MIAMI (AP) - The Miami Heat got the guard they wanted, and made LeBron James thrilled in the process.
The Heat acquired the draft rights to Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
Miami gave up the No. 26 and No. 55 picks in Thursday's draft for Napier, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been formally approved by the NBA. The person said the terms were also expected to include a future second-round selection.
Napier was taken at No. 24 by Charlotte, two slots before Miami drafted former North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston for the Hornets.
''My favorite player in the draft!'' James tweeted in reference to Napier.
And that's a very good sign for Miami's future.
''It's a perfect moment for my family,'' Napier said.
James has opted out of the last two years of his Heat contract and will become a free agent next week, but he's clearly a fan of Napier's game. During Connecticut's run to the NCAA title this spring, James tweeted, ''No way u take another PG in the lottery before Napier.''
Napier wasn't a lottery pick, but wound up on a team that clearly both wanted him and wanted to make James happy.
Napier averaged 13.7 points in his four seasons at Connecticut, going 12-1 in NCAA tournament games and winning two titles in his time with the Huskies. He averaged 18 points per game as a senior, and improved his outside shot in each of his final three college seasons.
Heat President Pat Riley indicated last week that he would prefer a seasoned player in this draft.
''Quite frankly, I wouldn't want to be in the lottery,'' Riley said. ''I really wouldn't want to be because it's a crap shoot. Now there's a couple guys every year that come out of the first round and they become great players. I'd much rather have a mature 25-, 26-, 27-year-old guy.''
Napier turns 23 in a couple weeks.
The draft is just the first step of what's going to be a busy couple of weeks for the Heat.
Free agency's epicenter this summer may as well be Miami, with James already a free agent, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh deciding if they will opt out as well, and several other players from this year's team also looking for new contracts either in Miami or otherwise. Wade and Bosh have not revealed if they will forgo their final two years on their existing Miami deals.
Chris Andersen, who has a $1.4 million option for next season, said Thursday night that he will wait until free agency begins to make any decisions. It has been long expected that he would not opt-in and instead seek a more lucrative deal.
''My plan is to wait until July 1st,'' Andersen said Thursday night at an appearance with hundreds of fans at Madisons NY in Boca Raton, Florida. ''Definitely got to see what's going on. I mean, it's a decision that has to be made. Just seeing what's going to happen July 1st.''

Top NBA Public Bets

Advertisement

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated NBA Championship Odds Now that the NBA All-Star Game has wrapped, which team is currently favored to win this year's championship?
Thumbnail Pelicans' own Davis hopes to lead West On the heels of a rather tepid Saturday in New Orleans, can the NBA’s marquee talents bring the Smoothie King Center to life this...
Thumbnail Thompson, Irving load up for downtown duel With Stephen Curry out of the mix this time around, a lot of people feel compelled to classify the 2017 3-point contest as a wide-open affair. Klay...
Thumbnail Magic phenom aims to dazzle New Orleans After narrowly losing to Zach LaVine 12 months ago, Aaron Gordon appears fully committed to winning the 2017 All-Star dunk contest. Will anyone else even put up...
Thumbnail A-listers hit hardcourt in New Orleans This weekend, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome belongs to the biggest names in hoops – for the most part. Various entertainers will hit the hardwood tonight,...

NBA Team Pages