Tag:Shane Battier
Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:41 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:49 pm
 

Linsanity meets LeBrontology in Heat win

LeBron James lead the Heat to a win over Jeremy Lin and the Knicks. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Magic and momentum can take you far in this world. Things happen in sports that defy logic and reason. They happen all the time in the NBA. The 8th seed Warriors with no discernible defense knocking off one of the best regular season teams of the decade in Dallas. The Nuggets toppling the Sonics in the 90's. Sundiata Gaines hitting a game winner. In football, Tim Tebow knocked off the Steelers. It only took injuries to half of Pittsburgh's team to pull it off. Sometimes the story is greater than the facts.

But eventually, there's science. Cold, hard, science.

On Thursday night, Linsanity got a cold dose of LeBrontology, as Miami downed New York 102-88.

It wasn't primarily James doing the damage, it was the Heat's suffocating team defense. It was Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier attacking Jeremy Lin's dribble, it was Wade, Chris Bosh, Chalmers, and Battier on offense. But James was the tip of the spear at both ends, and putting on another MVP performance in a big game setting with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals,, and 2 blocks. Want proof this game mattered to James? 40 minutes, before the All-Star break. He contained Lin, forced him into traps, and the Heat took away Lin's right, then took away his dribble, and always, always, always started the break with one of their athletic wings streaking in for the finish.

It was a blitzkrieg, it was a bum rush, it was a stampede by Miami, and the Knicks were left trampled underfoot.

By the end of the game any hope of Lin turning on one of the furious comebacks he's created this year fell by the wayside, instead the Knicks reverted to B.L. (Before Lin) thinking, with Carmelo Anthony isolating for contested jumpers, the rhythm destroyed for New York. It was an impressive win, but far from a blowout.

The Knicks had things going for them, and in reality, this game represents well where the two teams are. The Knicks are dangerous, now. When Anthony is slashing to the basket, when Amar'e Stoudemire is taking advantage of opportunities, when Tyson Chandler is a force at the rim, and on any other night when Lin is able to create scoring opportunities, the Knicks have what it takes to make a playoff run and run to the second round. That they were over-matched is not indicative of the degree of this team's flaws, less than a week in with this complete roster.

The fact that Miami slammed the door so emphatically in the second half is.

The Big 3 scored 67 points, the bench gave them 27. But it was their game plan that shows what this team can do when it's in gear. The formula is simple. Turn the opponent over, run, run, run it down their throat. Rinse, lather, repeat. There will come a time when the Heat offense again looks pathetic, stagnant, pedestrian. But the Knicks caught them at a time when they are at their very best. This Heat team smothers your possession, dissects your ball movement, then punishes you with their speed and athleticism. I call it the Flying Death Machine for a reason. That New York hung in says a lot about their talent level.

Lin was sloppy, running into defenders, desperate to try and create space, contained on the drive and deterred from his sweet spots. The Heat can talk all they want about not adjusting their game to their opponent, but this was a concerted effort to cut the Knicks' mythological head clean off. With Lin buried, the Knicks offense was fine, for a while, but eventually it caught up. That may be the most impressive piece of the Heat's performance. Amar'e Stoudemire hurt the Heat in the first half. They made him vanish in the second half. The perimeter shooting killed them throughout the game, but eventually the Heat started anticipating the passes. They gave up a lot of size inside, but the bigger the game became, the better Joel Anthony (5 blocks) played.

And there was James, at it all, running and swiping and cutting and shooting. The Knicks were within ten under two-minutes. Lin turnover. Outlet pass. LeBron James emphatic dunk. The end.

Lin will adjust and get better, the Knicks will be fine. But this game showed itself to be another example of what we already knew.

The Miami Heat play above the rim, and a step above everyone else in the NBA right now. They are faster, stronger, better right now. 

It's science.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:37 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 11:41 pm
 

Report Card: Lakers-Heat Grades



Grades from the Heat's 98-87 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night. 

