Well it hasn't taken long for the trades to start flying. If you haven't read the news headline today, it reads: "Thunder get Cook, 18th pick in draft from Heat." While on the surface this seems like a trade involving a weak first-round pick and a rotation player, the implications for this go far beyond what can be interpreted at face value.
By pulling the trigger on this deal, the Heat have rid themselves of $2.2 million due to be paid to Daequan Cook next season, as well as the $3 million (approximately) that the 18th pick is valued at. According to ESPN reports, this puts the Miami Heat payroll at $44 million entering free agency. That's a figure that is enough to re-sign Dwyane Wade and potentially bring in two maximum-contract players.
This certainly puts the Heat in the driving seat with July 1st just around the corner. However, are there negatives to this trade? Was it worth it to offload Cook, an inconsistent yet promising shooter? What about the 18th pick and potential rookies that could have been taken at that slot?
The answer to both of those questions is simple. Cook, while dangerous from the perimeter, has regressed from his sophomore season and will never get the number of minutes needed for him flourish while playing behind Wade. He fell out of the rotation this year due to his streaky play and it would be wiser to bring in a veteran to play behind Wade than continue investing in Cook.
The 18th pick in the draft may sound appealing due to the notions of this year's draft being deep, but how many 18th picks in the past have made a notable difference for the teams that drafted them? Since the year 2000 the 18th pick in the draft has only produced one All-Star: David West. After him, there is a notable drop-off to J.R. Smith and a bunch of borderline starters.
With both of those questions answered, it seems clear that this was an intelligent move made by an organization determined to surround Wade with the talent necessary to contend for an NBA Championship next season.
If I was the rest of the NBA I would be getting worried, because Pat Riley is a man of his word and has set up the pieces perfectly to deliver this off-season.