A six-pack of Heat notes on a Tuesday:
▪ The Heat will enter the June 21 NBA Draft without a pick and with limitations about how it can trade or acquire future picks.
To refresh: Miami’s first-round pick was dealt to Phoenix as part of the Goran Dragic deal, with the Heat still owing the Suns a 2021 first-round pick.
The Heat also is without its second-round pick, which was dealt in 2016 as part of a purging of Chris “Birdman” Anderson’s contract. That deal helped the Heat from a luxury tax standpoint.
Though teams are not permitted to trade picks in consecutive years, the Heat is permitted to trade its 2019 pick — if it chooses — once Phoenix uses Miami’s 16th overall choice on draft night.
But there’s one complication:
ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted: “Miami can trade its own first in 2019 but only if it is unprotected.”
But cap guru Larry Coon said there is a creative way to circumvent that rule if the Heat wants to put protections on that pick.
Coon emailed this:
“Since they own their 2020 pick and do not own their 2021 pick, they cannot put any protections on a traded 2019 pick, which would defer the pick to 2020 [because they then have potential future consecutive picks traded in 2020 and 2021].
“However, they can put protections on the 2019 pick that conveys a future second round pick or cash or is extinguished if it's not conveyed in 2019. The next second round pick they still own is in 2022; an example legal trade is to trade their 2019 first round pick with protections that cause them to trade their 2022 second round pick if they keep their 2019 first round pick.”
So if the Heat has a chance to land a quality veteran via trade beginning on draft night, and Miami wants to include a 2019 first-round pick but with protection, Coon cites a way to get it done.
Marks also notes this: “In addition, the Heat can trade a first starting in 2023 [two years after the Phoenix pick is conveyed] but are limited on adding protection because of the seven-year rule. In this case, Miami can only trade a first from 2019 to 2025, not in consecutive seasons, and protection would not be allowed to carry past the 2025 draft.”
Meanwhile, if the Heat wants to acquire a second-round pick for cash, there are also limitations.
Because $5.1 million was sent along with Josh McRoberts to Dallas in that cap-clearing trade last July, the Heat can agree to buy a second-round pick the night of the draft but not complete the trade until July 6, once the new calendar year begins.
According to an official with a Western Conference team that has spoken to the Heat, Miami hasn’t been trying to acquire a first-round pick but seems to have interest in possibly acquiring a second-rounder.
▪ We reported previously that Tyler Johnson’s contract — which will pay him $19.2 million each of the next two seasons — has a 15 percent trade kicker — amounting to $2.9 million — if he’s traded. There isn't much optimism internally about being able to move that contract.
And he’s not the only Heat player with such a kicker.
As Marks notes, Kelly Olynyk has a 5 percent trade bonus. The bonus is $1.1 million and would be divided and added to his 2018-19 and 2019-20 salaries.
▪ Though the WestGate Las Vegas sports book has the Heat tied for the fifth best odds of winning the championship next season (20 to 1) because of a belief LeBron James could return to the Heat this summer, there is absolutely no expectation inside the Heat that James will return.
Yes, the Heat would welcome James back if he shockingly decided to come back. But the Heat would need to trade off many of its appealing assets to make this work even in the unlikely event James wanted to return. And if Cleveland refused to do a sign-and-trade with the Heat, Miami would need to trim more than $55 million in salary while taking no money back to create the cap room.
▪ The Heat and many other teams are monitoring what the Spurs plan to do with Kawhi Leonard, who had some friction with the team over treatment of his quad injury and can be a free agent in the summer of 2019.
But Spurs guard Danny Green told two publications (Bleacher Report and The San Antonio Express News) that Leonard told him that he wants to stay with the Spurs for the remainder of his career.
▪ One personnel move internally in recent days: Rich Fernando, an 11-year Heat official who worked closely with Erik Spoelstra, is joining the Philadelphia 76ers as director of coaching administration. His motives were as much personal as professional; his girlfriend was accepted into a residency program in the Northeast and the Heat graciously allowed him to pursue the opportunity.
Fernando was assistant to the head coach for the past five years after spending the previous six years as the Heat’s assistant video coordinator....
Meanwhile, Juwan Howard interviewed for the Detroit Pistons head coaching job, but according to ESPN, he's not among three candidates who now will interview with Pistons owner Tom Gores. Those three who will interview with the owner, per ESPN, are former Toronto coach Dwane Casey, University of Michigan coach John Beilein and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka.
▪ The NBA All Star game hasn’t been in Miami since 1990 partly because hotel availability is limited with the game scheduled the same weekend as the boat show locally.
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum recently said that the Heat has not applied for any future All-Star games. But Tatum said the league has been talking to the Heat about finding ways to make it work and are open to the idea.