LeBron James


Well, he was on 4-9 in the fourth quarter. But then, that didn't really matter, since he scored 31 points (but needed 27 shots), had 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. That's about as complete a game you're going to find in a game with this kind of pace. James had pretty much everything working. A teardrop, a hook shot, threes, mid-range, dunks, the works. His team needed him to step up with flu-like symptoms and he got it done. It's not the flu game, but it is very impressive.

Erik Spoelstra


Spoelstra managed a pretty magnificent stratagem against the Lakers. He doubled Kobe Bryant as aggressively as you can, daring the Lakers' perimeter shooters to hit shots from range. When they couldn't, the Lakers' offense fell apart. Bryant was forced into either deferring or poor shots. The Heat's defense was in fine form. They funneled the ball where they wanted and when it went where they didn't (Andrew Bynum), they hammered the Lakers and made them hit free throws. Masterful game by Spo.

Mario Chalmers


Didn't shoot well, but ran the offense effectively and was disruptive on defense. Chalmers made no boneheaded plays and wound up with six assists. He did what the point guard on this kind of team needs to do. His job, and nothing more.

Chris Bosh


Bosh was charged with a brutal task. Score against two of the best big men in the league and defend them when they have multiple inches and tons of weight on him. Yet Bosh was effective in deterring entry passes and being active on the weak side. He spaced the floor with 15 points and set the tone.

Pau Gasol

The lone bright spot, Gasol should have gotten the ball much more in this game. He had the mid-range and was aggressive driving. It was a vintage performance wasted by a terrible Lakers offense.


Kobe vs. LeBron


The record is 11-5 and James just beat him with flu-like symptoms (Bryant obviously dealing with a torn ligament in his wrist that is arguably much more severe). James has won five straight against No. 24. Those that feel regular season games are meaningless won't be affected by these games (or anything short of James winnning six rings). But if we're buying into head-to-head to any degree, James' dominance is clear.

Kobe Bryant


Some poor shot selection, which you expect. But a lot of shots he usually hits just weren't falling. He controlled his shooting, controlled his turnovers, and tried to get the Lakers back in the game. Bryant's biggest problem Thursday night was not being as good as LeBron James. And really, on a night like Thursday, how do you blame him for that?

The Lakers mystique


Note that James didn't have an A game, Bosh didn't have an A game, the Heat didn't have Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant scored 11 straight in the fourth.... and they lost by eleven. The Lakers can still win a title this season. But no one's scared of this team right now. The menace is gone.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:06 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 3:14 pm
 

5 Things to Watch: Lakers at Heat

The Heat need LeBron James, who is a gametime decision with flu-like symptoms, against the Lakers Thursday night in Miami. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore


The Heat and Lakers are probably the most recognizable teams in the league at this moment in time. Featuring a likely six All-Stars between them, it's a marquee matchup of the season. Even with Dwyane Wade out and LeBron James a gametime decision, all eyes will be on South Beach Thursday night to see if the Lakers can get past the wall they've recently hit against LeBron's teams, and if Kobe Bryant can continue what has been an incredible month for him. The Lakers need this game to avoid another loss to a playoff team, and their second loss in three games, while the Heat need a win to stave off a disastrous four losses in five games stretch. With that, here are 5 Things to Watch or Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers 2012, Round 1. 

1. A Sick Attitude: LeBron James isn't feeling well. And it's not even the Finals! (Hey-O!) James is a gametime decision against L.A. due to "flu-like symptoms" that he's been dealing with this past week. James was also not feeling great against the Spurs and missed several layups and jumpers in the first half. Then apparently he had a Hi-C juice box at the half because he came out and demolished the Spurs in the third quarter to help the Heat turn a double-digit deficit into a double-digit route. That's what he can do. The question will be if his condition has worsened and how he reacts to it. Thanks to Michael Jordan, expectations actually raise if you have the flu. So LeBron's under pressure not only to win, but to extra special while sick. With the compact schedule, there's little rest, so James could be far less than 100 percent Thursday night. Which pretty much dooms the Heat. This is not the Hawks.

