Multiple sources claim that the Miami Heat has decided to trade Shabazz Napier to the Orlando Magic.
According to ESPN, the Orlando Magic agreed to give a “heavily protected 2016 second-round draft pick” in exchange for the 24-year-old point guard.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 26, 2015
This type of trade offer might seem surprising to many fans and critics – especially since Shabazz was one of the most highly-anticipated new additions to the Heat roster after the 2014 NBA Draft. Pat Riley, the team’s president, even expressed his interest in securing Napier for the team – especially since the young man also had LeBron James’ approval.
“I know LeBron tweeted something out in the NCAA about him. Why not? If LeBron and I have the same taste in talent, so be it. But he didn’t call me on the phone, or he didn’t make a point to me about it.”
However, Napier’s rookie season with the three-time championship team did not go as well as many people thought it would. Napier only averaged 5.1 points and 2.5 assists in the 51 games that he played wearing a Miami Heat jersey last season.
He also spent some quality time playing in the D-League during his first season as well in addition to experiencing a season-ending hernia surgery in March.
Shabazz Napier was so bad that Miami gave him up for a protected second round pick a year after drafting him 24th — Mark Evans (@JrMarkyMark) July 26, 2015
Shabazz Napier is beyond garbage and is becoming the cruelest thing LeBron did to me
— Matt Bosarge (@mattbosarge03) January 22, 2015
Why did the Miami Heat decide to turn over a first-year player that still has a lot of potential for success in the NBA? Multiple reports are focusing on the business side of the trade with Orlando Magic.
By getting rid of Shabazz Napier, the Miami Heat are reportedly able to save $4.5 million in luxury taxes and salary.
The move also makes it possible for the Miami Heat to offer Josh Richardson, a currently unsigned player, a multi-year contract.
Josh Richardson was introduced to HEAT Nation following the 2015 NBA Draft. Get to know him a little better. http://t.co/S5kA19UDdw
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) July 26, 2015
The Sun Sentinel reports that Josh Richardson, who was a second-round draft pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, had some time to play in the point guard position for the Miami Heat during the summer league.
Even though an official decision has not been confirmed yet, quite a few Miami Heat fans and critics strongly believe that the Napier trade is a clear sign of a Richardson signing.
Josh Richardson is already vastly better than Napier. Wish him luck though.
— Supreme Kai (@Supr3meKai) July 26, 2015
Good thing about trading Napier is there is now room for Josh Richardson…now Miami just gotta trade Chalmers lol
— Hohenheim of Light (@Ac3_B00gie) July 26, 2015
When comparing Josh Richardson to Shabazz Napier! Richardson is bigger, a better shooter, better defender, & can play mutiple positions!
— mario wright (@Briccyardlilyo) July 26, 2015
Having Josh Richardson’s versatility and overall athleticism featured in the Miami Heat spotlight could actually play out very well for the team.
With deadlines approaching and a new season just months away, it will be very interesting to see what Pat Riley and the Miami Heat decide to do next.
[Image Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images]