Shabazz Napier Traded: Will Miami Heat Sign Josh Richardson Next?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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]