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Heat trade Daequan Cook and the 18th overall pick to Thunder

In a move that further reflects their whole off-season free agent plan, the Heat traded Daequan Cook along with the 18th overall pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the 32nd overall pick.  While the trade isn't that surprising when you think about it, I still wasn't expecting them to further clean house considering they only had three guys under contract for next season (Cook, Beasley and Chalmers).

Daequan's first season and a half were pretty solid, with the high point coming during the 2009 All-Star Weekend when he showed his shooting ability by winning the 3-Point Shootout.  From that point on though things began going downhill for Daequan, and his struggles caused many people to begin questioning whether or not he was for real or just another young buck who caught peoples eye by drilling a bunch of treys.

If this past season was any indication then the Heat won't be missing much.  The ceiling is still high for Cook and I'm sure that the Thunder weren't the only team willing to give him a shot.  I guess Pat Riley and co. came to the conclusion that Daequan just wasn't worth the $2.16 million that he is due next season, and that comes as no shock considering his numbers were significantly down last season compared to his first two years in the league. 

Not only was the Heat able to get rid of Cook and his guaranteed money, but they also traded away their only 1st round pick (18th overall).  Why would they do this?  Because whomever they would have drafted with that pick would have made about $1.2 million thanks entirely to the fact that they were a 1st round pick.  As for the pick that the Heat got in exchange, there is no financial risk involved.  Second round draft picks aren't guaranteed contracts nor do they count against the salary cap. 

So now the Heat have just Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers signed up for next season.  The two combine to make about $5.8 million.  That leaves them with around $44 million left to spend, which means the Heat could possibly bring in two max-contract players along with Dwyane Wade.  How awesome is that?!  I don't know about you guys but I cant wait to see what Pat Riley does when July gets here and he has the freedom to negotiate with whichever free agents he wants.