On the heels of falling short of a three-peat against the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat traded with the Charlotte Hornets for Shabazz Napier, the 24th pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
The Charlotte Hornets select UConn’s Shabazz Napier, who will reportedly be traded to the Miami Heat pic.twitter.com/eRugn56BWM— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 27, 2014
The event's official account confirmed the deal:
Brian Windhorst of ESPN notes the details of the trade on Thursday night:
Heat will trade No. 26, No. 55 and a future 2nd to the Hornets for Shabazz Napier— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 27, 2014
Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report noted that the pick seemed like a palpable one for the Heat:
Cannot remember the Heat's intentions ever being as obvious as they've been in this draft— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 27, 2014
The selection of Napier comes just months after he led UConn to the 2014 NCAA championship and was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player. He was not only the floor general for the Huskies, but he also contributed offensively much the same as former Huskies star Kemba Walker.
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports points out that he believes the former UConn guard fell much further than expected:
Four point guards have now been taken ahead of Shabazz Napier. Sometimes the world doesn't make much sense.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 27, 2014
After coming up short in the NBA Finals, the Heat might just be one piece short of earning another title. With the acquisition of Napier, they add depth at the point guard position along with a playmaker that can impact a game with his court vision and scoring ability.
LeBron James praised the point guard earlier in the year:
No way u take another PG in the lottery before Napier.— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 8, 2014
He then chimed in on his thoughts of him on draft night:
My favorite player in the draft! #Napier— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 27, 2014
With unrestricted free agent Mario Chalmers struggling in the Finals, the hope might be that Napier can replace him and be the Heat's floor general.
Josh Eberley of Dime Magazine and Skolnick pass along their thoughts on what this could mean for Chalmers:
If the Heat get Shabazz do they give Chalmers a week to clear his stuff out, or immediately ship him back to Alaska?— Josh Eberley (@JoshEberley) June 27, 2014
As for what this does to the franchise, the hope is the Napier selection will serve as more persuasion to keep James in Miami. The question is: Will a rookie point guard really influence James' decision?
Miami keeps Norris Cole. Obviously, this could mean the end here for Mario Chalmers.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 27, 2014
James might be a fan of the young player, but he's certainly not the only reason for James to make the decision to stick around. Given the core already in place, Napier has a lot to offer to an already talented team that will once again be competing for a championship next season if it keeps James.
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