FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. No sooner had the Heat exited the May 20 NBA Draft lottery with the No. 2 overall selection, then Pat Riley said he would attempt to "leverage" the pick.
Now, with the NBA Draft mere hours away, Riley seems to have leveraged an entire league.
Unlike other team executives who are openly bemoaning the abject confusion or simmering about the draft's lack of clarity, Riley has remained mum on the Heat intentions for weeks.
That silence has reached the point where Memphis point guard Derrick Rose said Wednesday he has not had contact with Riley since the late-May NBA draft camp.
And that's from a player who has yet to receive confirmation from the Bulls that he will be, as has been widely speculated, Thursday night's No. 1 overall selection.
Among those who have heard from Riley in recent days have been Kansas State forward Michael Beasley, Southern Cal guard O.J. Mayo and Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless the only top-tier prospects who have worked out at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Beasley worked out there last week, while Mayo and Bayless were brought in for covert sessions Tuesday.
Beasley, the high-scoring, robo-rebounding forward with the appetizing post game, still is widely viewed at the No. 2 overall pick.
But the question is whether he will be a keeper. By rule, because of a previous trade it made, the Heat must exercise a selection at No. 2 on Thursday night before possibly trading that player.
Beasley tried to make his case in a Wednesday interview with ESPN.
"I can play well in Miami with Dwyane Wade and I can give them an inside presence with Udonis Haslem and then also step outside," Beasley said of working alongside the All-Star shooting guard and gritty power forward.
The lobbying didn't stop there, with Mayo offering to the network that he would love to be "the butler to D-Wade's Batman and Shawn Marion's Robin."
But when it comes to lining up superheroes to resurrect the Heat from last season's league-worst 15-67, the field suddenly is more cluttered than the Iowa caucuses.
Enter Bayless, who is closer to the pure point guard the Heat needs alongside Wade than Mayo.
"They were interested enough to bring me in," he said of his Tuesday South Florida session.
Depending on the case history, being last in to try out doesn't necessarily mean being the Heat's first choice on draft night.
In 1999, the Heat worked out Lamar Odom on the morning of the draft, but was unable to pull off a trade for the versatile forward it later signed in 2003 as a free agent. But last year, the Heat worked out Daequan Cook just days before the draft and wound up with the Ohio State shooting guard in the first round.
If going from a sure thing at Nos. 1 or 2 to a question mark is disconcerting for Beasley, he did not let on during his pre-draft media session Wednesday in New York.
"Wherever I end up, I'm fine," he said. "I just want to get drafted, as dumb as that might sound. I just want to play."
That next step could be anywhere from Memphis to Seattle to Minnesota to Los Angeles with the Clippers, with the Heat linked to draft-day moves involving such veterans as Mike Miller, Mike Conley, Chris Wilcox and Elton Brand.
And that doesn't even get into the speculation of a straight-out move for Mayo at No. 2.
"Hopefully, maybe, I get selected at No. 2," Mayo said. "At No. 2, I would be happy."
Then again, apparently so would Rose, if Chicago should elect to bypass him in favor of Beasley.
"My whole goal really is to play in the NBA," Rose said, "and I'd be playing in the NBA if I was with Miami."