“One interesting wrinkle to Houston’s interest is the prospect of moving up from the No. 20 pick,” wrote Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “Again, conversations up to this point are mainly conceptual, but there have been discussions about potentially moving up from 20 to a range anywhere from the Miami Heat at No. 18 to the Dallas Mavericks at No. 10, sources say. Some iterations have involved the Rockets adding draft compensation while others have involved their own players or the idea of taking on bad salary.”
After making the NBA Finals, Miami holds a pick in the middle of the draft based on its 44-38 regular season record. The Heat could add a young player at that spot or instead try to swing a deal to add someone who might better fit their win-now mindset.
Miami recently worked out University of California, Los Angeles standout Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Santa Clara University product Brandin Podziemski, who both could be possibilities for that No. 18 pick. A recent mock draft by The Athletic has the Heat using the pick on Jordan Hawkins out of the University of Connecticut.
It is just the most immediate of many decisions the Heat are facing this offseason after winning the Eastern Conference but losing the Finals to the Denver Nuggets in five games. The playoff run was generated primarily by role players performing surprisingly well in support of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Miami faces crucial decisions on two of those players, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent. The Heat have “mutual interest” in re-signing both players.
The Heat were looking to chart a different course by pursuing a trade for Bradley Beal, but the Washington Wizards ultimately dealt the high-scoring guard to the Phoenix Suns. Miami reportedly still has interest in Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, with Butler leading the recruiting effort.
The Rockets also hold the No. 4 pick on Thursday after failing to win the NBA Draft Lottery. Houston had the same odds to win the lottery as the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs, who won the No. 1 pick and right to draft generational prospect Victor Wembanyama. The Pistons fell to the No. 5 pick, with the Charlotte Hornets moving up to No. 2 and Trail Blazers winning the No. 3 selection.
The Athletic reported that multiple teams have contacted Houston about trading for the fourth pick, but it is much more likely the Rockets will instead try to move up later, with the Heat one of their many options.