MIAMI, Fla. — With the No. 27 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, the Miami Heat selected . . . nobody.
Instead of adding another guaranteed contract while already deep into the increasingly punitive NBA luxury tax, the Heat instead dealt the No. 27 pick they held by virtue of the NBA's fourth-best record to the Philadelphia 76ers.
In return, the Heat received a future first-round pick from the 76ers and the No. 45 pick held in Thursday's second round by the 76ers.
With the No. 27 pick, the 76ers selected Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie.
At No. 45, with the pick obtained from the 76ers, the Heat selected 7-foot Louisiana State junior forward Justin Hamilton, a player they may elect to stash in Europe.
The first-round pick obtained from the 76ers is lottery protected in 2013, 2014 and 2015, a factor which should be moot, with the 76ers expected to be back in the playoffs next season. Should the pick not come free in any of those years, the Heat would get a future pair of 76ers second-round picks.
Heat President Pat Riley said it all came down to future flexibility.
"We simply wanted to defer our pick and our asset to next year," he said, confident the pick will come available next June. "The players that we had on the board were not there at the time and we felt we had a great option, in being able to get a future first from Philly, that's lottery protected, but could be 10 picks higher than this year.
"We just felt with our roster that roster spots were very valuable."
Riley said the trade was not made with the luxury tax in mind, but rather because of future flexibility.
Hamilton, according to the NBA's Draft Guide, "Runs the floor well for a big man. Has good touch around the basket. Hard working and coachable. Good offensive rebounder. Solid-shot blocker."
Of Hamilton, Riley said, "A big body, 7-footer, that can go in the pipeline with our other bigs. . . We had him in for a workout and he had a great workout."
Riley compared Hamilton to former Heat center Michael Doleac, indicating he might be sent overseas for conditioning.
The Heat previously had dealt their 2012 own second-round pick to the Nets in the 2010 trade involving guard Chris Quinn.
In bypassing a selection at No. 27, the Heat avoided a two-year contract guarantee. Picks taken in the second round do not receive guaranteed contracts.
Among those available to the Heat, and bypassed, at No. 27 were Baylor forward Perry Jones, Michigan State forward Draymond Green, Vanderbilt forward Jeffrey Taylor, Baylor forward Quincy Miller, Kentucky guard Marquis Teague and Kentucky guard Doron Lamb.
The Heat's trade was announced at the end of the first round, after NBA Commissioner David Stern first had drawn a series of boos from the crowd at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., prior to initially announcing Moultrie as the Heat selection.
For the Heat, banking an extra first-round pick figures to help down the road, with a series of first-round picks dealt away in the 2010 sign-and-trade transactions that landed LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chris Bosh from the Toronto Raptors.
The Heat's first-round pick last year was dealt to Toronto to complete the Bosh transaction, with the Heat then having to trade back into the first round to select point guard Norris Cole at No. 28 out of Cleveland State.
Going forward, the Heat still owe the Cavaliers a pair of first-round picks, likely to be extended in 2013 and 2015, with each of those selections top-10 protected in the highly unlikely case the Heat fall back into the lottery.
The Cavaliers also had the right to swap first-round picks Thursday with the Heat, but, of course, bypassed the opportunity to move from No. 4 back to the Heat's initial No. 27 slot. In addition, the Cavaliers on Thursday received a second-round pick from the Heat that previously had been obtained from the New Orleans Hornets.
In recent years, the Heat have mined precious little from the draft, with Cole possibly to stand as the franchise's most successful pick since Dwyane Wade was selected No. 5 overall in 2003.
Since then there have been the middling first-round likes of Dorell Wright (No. 19 in 2004), Wayne Simien (No. 29 in 2005), Daequan Cook (who was acquired in a draft-night trade in 2007 for No. 20 pick Jason Smith) and Michael Beasley (No. 2 in 2008, who was dumped two years later to the Minnesota Timberwolves to open cap space).
The Heat did not exercise first-round picks in 2006, 2009 or 2010, which ultimately again proved to be the case Thursday.
As for the history of players selected at No. 27, where the Heat were to have selected, among recent success stories were current Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford in 2010, Memphis Grizzlies
forward Darrell Arthur in 2008, Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo in 2007, Toronto Raptors forward Linas Kleiza in 2005, Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins in 2003 and Utah Jazz guard Jamaal Tinsley in 2001.
Purdue forward JaJuan Johnson was last year's No. 27 selection, winding up with the Boston Celtics after a series of draft-night trades.
While the Heat won the 2012 championship on the strength of their veterans, there are several young faces already in the team's pipeline, including Cole, guard Terrel Harris and center Dexter Pittman, with the latter two potentially impending free agents.
Among the custodial work for the Heat in coming days will be deciding whether to guarantee Pittman's 2012-13 salary by Saturday's deadline and learning whether center Ronny Turiaf will invoke his 2012-13 player option by that deadline.
The Heat will regroup with their young players with a summer camp at AmericanAirlines Arena that is scheduled from July 7-13, in advance of the team's five-game summer-league schedule in Las Vegas that opens July 15.
Thursday's draft began with Stern mentioning the Heat's 2012 championship and then cupping his ear amid the ensuing boos.
Amid the draft, James tweeted, "While watching the Draft my son Bryce ask "Is Ray Allen gonna play for the Heat". I said "I don't know, I hope so".
Yes, free agency is next, starting Sunday.