2013 NBA trades: Heat send Dexter Pittman to Grizzlies

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The Heat freed a roster spot on Thursday by trading Pittman to Memphis.

The Miami Heat cleared a roster spot before Thursday's NBA trade deadline by sending backup center Dexter Pittman and their 2013 second-round draft pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez.

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Pittman, 23, was the 32nd overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. He played just 41 games in his two-plus seasons with the Heat, including just four games in 2012-13. He spent 15 games with the Sioux Falls SkyForce of the NBA D-League in 2012-13, averaging 12.4 points and 8.8 rebounds.

Sanchez, the 35th overall pick in the 2005 draft, will likely never play in the NBA, but league rules stipulate that teams must receive something, even draft rights to players overseas, when they make a trade. The real prize in the trade isn't Sanchez, but rather the open roster spot that dealing Pittman created. "In order to gain roster flexibility we had to trade someone," Heat president Pat Riley said.

Miami could use that roster spot to sign a free agent before the playoffs begin.

More in the NBA:

Magic trade J.J. Redick, 3 others at deadline

Josh Smith staying in Atlanta after all

Celtics make trade for backcourt help

NBA's best trade was made four months ago

Rudy Gay's ugly first game vs. Grizzlies

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