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Heat trade for Justin Hamilton in draft

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Presswire

Fresh off their 2nd NBA championship in franchise history, the Miami Heat traded the draft rights to the twenty-seventh pick, Arnett Moultrie, to the Philadelphia 76ers for a future first-round pick and the 45th pick in the 2012 Draft. Miami then drafted the 7-foot center from Louisiana State University, Justin Hamilton. The first-round pick from the Sixers is lottery protected in in 2013, '14 and '15. If Miami doesn't receive a pick by 2015, the pick will turn into two second round picks -- one in '15 and another in '16.

It's a curious draft-night move. Hamilton isn't known as a particularly good athlete, so he may not fit with the rest of the team's current roster. Some players who were available at No. 27 -- like Jeff Taylor or Draymond Green -- could have definitely played in the just-concluded NBA Finals replete with solid athletes. Could one say the same about Hamilton? On the other hand, he is known as a solid shot-blocker, can run the floor well and does stand 7 feet tall. Perhaps Pat Riley simply wanted to find a big man who could relieve Chris Bosh of playing some of the five and play defense when the Heat faced one of the few formidable centers in the NBA -- Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum or Marc Gasol.

Trading out of the first-round prevents Miami from giving out a guaranteed contract this year, and that may have appealed to Riley. With the new aggressive luxury tax coming in during the 2013-14 season, the Heat are one of many teams that will struggle to keep their core together and appear to be planning to save money. Young players with rookie contracts are of more value right now due to low cost and the Heat hope to avoid falling into the luxury tax and save as much money going forward.

With Mike Miller's lingering back troubles and a possible retirement hanging in the balance, the Miami Heat are focused on proactively improving their roster. The 2012-2013 season will be a full 82 game season, enabling Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff to really hone in on the teams needs, strengths and weaknesses.

The offseason is still just beginning, with teams merely approaching the early strategies of roster improvement, free agent acquisition and trades. During the draft telecast, Jeff Van Gundy and Chris Broussard mentioned the rumoring possibility of veteran 3-point specialist and future hall of famer, Ray Allen joining the Heat this summer.

Even LeBron James couldn't resist talking about the possibility of playing with Ray Allen. James tweeted:

While watching the Draft my son Bryce ask "Is Ray Allen gonna play for the Heat". I said "I don't know, I hope so"

Diego Quezada contributed to this story.