2. Spreading the Wealth: Kobe Bryant has been ridiculous over the past week, Mavericks game aside. He's been on tear of scoring 40 per game which came to an end against the Mavericks, but they got the win anyway. He's also been shooting an insane amount. His usage rate, or percentage of possessions used, is at 39.7 percent. So basically 4 out of every 10 times the Lakers come down the floor, he's the one who winds up with a shot or turnover. Against Miami, he may want to get everyone else involved so the Heat's help rotation defense doesn't neutralize everyone else, leaving him to go it alone. Granted, Dwyane Wade being out opens up chances for him (Shane Battier remarked after practice today that he was going to get some Hail Mary's in before the game). But the Lakers can dominate the Heat inside. An efficient game from Bryant that uses Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum's advantage over a small Heat frontline to open up opportunities for Kobe could be the difference. That way Kobe gets the points, and the win.

3. The Inside Man: Well, I was worried about Andrew Bynum tearing the Heat apart, but Eddy Curry might play. The Heat are saved! But seriously, Bynum should be able to have his way with the smaller Joel Anthony and much smaller Chris Bosh. The Heat may even put Dexter Pittman on Bynum due to his size, but the youngster won't have the experience or muscle to hang with the wunderkind. If Bynum gets touches, the Lakers can play at their pace and rough up the Heat. Do that and you slow down the Heat's transition attack, their biggest asset.

4. Old Friends: Mike Brown knows LeBron James' tendencies as well as anyone in the league, having coached him for years in Cleveland. And setting aside whatever personal history exists between them, Brown will likely have his team prepared to combat James' effectiveness, flu or no flu. Whether it's goading him into his ineffective mid-range jumper, bringing help at the right time and position, or attacking one hand or another, Brown will have one of the best books on James you can have in this league, and he has a quality defensive roster and Metta World Peace to implement on him. Classic matchup: superstar power versus coaching stratagem.

5. Next Generation: Norris Cole and Darius Morris could have a lot to say about this game Thursday night. Cole provides a full-speed, no hesitation bucket creator for the Heat they desperately need coming off the bench. Morris provides an athletic point guard, which they haven't had in eons. Derek Fisher's savvy and Mario Chalmers' athleticism and improved shooting should cancel one another out, which means whichever guard can make the most of the attention drawn by their superstar big brothers will make a big swing in a game that features a lot of veterans in role positions. You hate for a game to come down to two rookies, but considering the matchups, whichever handles the pressure better could help their team to a monstrous win.

Your Plus-3 for the game:

- Don't be surprised to see Chris Bosh heavily involved in trying to draw out Pau Gasol, who has struggled with defense in space this season. Bosh has excelled at the pump fake and go, but if his jumper isn't falling, Gasol can pack the lane along with Bynum, keeping the Heat in mid-range jumper mode.

- The odds of a physical conflict in this game are pretty high. Between Udonis Haslem, Andrew Bynum, Bryant and Battier, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace and the rest of the Heat bench, this will likely not be a pretty game.

- Mike Miller hit his shots against the Spurs in his first game back. He better hope he hasn't used them all up. The Lakers will bring a lot of help and cheat inside on drives, which means Miller will have looks. If he knocks them down, that puts the Lakers' defense into disarray.
Posted on: December 23, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 3:03 pm
 

Battier questionable, Curry out against Dallas

Posted by Royce Young

The Heat will already be without center Eddy Curry for Sunday's opener in Dallas. OK, so that's not such a big deal, but Miami might be missing their big offseason signing as well.

Via Heat Index
, Shane Battier is questionable for Sunday's game because of a strained left thigh. Battier hasn't practiced much since signing with Miami, but did go through a 45-minute workout on Thursday and a conditioning session on Friday. The problem is, Battier told reporters he's yet to really test the leg out though.

