MIAMI (AP) — With the No. 27 pick in the NBA draft, the Miami Heat got another first-rounder for down the road and a bit of financial flexibility as an added bonus.
The newly crowned NBA champions grabbed Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie with their lone selection, then quickly traded him to Philadelphia for a future first-round pick and the rights to the 76ers’ second-round selection. Philadelphia took 7-foot forward Justin Hamilton of LSU at No. 45 with that pick.
By trading away the first-round selection, the Heat did not have to commit to any guaranteed contract, potentially saving about $1 million in payroll and an equal amount in salary tax for each of the next two seasons.
But Heat President Pat Riley said the decision to make a trade had “nothing to do with luxury tax.”
“The players that we had on the board were not there at the time and we felt we had a great option with Philly,” Riley said.
“We just felt that with our roster, roster spots are very valuable,” Riley added. “That was the reason why we deferred the pick.”
So on draft day, the biggest Heat news came from the player they drafted nine years ago. Dwyane Wade told USA Basketball that he will need surgery on his left knee and will not be able to play in next month’s London Olympics. Wade told The Associated Press that he expects to be recovered from the clean-up procedure in time to begin training camp with the Heat next fall.
“My knee has been an ongoing issue,” Wade wrote on Twitter late Thursday night, “and having surgery and time to re-coup is what I have to do.”
Wade said he made the decision after consulting with doctors. He also spoke about the prospect of surgery with Riley, who applauded Wade’s choice.
“It’s in his best interest,” Riley said. “It’s a big year for Dwyane. The guy has played with a style over the years that might not be conducive to longevity. We want to make sure whatever it is that has been ailing him is corrected this summer.”
And maybe the most interesting element of the draft in Newark, N.J. was the reaction that any mention of the Heat by Commissioner David Stern elicited. Whenever Stern mentioned the Heat, the crowd booed — loudly.
Moultrie won’t hear those boos when the Heat hit the road next season. The 6-foot-11 forward spent his first two college seasons at Texas-El Paso, where he averaged 9.3 points in 70 games.
This past season, after transferring to Mississippi State, Moultrie averaged 16.4 points and 10.5 rebounds. He was second in the SEC in scoring and led the league in rebounding — coming in ahead of the No. 1 pick, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis in that department.
Hamilton spent two years at Iowa State before transferring to LSU and entering the draft with a year of eligibility remaining. He averaged 12.9 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior.
Riley said Hamilton may be a candidate to play overseas next season.
“He’s got quick feet, big, takes up a lot of space,” said Riley, who raved about Hamilton’s workout with the Heat and compared him to former Miami center Michael Doleac.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.