Opa? He was worth trading away a second-round draft pick and a dowry of $1.5 million, but the Heat have put pick no. 41 Patrick Beverley on a plane to Greece to play out the 2009-10 season with European powerhouse Olympiakos.
"It was just a move we all felt was in the best interest of Patrick and the team,'' his agent Kevin Bradbury said. "It's an opportunity for Patrick to get a chance to really focus on playing point guard at a high level. We expect him to come back to the Heat next season ready to contribute.''
The move is surprising, in that it leaves only Mario Chalmers and seldom-used reserve Chris Quinn at guard. Several weeks ago, Pat Riley was adamant that he wouldn't bring anyone in to start over Chalmers; the Beverley move indicates a veteran backup acquisition is in the works.
Who could it be? Let the rumormongering begin! The Heat have been linked this offseason to Allen Iverson, Jamal Tinsley, and Flip Murray, but so far it's been all words and no play. Several decent free agents are floating around, including Luther Head, Bobby Jackson, Brevin Knight, Tyronn Lue, and Damon Jones
The Heat's other draft pick, Memphis' Robert Dozier, signed a contract to play in Greece with Colossus Rhodes earlier this summer. Considered a long shot to contribute anytime soon, Dozier was in more obvious need of a year honing his skills than Beverley. The Heat still retain NBA rights to both.
Meanwhile, we feel sorry for neither one. Glittering water, blindingly white resort towns, meat on a stick? Adio!