The NBA Trade Deadline was a large disappointment for most fans, and for Miami Heat fans, no blockbuster deals were expected, but the Heat did pull off an underrated and under-appreciated trade with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies received center Dexter Pittman and the Heat’s 2013 2nd round draft pick in exchange for the rights to Ricky Sanchez and a trade exception equal to the amount of Pittman’s salary.
The Grizzlies have plenty of trade exceptions to work with after their recent dealings, and are away from the luxury tax, so adding a minimum salary guy doesn’t affect much and they have two open roster spots.
Pittman is by no means an All-Star caliber player, but he provides Memphis with a wide-bodied big-man on the bench. Memphis’s key big-men are wide-bodied guys in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, and while Darrell Arthur and Ed Davis should be above Pittman in the rotation, the option of having another wide body in case of injury or style isn’t a bad option heading towards the playoffs.
Additionally, the Grizzlies pick up a free 2nd round pick. Granted, this pick will likely be one of the five last picks of the draft, but there’s always a shot that a team can strike gold with one of these picks. Last year, Isaiah Thomas was picked with the 60th pick (final selection in the draft) and San Antonio Spur star Manu Ginobili was selected with the 57th overall choice when he came out.
Picking up a free 2nd round pick doesn’t hurt, and could even be packaged in a deal in the future.
For the Heat, this deal may not seem to make sense on the surface, but it is a move that helps them in the short term and in the future indirectly.
First of all, moving Pittman opens up a roster spot for Miami. This could prove to be vital as teams are likely to buy-out players in order to shed money, and Miami will in turn be able to pick up someone who may prove to be a nice asset come playoff time, which could wind up being the difference in winning a championship (i.e.: PJ Brown with the Boston Celtics years back).
Additionally, a trade exception equal to Dexter Pittman’s contract has been created and will be available for one-year for the Heat. The exception will be worth just the minimum, but may give Miami the edge in picking up a veteran via trade down the stretch next year.
Also, the Heat have picked up the rights to Ricky Sanchez who is currently playing in Argentina. Sanchez likely will never play a minute in the NBA, but so long as he continues to play professionally, the Heat will still own his rights. This is important because he can be sent in a trade, as essentially an empty slot, since teams have to exchange assets in a deal.
(Note: This is often why teams will select European players in the 2nd round. Not only can you have the chance to hit a homerun, like with guys like Ginobili, but you also obtain an asset that you do not have to pay.)
Special thanks to DaveBleasdale for the image via Flickr.