The Miami Heat made a small move before Thursday's trade deadline that clears roster space for another potential move before the end of the regular season. The team traded center Dexter Pittman to the Memphis Grizzlies for the rights to forward Ricky Sanchez, who is currently playing in the Argentinian league for Libertad de Sunchales.
Pittman was selected by the Heat in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. He has appeared in just 41 games over two-plus seasons in Miami. He averaged 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, and is currently playing with the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA Development League.
The Heat had the option to extend a qualifying offer to Pittman after the season, but Miami wished to free up his spot on the 15-man roster now. Miami could use the space to pick up a free agent big man in the coming weeks. A number of players often get placed on waivers after the trade deadline. The Heat picked up Mike Bibby in 2011 in that manner.
The Heat will also send cash and a second-round pick in the 2013 draft to Memphis. Sanchez, who was drafted by Memphis in the second round of the 2005 draft by Portland, is a 6'11" power forward and native of Puerto Rico. In 28 games for Libertad de Sunchales this season, he is averaging 12.2 points per game on 42 percent shooting to go with 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
"I want to thank Dexter for his hard work and professional attitude," team President Pat Riley told Heat.com. "Unfortunately, in order to gain roster flexibility we had to trade someone. We wish him nothing but the best."
The Heat have been tinkering with backup centers all season, adding free agents Chris "Birdman" Andersen and Jarvis Varnado in January. Looking to improve on rebounding and interior defense, the trade of Pittman suggests Riley is not done scouring the bargain bin for big men.