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$38 million cap space could yield Miami Heat up to 3 additional first-round draft picks in 2017

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Trail Blazers need help with their cap space situation: Heat could bail them out.

Kansas State v Wake Forest Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

By using some of Miami Heat's projected $38 million cap space this summer, Pat Riley could help the Portland Trail Blazers out of their cap space nightmare. By the way, Portland holds the 15th, 20th and 26th picks in this month's NBA draft. Put together, Miami might potentially select as many as the 14th, 15th, 20th, 26th players chosen on June 22nd.

Kenneth P. Smith of RealGM writes,

“With the largest number of guaranteed contracts in the NBA at 12, Portland is in a difficult position. Add to that, three partial/non-guaranteed contracts and the Blazers are the lone NBA team without a single pending free agent on their roster.”

The folks at Spotrac show C.J. McCollum's salary will jump from $3 million to $24 million next season. If unchanged, the Blazers have a total commitment of $141 million due their players in 2017-18. That doesn't include signing their three draft picks to NBA contracts.

RealGM has Miami with $37 million in cap space, which is slightly less than the calculations of other pundits. Their cap figures though give an idea whether some teams may be tweaking their rosters to keep key players next season.

Miami Heat rumors have centered around using their generous cap space to resigning their own players and/or chasing a difference-making max player to make a run for a title. Could Pat Riley use the newly available money to help the Blazers out of their luxury tax burden, by picking up some unwanted contracts and repackaging them? The Heat might benefit from the arbitrage opportunity.

Normally 14th, 15th, 20th and 26th picks don't yield All-Stars out of the gate, as Riley is well aware of. Since free agency doesn't begin until July 1st, he could put possible selections into attractive trade bundles, once the frantic free agency and trading time arrives.

The CBA locks first-round rookies into attractively-priced contracts for three years, with a fourth-year option and fifth-year qualifying offer. The picks in question would have the following salaries in 2017-18:

  • #14 $2,075,300
  • #15 $1,971,300
  • #20 $1,549,500
  • #26 $1,221,600

Pat Riley's calling card is wheeling and dealing players with the best of them. The unusual Tyler Johnson contract might be mixed in with cheap rookie ones to produce an acceptable way of addressing that issue. Unless Miami believes Tyler’s potential for the team is too good to pass up. The $38 million cap space he stashed for this summer could be useful in more ways than simply signing players outright.

The players available at those spots depend on which mock draft board is used. With DraftExpress’ guesses as a guide, these players might be available for the Heat to choose, should they decide to help Portland out of their financial quagmire.

Feel free to comment or create your own scenarios of picks and trades.

#14 John Collins

#16 Justin Jackson

#20 Harry Giles

#26 Anzejs Pasecniks