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Either way, the No. 2 pick will be a nice piece to package with Dwyane Wade, presumably Shawn Marion (he doesn't really believe he'll get the $16M or $17M he's owed if he opts out, does he?), and solid power forward Udonis Haslem.

But when it comes to hypothesizing, Riley tends not to restrain himself, which is great for the media, and sets everybody up to draw conclusions from what may really be nothing more than fantasy conversations. Sure, Riley and general manager Randy Pfund will do what they can to help rookie coach Erik Spoelstra next season, but aren't they better off standing pat, so to speak?

Not necessarily.

Drafting an alleged "can't miss" player can end up being a misnomer compared to trading that first or second overall pick for a proven player.

A brief peek at history will tell us that. The Los Angeles Clippers made out big-time when they dealt the second pick overall in 2001 — high school 7-footer Tyson Chandler — to the Bulls for Elton Brand and Brian Skinner. Chandler never did pan out for the Bulls and was dumped to New Orleans, where he has finally developed into the top offensive rebounder in the NBA. Meanwhile, Brand quickly became an All-Star forward before tearing his Achilles' tendon last fall that cost him virtually all of this season.

Go back to 1980 and Red Auerbach pulled off perhaps the greatest coup in NBA history at the draft for the Boston Celtics. He dealt the first and 13th overall picks to the Golden State Warriors for the No. 3 pick overall and center Robert Parish. The Warriors took Joe Barry Carroll No. 1 and Rickey Brown at No. 13, while the Celtics chose Kevin McHale. By adding McHale and Parish to second-year forward Larry Bird, the Celtics had what is generally considered to be the best front line in the history of the NBA. Carroll was a chronic underachiever and Brown had five non-descript NBA seasons.

Riley has been there when trades have been considered, but conventional wisdom prevailed. When Riley was entering his second year as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson wanted them to deal the No. 1 overall pick in 1982 — ultimately James Worthy — to the Dallas Mavericks for his long-time buddy Mark Aguirre, who happened to be the No. 1 overall pick in 1981.

Needless to say, Riley watched Lakers president Jerry West make the right call by sticking with "Big Game" James.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers were on both sides of the coin, coming out with a great move in 1986 and then dealing away a key component to their championship-caliber team in 1990. In 1986, Cavs president Wayne Embry coaxed the Philadelphia 76ers into dealing the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for forward Roy Hinson and $800,000. He drafted Brad Daugherty, who quickly became an All-Star center. Strangely enough, the Sixers got that No. 1 pick by trading Kobe Bryant's father "Jelly Bean" Joe Bryant to the Clippers. The Cavs also got high-flying Ron Harper in that 1986 draft, and had a great group to make a championship run.

But they followed that up with a major blunder, again including the Clippers for the rights of the second overall pick of the 1989 draft, Danny Ferry. Actually, Ferry forced them into a deal when he refused to sign and went to Europe. So the Clippers dealt his rights to Cleveland for Harper, an All-Star caliber shooting guard just a tad below the Michael Jordan level at the time.

Cleveland had a misinformed concern about Harper's off-court activities and the deal was a total flop for the Cavs, who had a better overall team than the Bulls with Harper, and Ferry spent a career as a role player. Unfortunately, Harper suffered a near career-ending knee injury that changed his game, but it was certainly the right move for the Clippers and a terrible deal for the Cavs. Harper, despite losing his hops and quickness, still had a great career and was part of five championship teams with the Bulls and Lakers.

All of the draft uncertainty is why Riley isn't ruling out anything. Granted, this may be nothing more than an exercise of thinking out loud, which he is prone to do to test the waters.

Already there are conflicting reports what the Bulls are going to do at No. 1. Some say they'll take Rose, if only because dominant point guards have taken control of the NBA these days and Rose has the look of young Utah Jazz leader Deron Williams — with size, speed and scoring ability as a playmaker.

But the Bulls also have young Kirk Hinrich, who just signed a big contract, is a poison-pill player, and is nearly impossible to move at this point. Adding to the circumstance is Rose being a native Chicagoan.

Plus, the Bulls have also been dying for a player that can score in the post for years. Beasley, at 6-foot-9, is a natural scorer inside and out with a sweet left-handed touch. They could go either way and we'll probably be hearing just that over the next six weeks leading into the draft.

Of course, the Heat will look at parlaying that second pick. They're dying for a point guard and can use a big body as well. The Seattle Sonics have two point guards that are available — Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour — plus the fourth and 24th picks and four second-round picks. Would the Heat take Watson or Ridnour, the fourth and 24th picks for No. 2? There the Heat could get any number of outstanding players as well, from O.J. Mayo to Kevin Love to Eric Gordon or Jeryd Bayless.

And that's why Riley is open for business.

The Heat and Sonics have been talking for a long time and some variation of that deal wouldn't be shocking, with the Sonics happy with either Beasley or Rose to grow with their two All-Rookie first-teamers from this season, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

That's not to say the Heat will make that deal or any deal, but like Riley says, it's all worth considering. They need to do something after tying the franchise record for futility with a 15-67 record, so anything goes at this point.

In other words, it's time to dust off that cock-and-bull detector — the rumors, lies and half-truths are just beginning. The lying season has begun.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 23, 2008

News » Taking top talent in draft doesn't always work out 2008-05-23

Taking top talent in draft doesn't always work out 2008-05-23

Taking top talent in draft doesn't always work out 2008-05-23
With the NBA Draft lottery only a couple days old, it didn't take long for buzz out of South Beach from Miami Heat president Pat Riley.

Nobody likes to stir the pot more than Riles, and the steam is already rising.

The Heat have the second pick of the draft and will likely select one of the consensus top two picks — Memphis point guard Derrick Rose or Kansas State forward Michael Beasley — whomever the lottery-winning Chicago Bulls don't take.

NBA Draft's top 10


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