected to opt out of his minimum salary contract, which he must do by tomorrow.
If all goes as expected, Miami will enter the off-season with total salary commitments of $2,710,389 and only Chalmers under contract. That leaves the Heat with $53,389,611 of room, assuming a $56.1 million cap. Perhaps the best way to think about it is as follows: the team now has enough room for two maximum contract free agents (making $16,658,908 each, as Wade, James and Bosh would be eligible for), with an additional $15,989,360 left over for a third player.