There is plenty of gossip of whom they might take, but the Heat's unique situation makes it more difficult to parse the rumors and find some truth.
The Heat's roster is one in flux, so predicting who they will take in the upcoming NBA draft becomes more difficult when the only player locked in for guaranteed money next season is Norris Cole. LeBron James' decision to opt out—as reported by ESPN's Chris Broussard—doesn't make it easier, either.
Some of the gossip is contradicting. Grantland's Zach Lowe, piggy-backing on a tweet by ESPN's Marc Stein, speculated that Miami could trade its No. 26 selection for New York Knicks swingman Iman Shumpert.
Re: @ESPNSteinLine report of NYK exploring Shump for 1st-round pick: Watch the Heat, potentially using No. 26 as main bait for Shumpert.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 23, 2014
However, Heat vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer said Monday that the team is leaning toward keeping whomever it chooses.
"At this point," he said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "I think we'd like to add someone that can be on our roster, that would be a rookie."
But even Kammerer's remarks run counter to each other.
"We're more about having a player contribute immediately," Kammerer said of the team's win-now mode. "There's no question."
Players that contribute right away are rarely taken at the end of the first round. The Heat are rumored to be targeting UConn point guard Shabazz Napier or looking to trade up in the draft for Creighton forward Doug McDermott.
You can start to get a feel for what Miami might be thinking by connecting the dots.
The Heat Are Targeting Napier
Miami's interest in Napier makes sense. Mostly because he was recently invited to the NBA draft green room and projects to be selected before Miami picks. If he should fall, Miami could take him simply because he is the best player available.
Many Heat fans are clamoring for the team to choose Napier, regarding him as an immediate upgrade to fan-pinata Mario Chalmers.
Even if he isn't Chalmers' theoretical replacement, Napier could be used as a combo guard in Miami's rotation. The Heat have shown an interest in acquiring a quality third point guard in the past, and having Napier come off the end of the bench would be quite the weapon.
Other point guards that could be available include Missouri's Jordan Clarkson, Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie and Vasilije Micic of the Serbian League.
Miami Will Trade the Pick for Iman Shumpert
Assuming Napier is off the board, Miami's best option to get an immediate contributor could be to select whichever player the Knicks want and trade him for the 23-year-old Shumpert.
Shumpert is an athletic perimeter defender who shoots 34.2 percent from three for his career. Not great, but not bad either in New York's isolation-heavy offense. He would likely see more open looks in the flow of Miami's ball movement.
Shumpert will make $2.6 million next season and has a qualifying offer for $3.7 million in 2015-16. Miami would likely have to sign him to an extension either this season or next, and Shumpert would be leveraging for a raise.
But Pat Riley would be getting a known commodity.
Shumpert, a 2-guard or small-ball 3, would likely come off the bench and could fill in for either Wade or James, giving Miami a versatile defender on the perimeter. The move makes sense.
Miami Will Look to Move Up in the Draft
Miami has been known to trade out or trade back, but rarely has the team made a dramatic move to leap up in the draft. If they were going to do it, though, it might be during one of the most intriguing drafts in a while.
As reported by Associated Press writer Tim Reynolds, the Heat are targeting a possible trade with the Phoenix Suns with McDermott in mind.
RT @NBC6Sports: Heat's target in 1st round of NBA Draft? > I'll give you three: Napier, Cleanthony Early, move up with PHX to get McDermott.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 24, 2014
Miami might be interested in utilizing McDermott's shooting abilities—who averaged 26.7 points per game on 52.6 percent shooting his senior year, including 44.9 percent from three and 86.4 percent from the free-throw line—but pulling off the trade is unlikely.
Phoenix has three picks (Nos. 14, 18 and 27) in the first round Thursday, and teams will be on the phone with general manager Ryan McDonough to grab at least one of them.
Conversely, Miami has the No. 26 pick (meh), its $2.2 million trade exception it got by dealing Joel Anthony and Cole as assets (not to mention that Miami can't even move the pick until after it selects a player).
Maybe McDonough tells Riley whom to take with the 26th pick then sends that player and the cash to Phoenix for McDermott. But that would require the Suns to (a) select McDermott at No. 14 or No. 18 and (b) determine that the Heat are offering the best package in return.
Miami just doesn't have much firepower to move up into the top half of the draft, so they will either keep whomever they choose or flip the rookie for a veteran.