Done in Miami after three disappointing seasons
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. Read more…
Daequan Cook has improved his shot of late (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rafer Alston once again proved in Tuesday’s blowout Heat victory in Philadelphia that he may be best utilized as a spectator. Yes, he is the team’s best defender at the position. But I don’t put much stock in his so-called leadership. The team receives its on-court leadership from Dwyane Wade. And his offense has been atrocious. Alston is shooting just 36% from the floor since being signed by the Heat, averaging 7.2 points, 2.9 assists and 1.5 turnovers.
The Heat’s starting unit already has a play-maker in Dwyane Wade. It doesn’t need these qualities in its point guard. What it needs is a floor spacing outside shooter who can bring the ball up the floor in non-critical situations — a Mo Williams if you will. Thirty-three-year-old Rafer Alston is a sub-par shooter, and it has a tendency to destroy the unit’s offensive efficiency. At what point does the statute of limitations run out, and Alston get evaluated based on his play?
With every passing game, it seems more and more evident that the Heat should at least experiment with a starting rotation that includes Daequan Cook, Dorell Wright or both. These are players that are part of the team’s future, and have shown flashes of ability perform at a high level.
I should also mention that in the 6 minutes of floor time James Jones was given, he converted his only 3-point shot. He’s now shooting 43% from distance on the season. Perhaps it’s time for Spoelstra to give significant minutes to the players that have salary commitments that run into next season.