"How about a strong maybe?" Battier told reporters when asked about his status. "I'm going to try to practice tomorrow and see how it goes. It's progressing well. But with an injury like this, you don't really know where you are until you're in the heat of battle and you have to react and change directions, cut hard and stop hard. You can't simulate that in shooting drills on the side."

Obviously no huge rush for Miami as the player in front of Battier, LeBron James, can probably kind of handle things on his own. Battier was more of a depth addition to help defend other premier scorers for stretches and give LeBron a break. And there's even the potential for Erik Spoelstra to get creative, moving LeBron to defend point guards, Dwyane Wade on the 2 and Battier defending the wing. Which is going to be awesome.

Curry on the other hand is out because of a strained hip flexor he suffered early in training camp. Curry is on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, but he's expected to make the final 15-man roster.

Battier wants to be 100 percent before joining his new team on the court, especially with the crammed 66-game season. There's no room for an injury to nag a player for an extended time.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:07 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 10:39 am
 

Shane Battier announces he will sign with Heat

By Matt Moore  

No "sources say." No "person close to the situation." Just a simple, direct message. Shane Battier announced where he'll be playing in 2011-2012 as a free agent on Twitter, in just one tweet. 

"Let's Go Heat!!!!!" , Battier tweeted Thursday morning, a good 28 hours before the official time teams can announce signings. Battier also said that it came down to a "winning role" for his decision. He then quoted Jimmy Buffet, officially making him the most non-NBA-player NBA player ever. 

SI.com reports Battier will make the full-taxpayer-MLE for Miami, a 3-year deal wtarting at $3 million which is a pretty nice price for Battier in this market, even at age 33. 

Battier fills a need for the Heat perfectly. A capable outside shooter with excellente defensive abilities, Battier can catch and shoot off the drive-and-kicks LeBron James and Dwyane Wade love so much, and can take the tougher defensive assignments, allowing James and Wade to focus on the offensive end and to roam for blocks and steals. He frees them up to improvise defensively instead of having to stick their assignments. Battier's a crafty veteran who has been apart of long winning stretches, helping the Rockets to a 22-game winning streak four years ago and the Grizzlies to a playoff run to the second round last season, including hitting the game-winner for their first ever franchise win.

Now he's taking his no-stats All-Star talent to South Beach. This is probably not what the owners had in mind when they set out to ensure competitive balance.
Posted on: September 20, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Year of the Grizzlies



By Matt Moore


To say that every franchise has "that year" that changes everything is just not true. Most franchises take time to develop, to blossom from fledgling to regular to up-and-comer to contender to powerhouse. There are titanic events that shape franchises, to be sure, almost always involving the NBA draft. The Spurs, for example, nabbed Tim Duncan to go along with a recovering David Robinson. That was a game-changer for them, literally. But the Spurs had been a playoff team for years, had been contenders in the ABA and NBA, a team that had developed over time. The Miami Heat had the 2006 year when everything came together, but they had also grown in legitimacy through the Alonzo Mourning era. 

But the Grizzlies?

The Grizzlies are having a year that could remake their franchise as a whole. Okay, maybe it's two years. 

It started with re-signing Rudy Gay in free agency for a max deal. The Grizzlies took a world of flak for the decision, since Gay wasn't considered a max player at the time, nor is he now. But it was a shift for the Grizzlies. It was a change in owner Michael Heisley's previous approach, in that it showed he was willing to spend, and spend heavy, in order to compete. Heisley had taken on water as being cheap since trading Pau Gasol (the last player he gave a significant contract to). There were questions of whether the young, talented roster the Grizzlies had been developing together since that Gasol trade would stay together. Heisley breaking out the wallet signified that if nothing else, Heisley was good to his word. He said he wanted to compete, and that if the team competed, he would spend. Re-signing Gay gave them the opportunity to do so.

