Shabazz Napier First Piece In Preserving The King’s Empire?

Shabazz Napier
Brad Penner USA TODAY Sports

It’s good to be king.

LeBron James let it be known he is not happy with the way the Heat Empire has been lorded over in recent months, and just like that Miami pulled off one of the biggest coups of draft night in the first of several presumed moves aimed at eradicating the problem and catering to the four-time league MVP.

James wanted Shabazz Napier and Pat Riley made sure to find a way to get him, shipping P.J. Hairston and a second-round draft pick to Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets for the rights to the man who led UConn to a national title and even more improbably made an indelible impression on the back-to-back NBA champion in doing so.

“My favorite player in the draft,” James tweeted after the Heat heeded his words and altered their draft status. “Appreciate that, looking forward to this new chapter.”

And just like that, all again seems well in Heat Nation, or at the very least finally looks like it could be again. Ask yourself if the Heat were so willing to cater to James’ every whim where even an unproven, yet to play a single-NBA-second rookie is concerned, how far might they be willing to go to appease him via free agency acquisitions or any other sort of wheeling and dealing?

At precisely the same time he officially announced he planned to opt out of the final two-years of his now expired pact, James also let it be known he will need to see “upgrades” at virtually every position in order to be swayed back to South Beach. And somehow, someway, you just know the Heat and Riley will find a way to close the deal with at least one of the primary players they have zeroed in on in summer free agency.

That would be Carmelo Anthony, the league’s No. 2 overall scorer this season behind MVP Kevin Durant, and the ever versatile Kyle Lowry, the dynamo, the Raptors dynamo, combo guard who averaged 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals in shockingly leading Toronto to the No. 3 overall seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

In short, both own the type of polished skill set the Heat could have desperately used in defense of the NBA crown the San Antonio Spurs easily wrestled away from them in a 4-1 Finals dismantling.

And they’ll almost certainly be more maneuvers made, more overtures extended, as the Heat are also in desperate need of more size, muscle and rebounding, all apparent needs of the team and direct demands James wants catered to.

The King threw down the gauntlet, now Riley is committed to doing all he can to save the empire.


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