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NBA

Heat targeting Shabazz Napier in hopes of swaying LeBron

06/25/2014 at 1:55 pm By

hi-res-e57b740e3e1deb6418df2d48ce54d263_crop_northLeBron James will be a free agent this summer, and apparently the Miami Heat are attempting to draft his favorite point guard prospect as their first attempt to convince him to re-sign.

According to Chad Ford, the Heat are aggressively trying to move up in the draft to select former UConn guard Shabazz Napier:

Both James and the Heat are fans of Napier.

James tweeted during the NCAA title game in April: “No way u take a PG in the lottery before Napier.”

Heat president Pat Riley also is fond of Napier. Riley likes four-year players who can come in and contribute right away.

Right after the NBA Finals, Riley flew out to work out Napier, a Heat source told ESPN.com. After the workout, the Heat tried to convince the former Huskies star to stop his workouts so that he’d fall to the Heat with pick No. 26.

Napier also appears to be an immediate upgrade over Mario Chalmers, who Miami is almost certain to let walk in free agency. No way a player of Napier’s caliber falls to the 26th pick of the draft, so Miami will have to do some wheeling and dealing in hopes of landing a higher pick to grab him. The problem is, Miami doesn’t have many assets to pull off such a deal, as Norris Cole and little-used center Justin Hamilton are the only player Miami currently has under guaranteed contracts.

The Heat may have to broker their future and trade away some pick in upcoming drafts if they want to move into the teens to select Napier and cross their fingers that LeBron is on board.

-ALR

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