Miami Heat: Grading The Courtney Lee, Brian Roberts Trade

Jan 21, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) looks to pass as he is defended by Charlotte Hornets guard Brian Roberts (22) during the first half of the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) looks to pass as he is defended by Charlotte Hornets guard Brian Roberts (22) during the first half of the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /

Here are some NBA trade grades for the Miami Heat after trading away Chris Andersen and a pair of second round draft picks for Brian Roberts.

In a three-team deal revolving around Courtney Lee, the Miami Heat parted with Chris Andersen and two future second round draft picks. Andersen and the picks — one of which is heavily protected — will be sent to the Memphis Grizzlies, who are also receiving P.J. Hairston from the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hornets net Lee, while the Heat add backup point guard Brian Roberts from the end of Charlotte’s rotation. The deal was first reported by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

After such a convoluted trade, it’s easy to get all those moving pieces mixed up. But for Heat supporters, here’s all you need to know: The Birdman and a pair of future second round draft picks are gone, and in their place is Brian Roberts. The question is, how should fans feel about the deal?

On the surface, this seems like a bit of a nothing trade. Though Andersen became something of a fan favorite over the last three and a half seasons in South Beach (particularly when he shot 80.7 percent from the field during Miami’s playoff run to a second consecutive title in 2013), the sad truth is that he’s become virtually useless for the Heat.

The Birdman has only played seven games this season, averaging 1.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 5.1 minutes per game. He’s made 40 percent of his shots and is currently dealing with a knee injury, so moving what’s left of his $5 million salary will help the Heat tremendously with their luxury tax bill:

Roberts is a relative unknown for casual NBA fans, but this 30-year-old backup provides some relief and depth to Miami’s backcourt. No offense to Beno Udrih, but he’s been an uninspiring understudy for the injured Tyler Johnson when Goran Dragic needs a breather, averaging 4.8 points and 2.7 assists in 16.3 minutes per game.

Now, Roberts’ season averages of 4.8 points and 1.3 assists per game may seem even worse than what Udrih is providing now, but keep in mind that Roberts has been buried in Charlotte’s rotation behind a career year from Kemba Walker and the best season Jeremy Lin‘s had since Insanity swept over New York.

Roberts is only averaging 11.1 minutes per game this year, and we should note that it was only two seasons ago that he averaged 9.4 points and 3.3 assists per game for the injury-stricken New Orleans Pelicans. Roberts started 42 games that season and shot 36 percent from three-point range as well.

He gives full effort on defense and in an expanded role in Miami, he should spread the floor better than the midrange king Udrih — provided Roberts is able to prove himself to Erik Spoelstra upon his arrival, of course.

However, aside from the luxury tax savings and sneakily helpful addition of Brian Roberts, we have to take some points off for Pat Riley‘s continued “draft picks be damned” approach.

To be fair, the Heat are all in on the next couple of seasons and have little use for draft picks. They lucked into Justise Winslow this year, but with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh being as old and injury-prone as they are, Miami’s clock is ticking.

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Second round draft picks are often seen as little more than bargaining chips. Sometimes you’ll get lucky enough to find a diamond in the rough like Manu Ginobili or Draymond Green in the second round, but more likely than not, you’re going to strike out.

However, the Heat already owe the Philadelphia 76ers their 2016 first-rounder; the Boston Celtics their 2016 second-rounder; the Atlanta Hawks their 2017 second-rounder; the Phoenix Suns their 2018 first-rounder (top-seven protected, unprotected in 2019); the Minnesota Timberwolves their 2019 second-rounder; the Celtics their 2020 second-rounder; and the Suns their 2021 first-rounder (unprotected).

One of the second-rounders Miami shipped out to Memphis is heavily protected, but Riley is really leaving the cupboard bare for the future years, at which point he’ll likely be gone.

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Ultimately though, two second-rounders is worth cutting back on the luxury tax bill by nearly $6 million, especially since Roberts helps now without adding long-term salary as a free agent this summer. If the Heat can make another deal or two to get under the luxury tax before Thursday and this summer’s spending spree, we might look back on this deal as something of a coup.

Grade: B