Heisley followed that up with what I thought was one of the worst contracts in franchise history, and what turned out to be one of the shrewdest moves in frachise history by extending Mike Conley before he could enter restricted free agency. In doing so, not only did he continue to show he would spend to keep the core together, but he also got Conley for a good value relative to his ability, as the young point guard matured into a floor general and reliable playmaker.

When Gay went down in February, the team had already started to rise. That's what's forgotten in the talk that Gay's injury was the cause for the Grizzlies's surge. the Grizzlies had been playing better since January 1st, going 11-6 in January. They had started to gel before Gay's injury and had Gay stayed healthy, it's not like he was keeping a difference maker off the floor. His minutes were absorbed by second-year player Sam Young, who contributed on both ends of the floor, but wasn't in any way better for the overall team structure than Gay, offensively or defensively.

The Grizzlies made a deadline deal to acquire Shane Battier, dumping franchise dead weight and first-round bust Hasheem Thabeet and an additional pick. They nearly made another deal, but fitting the pattern of good fortune, their deal to trade O.J. Mayo to Josh McRoberts fell through. The result was Mayo sticking around and being a huge part of the Grizzlies' playoff run. At the time, though, it seemed more like the kind of thing the Grizzlies tend to screw up as a habit. 

Nonetheless, the Grizzlies then went on one of the best runs in franchise history, even if the numbers don't bear it out. Consider this. The Grizzlies went 9-5 in March. Not great, but good, right? Here's who they played in March of 2011: Spurs, Hornets, Mavericks, Thunder, Knicks, Heat, Clippers, Knicks, Pacers, Jazz, Celtics, Bulls, Spurs, Warriors. That's eleven playoff teams out of fourteen opponents, with the others the wacky Warriors, the Jazz, and Blake Griffin. To survive that schedule around .500 would have been an achievement. To romp through it with success was what put them over the top and into the playoffs, creating a buffer wide enough to hold off the surging Rockets for the eighth spot.

Then, despite tanking to play the four-time champion San Antonio Spurs coming off one of their best regular seasons in years, the Grizzlies pulled one of the most impressive upsets in NBA history, not only beating the top seed but looking impressive doing it. The first franchise playoff win came in their first playoff game of the season, on the road, on the back of a Shane Battier three.  The Grizzlies would go on to push the mighty and revered Thunder to seven games, proving that the young argonauts were mortal after all. Though the Grizzlies fell, it was in the most respectable manner possible, with the real turning point being a triple-overtime thriller that was decided mostly due to various Grizzlies stars fouling out and not having enough energy left for the rest of the series. 

So that's a pretty great year, right? Except things continue to get better. During the playoff run, Heisley also paid Zach Randolph. Keeping the All-Star of the team on the roster has its ups and downs, considering his later-contract-year money vs. age, but it also provides them with the consistency Randolph's shown for years in being a 20-10 guy, and now a team leader.

But most importantly, this lockout, while harmful towards the franchise's momentum in terms of fan support which has always been tepid in Memphis, could be the best thing of all. A revised CBA could allow for the Grizzlies to keep costs down, stabilizing the franchise's financials and eliminating one of the biggest disadvantages to their efforts, the market inequality that has kept them out of free agency conversations. A revised revenue sharing system would do wonders for the Grizzlies whose television deal pays them a fraction of the larger markets', and even the possibility of shortening the years on existing contracts could help with their long-term financials and flexibility.

There are drawbacks, of course. A hard cap implemented immediately would have devastating impacts on the Grizzlies considering the money they've already shelled out, much less the money necessary to re-sign restricted free agent Marc Gasol. But it's just as likely that a new system could come out favoring the Grizzlies' as much as any team in the league, from a financial and competitiveness standpoint.  

The final piece of the puzzle is Gasol. Re-signing one of the best young centers in the league, who has stated openly his desire to return to Memphis where he went to high school, cementing this core of players that genuinely enjoys playing with one another, could be the component that changes the Grizzlies from newly-respectable to consistent contender, at least for the playoffs. It gives the fans a reason to buy in, a group of players worth getting behind (as the elder Gasol's Grizzlies team never was), and could get owner Michael Heisley off the punchline lists around the league.

There is, naturally, the concern from fans and analysts of the extreme opposite, however. Once the Grizzlies finished their playoff run, my first thought was to wonder if this was similar to the Clippers' 2006 run. The Clippers made a strong showing in the playoffs, advancing to the second round and a close series with the run-and-gun Suns. But the year after, Elton Brand went down and everything tanked. The Clippers became the Clippers again. This is what seems to happen to franchises in the NBA. You're either "there" or you're not. Then again, we thought the latter about the Mavericks for decades until everything changed. Now look at them.

2010-2011 was a good year for the Grizzlies, a great year. 2011-2012 could wind up being the best yet. From ticket sales to on-court performance to the emergence of Gay as a superstar to being respected and feared as a contender, this could wind up being the point in time where the Grizzlies changed the course of franchise history, and forever altered the face of professional basketball in Memphis.  
Posted on: July 17, 2011 7:20 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 11:57 pm
 

Report: Miami Heat to pursue Shane Battier?

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.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 6:11 pm
 

Battier expects career to continue with contender

Posted by Matt Moore

Shane Battier made the biggest shot in Memphis Grizzlies history. That may not sound like much to you, but every serious sports franchise has to start somewhere.

The Grizzlies started, really started, with Battier's game-winning 3-pointer at the end of Game 1 in San Antonio vs. the Spurs. It was his out-of-nowhere three that led to the first playoff win in Grizzlies franchise history, and kick-started the process of the first playoff series win in Memphis history. Not bad for a guy not known for his offense.

Battier's a free agent, whenever this nasty lockout business is through. And the question will naturally arise if he'll be rejoining Memphis to make good on all the success of last year.

Don't count on it.

In a wide-ranging talk with the Houston Chronicle, Battier discussed his situation. He talked about how disappointed he was with Houston for trading him, how that team came within Yao Ming's injury of having a real shot, and about how the Grizzlies are set up for the future. But he also made it clear to the Chronicle that he expects to play for a contender next season. From the Chron: 
Battier expects to draw interest from contenders, which is one of the reasons the Rockets elected to trade him. Don't be surprised if the next time the Michigan native takes the court he is spotting up outside the 3-point line for the Chicago Bulls or taking charges for the Miami Heat.
via Solomon: Midseason trade still irks Ex-Rocket Battier | Jerome Solomon on Sports | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle.

Now, those are the author's suggestions filling in, not words from Battier. But he made it clear that he'll be chasing a championship in the twilight of his career. Memphis will be one of the better overall teams in the league, still relatively young and with loads of potential to make good on the promise set forth in 2011.

But they aren't real contenders. Whether it's because of their market, sub-star stars, their limited roster thanks to money devoted to the players who got them to this point, or just plain ol' history, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone, inside or outside Memphis, who thinks they are ready to chase a title.

Playoff run?

Sure.

Meaningful basketball?

Absolutely. But there's still some time before Memphis is "there."

And as long as that's the case, Shane Battier won't be.

Chicago's not a bad thought, though he doesn't bring enough offense to really help them. New York, much the same deal. Boston's a great fit, with the veteran atmosphere, its need for depth and his defensive presence. The Lakers would be sickening for Battier's fans to watch, but it makes a bit of sense if they did some restructuring. San Antonio's another great fit -- after all, he likes Texas and plays defense. Miami's a hard one to envision, but he could definitely be used to teach the team a thing or two about chemistry and to be the defender on the wing they need.

Wherever Battier goes, he'll bring with him success and an outspoken attitude that rarely vibes with the traditional NBA player mind.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com