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Heat trade Daequan Cook, #18 pick to OKC Thunder: Instant Trade Analysis

The Miami Heat have traded away 2007 first round pick Daequan Cook and the #18 pick a day before the 2010 NBA Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the #32 pick. Clearly the move was made to shed salary cap space and nothing else but there is much to be dissected. While the Heat were rumored to be trying to sell the pick they managed to package it with a player who didn’t seem to have a future with the Heat after going on a disastrous shooting slump since winning the 3-point shooting contest last year during the All-Star Weekend. This trade obviously can’t be fully analyzed straight-up until we know what Pat Riley plans to do with the extra $3.3 million in cap space that has been freed up but this trade is about as one-sided as it can get. Now the Heat have four second round picks in the draft that they appear to have no intention of using to acquire players for this upcoming season. They might trade the picks away, draft a foreign player to stash overseas while he develops (a smart idea that Riley never goes for but works wonders for teams like the Spurs) or draft collegiate players and send them overseas (like Patrick Beverley and Robert Dozier last year). Because second round picks don’t have guaranteed contracts, the Heat have avoided adding any additional payroll before the start of free agency. But numerous questions remain: Why did they choose to retain Mario Chalmers instead of letting him go and then drafting a young point guard that wouldn’t have made substantially more than him? Will Chalmers be moved anyway? Even if the dream scenario of landing another max free agent to pair with a re-signed Dwyane Wade comes true, wouldn’t having a first-rounder that would have had an affordable contract be desirable anyway for depth? I don’t understand who else will be on next year’s roster besides veteran minimum players if the Heat continue to give away previous and future draft picks and getting nothing in return. I guess the rumors of giving away the #2 overall pick from just two years ago for salary cap relief must be true and the likelihood of it happening very soon are inevitable. Why did they scout and work out so many players to just throw away the pick right before the draft? Was this the idea all along or did something just happen that changed the entire plan for the summer? By the way, can you hold an official draft party when your franchise doesn’t appear to be interested in actually drafting? What are the fans supposed to be doing during the first round anyway? But most importantly, does Pat Riley and the franchise know something that we don’t? Does he have Wade and another max free agent already in place and he’s clearing space for another? This is only the first Heat transaction this summer but it’s implications could reverberate throughout the entire league for years to come.