The Miami Heat’s roster for next season will be built in the coming days and weeks. It all begins this week with the NBA draft.

The first round of the draft will be held Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, ABC and ESPN) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Heat holds the 15th overall pick in the first round of this year’s two-round draft, as that selection is expected to come between 9:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday with five minutes between picks in the first round.

The Heat is then set to make another pick Thursday in the second round of the draft (4 p.m., ESPN), which will be held on its own day for the first time in NBA history at ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in New York. The Heat holds the 43rd overall pick in the second round, as that selection is expected to come between 4:50 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. on Thursday with four minutes now between picks in the second round instead of the usual two minutes.

Following the draft, most contract options around the NBA need to be decided by Saturday, and free agency opens around the league on Sunday. The Heat then opens summer league action on July 6 in San Francisco before taking part in Las Vegas Summer League in mid-July.

Teams were allowed to begin negotiating with their own free agents on June 18 — the first day following the last game of the NBA Finals — but the NBA Draft will represent the first opportunity for teams to add outside talent to their rosters.

The first question the Heat will need to answer is whether it will take advantage of its first-round pick to add a cost-friendly player on a rookie-scale contract on Wednesday or instead use its first-round selection as an attractive trade chip to acquire win-now talent.

It’s important to note, though, the Heat is not allowed to trade this year’s first-round pick prior to the draft because NBA rules prevent teams from being without first-round selections in any two consecutive future years. The Heat already owes a lottery-protected 2025 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But the Heat is permitted to select a player at No. 15 on behalf of another team as part of a trade that’s agreed to before or during the draft, but is announced and finalized after the draft. The Heat is also allowed to trade the No. 15 pick to move up or move down in this year’s first round because it would simply be replacing its current first-round selection with another first-round pick.

If the Heat makes the No. 15 pick and keeps the player, he’s slotted to make as much as $4.2 million this upcoming season. For perspective on how valuable that contract can be if the Heat comes away with a rotation player at No. 15: Only the Heat’s last two first-round picks (Jaime Jaquez Jr. at $3.7 million and Nikola Jovic at $2.5 million) are on cheaper salaries among the players on Miami’s roster currently locked into guaranteed contracts for next season.

During the past few years, the No. 15 pick in the NBA Draft has produced mixed results. The past 10 players who have been taken at No. 15 are Kobe Bufkin in 2023, Mark Williams in 2022, Corey Kispert in 2021, Cole Anthony in 2020, Sekou Doumbouya in 2019, Troy Brown Jr. in 2018, Justin Jackson in 2017, Juancho Hernangomez in 2016, Kelly Oubre Jr. in 2015 and Adreian Payne in 2014.

Among the prospects projected to be drafted in the Heat’s range in the first round are UCLA center Adem Bona, Pittsburgh guard Carlton Carrington, Providence guard Devin Carter, Southern Cal guard Isaiah Collier, French forward Pacome Dadiet, Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham, Virginia wing Ryan Dunn, Purdue center Zach Edey, Duke center Kyle Filipowski, Kansas wing Johnny Furphy, Miami wing Kyshawn George, G League Ignite wing Ron Holland, Dayton center/forward DaRon Holmes II, Swedish wing Bobi Klintman, Marquette guard Tyler Kolek, Duke guard Jared McCain, Baylor center Yves Missi, Serbian guard Nikola Topic, French forward Tidjane Salaun, Creighton wing Baylor Scheierman, Illinois wing Terrence Shannon Jr., G League Ignite forward Tyler Smith, California wing Jaylon Tyson, Baylor wing Ja’Kobe Walter and Indiana center Kel’el Ware.

“What I try to do is we start off with original tiers of how we rank players,” Heat vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager Adam Simon said when asked about the team’s pre-draft prep process. ”For example, we’re picking No. 15. So a tier of players we think, in our estimation, might not get to 15. So we study them as thoroughly as we do everyone else. But we say, all right, here’s a line of players who might not get to us. Then you get to your tier and you have a group of players there. Then you have another tier you think will be available in the second round and then players who might not get drafted.”

“We study all of them in different ways to prepare for potentially moving up, potentially picking where we are, getting ready for the second round and preparing for players who don’t get drafted.”

In other words, the Heat prepares for all possible draft scenarios.

“As we study and get into our deep dives, potentially we move players up, we move players down and we do our final tier,” Simon said. “Then once we have our tiers, then you can start having your internal discussions on what it would take to potentially move up to the next tier. You go through all the scenarios.”

While NBA rules limit how many first-round picks teams are eligible to trade, there are no such restrictions on dealing second-round selections. In fact, buying and selling second-round picks has become commonplace.

But the new Collective Bargaining Agreement imposes a restriction that’s expected to diminish how many second-round selections are moved this year and beyond. Starting this season, any team that purchases a second-round selection becomes hard-capped at the second apron for the entirety of that upcoming season because any team that sends out cash in a deal faces that limitation under the new CBA.

With the Heat already so close to the second apron with its current roster, this rule makes it less likely that Miami will buy an additional second-round pick. It also makes it less likely that the Heat will sell its second-round pick for cash.

“You have to prepare for all of the different parts,” Simon continued, “all the players in the draft and then also you prepare for players who might not get drafted.”

The Heat has had success picking in the first round lately, selecting Jaquez with the No. 18 pick in 2023, Jovic with the No. 27 pick in 2022, Tyler Herro with the No. 13 pick in 2019 and Bam Adebayo with the No. 14 pick in 2017.

Among the recent players who the Heat selected or traded for in the second round are KZ Okpala in 2019 and Josh Richardson in 2015.

And the list of undrafted players who the Heat has signed and developed in recent seasons includes Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, Haywood Highsmith, Caleb Martin and Kendrick Nunn.

The Heat enters this year’s draft with two picks. But Miami’s front office is prepared for all the different scenarios that may come their way on draft night.

“They’re our tiers,” Simon said of the Heat’s draft board. “It’s not a mock draft that you see online or that people are talking about on different networks or whatever. You’re just making your decision on how you put a value on what you would do to move up or move down.”

Heat draft watch party

With a concert at Kaseya Center on the night of the first round of the draft, the Heat is hosting an an off-site NBA Draft party at Vivo! Plaza at Dolphin Mall on Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

“The free event will be hosted in the Plaza’s outdoor venue and will include immersive activities, special giveaways, a pop-up Heat Store, and exclusive photo opportunities,” the Heat said in a press release.

There is no Heat draft party scheduled for the second round of the draft on Thursday.


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