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Miami Heat trades out of first round, drafts LSU’s Justin Hamilton

The Heat had only one asset in the 2012 NBA Draft and chose to ditch it.

Miami drafted Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie with the 27th pick of the first round but then traded his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for a second-round pick and a future first-round pick. The Heat acquired the Sixers’ 45th pick on Thursday night, and with that pick selected center Justin Hamilton of Louisiana State.

In addition to trading Moultrie’s rights, the Heat also passed on collegiate stars Jeffery Taylor of Vanderbilt, Draymond Green of Michigan State, Festus Ezeli of Vanderbilt and Perry Jones III of Baylor, all of whom were available.

In the end, the Heat went with the 7-0, 260-pound Hamilton, who will join the Heat’s summer-league team July 13 in Las Vegas and attempt to make the team. Joining Hamilton in Las Vegas will be Norris Cole, 2010 second-round pick Justin Varnado and most likely Terrel Harris and Dexter Pittman. The Heat has a team option for Pittman and can re-sign him as early as Saturday. Harris is an unrestricted free agent but is expected to re-sign with Miami.

Why did the Heat trade its first-round rights? Perhaps to take money off the books. First-round contracts are guaranteed for two years. Second-round selections are not guaranteed and the Heat can sign a player to a one-year contract and cut him after training camp or at any time during the season. In other words, Hamilton’s tenure with the Heat might not be a long one.

The Heat is expected to replenish its roster this offseason with veteran players willing to take minimum contracts. The Heat is also projected to be over the salary cap next season.


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