NEW YORK To trade or not to trade the No. 2 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft?
Heat executives have said they will listen to offers. Whether the team pulls the trigger and possibly unloads projected second-overall pick Michael Beasley remains to be seen. This much is certain: The phones have been ringing in the Heat's front office as other teams try to move up in the draft.
But don't expect a deal between the Heat and the Bulls involving guard Dwyane Wade and the No. 1 pick.
"When is the first pick traded?" Bulls general John Paxson said to reporters Tuesday in Chicago. "It just doesn't happen."
But that hasn't stopped the trade rumors from swirling.
The Heat is linked to several possible deals, including sending Wade to Chicago for the No. 1 pick, second-year forward Tyrus Thomas and veteran shooting guard Larry Hughes; drafting Beasley and shipping him and center Mark Blount to Seattle for the No. 4 pick and forward Chris Wilcox; or dealing Beasley and Blount or guard Daequan Cook to Memphis for the No. 5 pick, forward Mike Miller and either guard Kyle Lowry or Mike Conley Jr. Memphis officials apparently have no interest in parting with Conley.
'ACTIVE TRADE MARKET'
No matter what the Heat decides, there likely will be deals involving at least a handful of teams Thursday. Draft night has become the league's version of Deal or No Deal.
"I think it will be a very active trade market," Memphis general manager Chris Wallace said recently. "Whether things get done or not, that remains to be seen. Most deals are talked about, but few are consummated. I wouldn't be surprised to see some movement."
There have been at least 15 trades in the past two years. Last year, Boston began its major offseason makeover by acquiring Ray Allen from Seattle in a five-player, draft-night deal.
The Heat apparently is re-examining its options with the second overall pick. ESPN reported Tuesday night that Southern Cal guard O.J. Mayo worked out for the Heat in Miami on Tuesday. The Heat, which had previously released the names of prospects who visited the team for workouts, did not do so with Mayo on Tuesday. The team also worked out Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless, according to the ESPN report. Heat president Pat Riley and general manager Randy Pfund were not available Tuesday night, and team representative Tim Donovan did not return a message seeking comment.
Teams can trade their picks until 2 p.m. Thursday, when the NBA imposes a moratorium until the draft begins. If the Heat wants to make a trade, it must first select a player because the league stipulates that teams cannot deal draft picks in consecutive years. The Heat traded its 2009 first-round pick to Minnesota in October in the Antoine Walker deal, which brought Blount and Ricky Davis to Miami. The Heat has been secretive about its draft plans. Since the Bulls are expected to select former Memphis point guard Derrick Rose, the focus has shifted to Miami.
On May 20, the night of the draft lottery, Riley said the team had a lot of leverage to make a trade and would entertain offers. He also said at least three executives had made immediate inquiries about a trade. Although many teams covet Beasley, several general managers picking in the top 14 said it's hard to predict what the Heat will do.
Wade said he does not foresee being traded, despite persistent rumors: "If I wasn't in Chicago this summer, the rumor would have never happened," Wade said Monday night. "Since I have spent a lot of time in Chicago this summer and the Bulls have the first pick, of course it's going to come up. I never thought one moment the Heat might trade me."
Wade said he needs no assurance from the Heat. He said he and Riley spoke and laughed about the trade prospect.
If Wade isn't part of trade talks, other Heat players could be because Riley is trying to create salary-cap space before next summer or, in the best-case scenario, before free agency begins next month. Shawn Marion, who elected not to opt out of the final year of his contract Tuesday, also could become a potential chip in a Heat trade.
"They're in a great position, whatever direction they go in," Wallace said.
Therein lies the draft-night intrigue."It's not a hard and fast trade deadline like February," Wallace said. "But it becomes almost, in another sense, a trade deadline."
Miami Herald sportswriter Michael Wallace contributed to this report. (c) 2008, The Miami Herald.
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