When the Miami Heat traded up a couple spots in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft on Thursday night to select former Connecticut standout Shabazz Napier, many around the basketball world paused for a second.
Did Miami acquire Napier in order to appease soon-to-be free agent LeBron James?
James had previously indicated that no point guard should go ahead of Napier in the draft. It goes without saying that Miami needs to find an upgrade over Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, but this had Pat Riley attempting to lure James back to South Beach written all over it.
If anything, it caught James’ attention, as he did take time to send out a tweet indicating just how much he loves Napier. Unfortunately for fans in Miami, a late first-round pick likely isn’t going to play a major role in James’ decision-making process. In addition to that, he’s not a player personnel guy. A total of 25 selections came and went before Miami traded up to acquire Napier. What makes us think James knows more about NBA draft evaluation than front offices around the league?
By appeasing James and picking up a decent young prospect, Miami showed its hand. Pat Riley and Co. are willing to do whatever it takes to keep James in a Heat uniform. Maybe they should just go ahead and give him a stake in the franchise and a role as assistant general manager.
There is a reason why organizations separate responsibilities. Players are there to help field a winning product while remaining solid representations of the franchise. Coaches are there to help players unite as a team in order to be successful and create a winning strategy. The front office is there to bring in the players necessary to compete. Once that line is blurred, major issues can arise.
Photo: Huffington Post