After months of speculation that the Miami Heat would deal one of their guards to pare down the roster and trim their salary cap tax penalties, it appears that Shabazz Napier is the first to go with a reported deal in place to send the second-year point guard to the Orlando Magic.
Orlando will acquire Miami's Shabazz Napier for a protected future second-round pick, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 26, 2015
As a player taken late in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, Napier is set to earn roughly $1.3 million next season -- much less than the $4.3 million that veteran Mario Chalmers will make. Overall, the team is projected to have a payroll just shy of $60 million, according to Hoopshype.
Second-year guard Tyler Johnson has a partially guaranteed contract and rookie Josh Richardson, who was taken in the second round, remains unsigned but played very well in the Summer League. The Heat also recently signed Gerald Green to the veteran's minimum to back up Dwyane Wade and lottery pick Justise Winslow could also see time at shooting guard as well as Zoran Dragic.
LeBron James had declared Napier to be his favorite player in the draft last year after the senior had helped lead Connecticut to an NCAA championship and the Heat moved up two spots in the draft to acquire him. Miami dealt the No. 26 selection P.J. Hairston, along with two second round picks, to the Charlotte Hornets for Napier, who was selected with the No. 24 pick.
Napier, 24, had an inconsistent rookie season, averaging 5.1 points, 2.5 assists, 2.2 rebounds and shot 38 percent from the field in 51 games. He struggled with his outside shot and on defense and was sent to the Sioux Falls Skyforce for two short stints in the NBA Development League during the season. He was then slowed down by a sports hernia injury that eventually required surgery on April 1 that cut his season short.
What do you think of the move? Should another player have been dealt or will Chalmers (or another player) still remain on the chopping block?