Expansion Draft No Big Deal; Odom to Olympics?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

The Heat have reportedly left Brian Grant, Eddie Jones, and Loren Woods exposed to the Charlotte Bobcats for the expansion draft. Woods was likely to be released anyway and though the Bobcats could trade any player they pick up in the expansion draft, Grant and Jones are unlikely to be attractive to any of the 28 other teams either because they are each set to earn about $15 million a year over the next three years.

What this means is that the Miami Heat are one of the few teams for whom the expansion draft will likely have no effect whatsoever. Or, at the worst, the effect will not necessarily be a negative one.

If the Bobcats are somehow able to work out a deal with a third team to deal them Grant or Jones for another player or players and picks and/or cash, then the Heat will be getting nearly $15 million in a trade exception to use for one year. While it would be a shame to lose either starter, the resulting cap flexibility and trade exception could make the Heat suddenly a big player in the secondary market.

In the meantime, what this means is the Heat can focus all of their attention on their #19 overall draft pick in the first round. It will be no surprise when the Heat draft big. They have too many swing players right now and need a banger who can run the floor. While no consensus pick has emerged, the latest Hoopsworld mock drafthas Miami taking one of the following players: Al Jefferson, Peja Samardziski, Peter Ramos, or David Harrison.

Personally, I predict David Harrison, if he is still around at that point.

In other news, Lamar Odom may be asked to join teammate Dwyane Wade on Team USA in Athens.

You can sign up for special offers from the Heat by giving them your email address here.

You can also look up your seats with the Heat's new interactive seat finder. The link is off of their home page at

Minaxi Upadhyaya ofThe Miami Herald notes: The Miami City Ballet wanted ballet slippers. The Miami Heat asked for a regulation-size basketball. MTV wanted its iconic ``Moonman.'' Cindy Orlinsky delivered -- in chocolate... The regulation basketball she made for the Miami Heat took about 10 minutes to allow the liquid chocolate to take on a solid basketball shape. But it takes an average three minutes to do most pieces, Orlinsky said.

The Miami Herald notes: The Miami Heat is sponsoring summer basketball camps for boys and girls ages 7 to 15 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Camps include free lunch, quality instruction, personal attention, one coach to every nine players, guest speakers, individual camper evaluations, camp insurance, prizes, awards and fun surprises. Camp cost is $250 for one week and $220 for multiple weeks. For information, call 786-777-4113. The Miami Heat summer dancers camp is 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call 786-777-4109.


Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observer writes: Predictably, teams are dangling huge salaries at the Bobcats, even if that means losing a high-profile player. For instance, the Miami Heat has left Jones and Grant -- both former All-Stars -- available.But Jones and Grant each will have salaries of $14 million-plus each of the next two seasons. So the only way the Bobcats would select one is to move him on via trade.

Kevin Tatum ofThe Philadelphia Inquirerwrites: Wali Jones was back in Philadelphia, showing the same kind of energy that made him a crowd favorite when he was helping win games at Overbrook High School and Villanova, and as a professional with the 76ers. Now 62 and looking younger than his years, Jones returned to his hometown this weekend to take part in the second annual "Little" Bobby Jones Memorial Basketball Tournament... Now 16 years into a career with the Miami Heat as a scout, community-affairs liaison, and head of the team's after-school program, Jones organized the tournament along with his brother's son, Bobby "Blue" Jones, who attended the Friends Select School.

Jerry Brewer ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: USA Basketball expects to fill the final two spots of the Olympic roster with the Pistons' Richard Hamilton and the Miami Heat's Lamar Odom, reported.If Hamilton declines, the Web site said, USA Basketball is expected to select the Milwaukee Bucks' Michael Redd over the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic).