The Florida Marlins are not the only team trying to add a big-name free agent this December. Pat Riley knows a thing or two about improbable deals, and the Heat president has reportedly set his sights on former Houston Rocket F Shane Battier.
Yahoo! Sports reported Sunday that Battier atop the Heat's wish list. The Heat are banking on Battier's desire to win a championship, since they will not be able to offer him more than most teams thanks to their already high team salary.
The NBA will allow teams to begin talking to free agents on Monday morning, but no deals can be inked until Friday.
Battier has spent his half his career in Memphis, with the other half in Houston. Miami must be salivating at the opportunity to add a defender of his caliber that can also hit open outside looks. Battier fits all the check-list items the Heat want in a rotation player: good three-point shooter, athletic, and relentless on the defensive end.
He even comes with the right chip on his shoulder, as his Memphis Grizzlies were defeated in the 2011 Western Conference Finals by the Dallas Mavericks.
According to Yahoo, the Oklahoma City Thunder, originally thought to be pursuing Battier, have backed off, giving the Heat an opening.
Besides the sweet nothings he is sure to hear from Pat Riley, Battier has been hearing please to play in Miami from members of the Heat for more than a year, according to Yahoo. He has earned $47 million over the course of his career, so there is at least a chance that he values a ring more than another payday.
The Heat will not be able to offer much more than the $5 million-a-year midlevel exemption, meaning he would have to take a pay cut to play in Miami.
If that does not work, the Heat are also considering making an offer to Portland C Greg Oden. Oden is a bigger risk than Battier thanks to his injury history, though. Battier may be older, but he is by far the surer thing as far as free agents are concerned.