Report: Miami Heat May Trade No. 13 Pick to Cavs for J.R. Smith

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Debate has raged over the past month about who the Miami Heat might select with their first-round draft pick, the 13th overall selection.

One new report indicates that the team could end up trading the pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for veteran shooting guard J.R. Smith and the Cavs’ 26th overall pick.

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Without any context, the deal makes no sense for the Heat. However, Smith is entering the final year of his four-year contract and is scheduled to make $15.68 million, but is only guaranteed $3.87 million if he’s released by June 30, which is a virtual certainty.

From the Heat’s perspective, acquiring Smith would allow them to have the option of using that entire $3.87 million as part of their payroll for the 2019-20 season. The other option is to spread that amount over three years, but the bottom line is for a team like the Heat, it offers it some salary-cap flexibility.

Most likely, any deal involving Smith and the Heat will also include having the team send the Cavaliers one of their burdensome contracts to free up even more space entering free agency. One of the top candidates to go in this scenario is 32-year-old forward James Johnson.

Smith turns 34 in September and has seen his game decline since signing his 2016 deal. He was exiled by the Cavaliers last November after accusing the team of tanking the 2018-19 season. Once he’s presumably released, he could be at the end of his NBA career.

According to Sam Amico of, the Heat are apparently one of a number of teams looking into the prospect of a deal for Smith, with the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs mentioned as potential trade partners for the Cavaliers.
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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.