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Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

Posted on: July 17, 2011 7:20 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 11:57 pm
The Miami Heat are reportedly interested in free agent forward Shane Battier. Posted by Ben Golliver. shane-battier

Last week, we noted a Houston Chronicle report that unrestricted free agent forward Shane Battier, who was traded by the Rockets to the Memphis Grizzlies before the trade deadline, is interested in hooking on with a contender.

On Sunday, the Miami Herald reports that the Miami Heat are interested in Battier, a hard-nosed, veteran perimeter defender.  
Regardless of whether James Jones re-signs (and there’s mutual interest), we hear forward Shane Battier will be very much on the Heat’s radar after the lockout. The Houston Chronicle, after interviewing Battier, said “don’t be surprised” if he signs with the Heat or Bulls.
At first glance, this seems like an imperfect match for three reasons. One: The Miami Heat already have Dwyane Wade and LeBron James playing heavy, heavy minutes on the wing. Two: Forward Mike Miller is under contract through 2014-2015. Three: The Heat have big holes to fill at the point guard position and the center position, and they don't have much financial wiggle room to address those issues.

If I'm Heat president Pat Riley or coach Erik Spoelstra, Battier is not my No. 1 target. But he would certainly be near the top of the list when it comes to back-up plans. 

Battier is a versatile, intense, tough defender who enjoys playing on that side of the ball. He embodies the culture that Spoelstra has tried to instill in Miami, one in which the offense flows from defensive effort. Battier is super intelligent, known to pour over scouting reports, and he would be a fit with Spoelstra's advanced stat-influenced approach as well. It goes without saying that Battier is unselfish on offense, not needing shots or touches to get his game going. He's a solid rebounder for his position and is a 38.5% three point shooter. All of those attributes fill a need for the Heat, who are building around the ball dominance of Wade and James. 

Further, Battier would relieve some of the regular season pressure on either Wade or James, able to defend top-level perimeter scorers for long stretches without help, something no one else on Miami's roster was capable of this year. At 32, Battier should be available on a relatively short year deal at a figure that fits inside Miami's mid-level exception. In other words, he wouldn't necessarily have to be Miami's major offseason signing if he's willing to take a discount to play for the odds-on favorite to win the 2012 NBA Finals.

Adding Battier would require some compromises. The biggest? James would need to be used in an unorthodox manner, either as a point guard in a big lineup or as a power forward with Chris Bosh sliding over to center. James showed the ability to play virtually any position last season but is playing him outside his usual position ideal? That's an open question.

Other issues: There's no room for Wade, James, Battier, Miller and Jones. At least one -- probably Jones -- will need to move on. In Miller, the Heat have far more questions than answers. Given his tough injury history and down year this season, it shouldn't come as a surprise if Miami is looking to shore up its depth on the wings.

Ultimately, I would expect the Heat to spend its available money addressing the center position first, if at all possible. Should the top candidates sign for more than the mid-level or elsewhere, there aren't many point guards worthy of a big pay day. And that's where the interest in Battier comes from.

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 5:16 am

Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

I find it humorous that we're talking roster moves when we don't even know what the new CBA will look like.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: July 17, 2011 10:46 pm

Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

Shane was thought by Houston to be declining and thus traded him to Memphis. Shane played sparingly in Memphis and does not have the elite abilities he once had. His PER has declined each year to be 10.7 in Memphis (15 is an average player). Yes, I see him signing for the minimum in Miami and taking a bench role (in disagreement with the author here) to spell LeBron for 10 minutes per game. James Jones is a much better shooter (Battier shot .333 in Memphis) but not as good a defender.

This is not to say I dislike Shane Battier. In his prime he was among the elite in the league in defense. The year he teamed with Ron Artest was exceptional for Houston. But he will be 33 this year and no longer the elite athlete he once was. Should the NBA be locked out the whole year Shane may be one of the casualties that has played his last game.

As for the new CBA, it will require sacrifices from most teams. With a hard cap, the exceptions are meaningless. If over the cap a team will have to cut a player. Perhaps there will be an easing into the cap so the first year or two teams over the cap cannot add but do not have to cut. In any case rookies are essential to a hard cap management. Keeping players as veterans requires much more effort than churning the roster (see the ratio of NFL clubs 1-4 year players are disproportionate.

Since: Jul 11, 2011
Posted on: July 17, 2011 10:13 pm

Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

shane battier may go overseas with the rest of the nba

Since: May 6, 2009
Posted on: July 17, 2011 10:05 pm

Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

Are they gonna sign him to vet minimum as well?

Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2011 9:41 pm

Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

If the Grizzlies get Gasol back and make a play on the market this year, why wouldn't Battier re-sign?  He's already ON a contender!

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: July 17, 2011 8:29 pm

Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

Battier will be a great pickup for whoever gets him. I don't see him though signing a contract for less money to play for the Heat since he should get really good offers from other contenders. So then the issue becomes, how does Miami pay for him and other pieces with the big three (or as I like to call them- 2 and a half men) taking up so much salary? At the same time Miami really does need to improve in the post and at PG: that is where any available money needs to go. So I suspect Heat will make an offer but they will get outbid and Battier will end up somewhere else.

Since: Jul 4, 2011
Posted on: July 17, 2011 7:48 pm

Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

Is this article kind of pointless?  The financial realities of the NBA in 2011 could be vastly different.  Good luck getting a decent center or any depth on the bench with those huge salaries and a hard cap in place. They should hope they can get someone like Battier to agree to less money, but I wouldn't count on it.  Bibby gave up something like 6 million dollars to play for the heat last year, and look how that turned out.  If 2011 passes with no season, wade will be 30 in 2012 and beginning his decline (an aging 6'4" guard who finishes over people and has a suspect jump shot...)  So when are the seven rings going to come?  The good news?  With the lockout, the heat should have plenty of time to plan their 2nd annual July pre-championship celebration...

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