As expected, the Miami Heat exercised a team option to keep starting point guard Mario Chalmers for the 2013-14 season.
Team president Pat Riley announced the move on Wednesday. Chalmers will make $4 million this coming season, which will be his sixth with the Heat. Miami acquired Chalmers on the night of the 2008 NBA draft in a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who selected him with the 34th pick of the draft.
While Chalmers came off the bench in the first year of the Big Three era, he eventually played his way into the starting lineup thanks to his defensive energy, 3-point shooting, and willingness to rise to the moment when he is called upon to take a big shot.
Chalmers is a career 37 percent 3-point shooter, and his average from downtown has gone up in each of the past three seasons (topping out at 41 percent in 2012-13). Last season he averaged 8.6 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
After announcing the Chalmers option, Riley said the team will likely be quiet during free agency, telling The Miami Herald, "We are not going to rush into anything."
Riley did say that the team has met with free agent center Greg Oden, adding, "We will explore that. You have have to monitor that very closely."
The Heat are almost certain to be above the luxury tax threshold next season, when penalties become much steeper than in seasons past. Still, Riley said there has not been any discussion of waiving Mike Miller under the NBA's amnesty clause.
"We want to keep this team together," Riley said. "Mike is as healthy as he's ever been. He’s worked very hard on strengthening his back."
With James Jones and Rashard Lewis exercising player options to stay in Miami, and the team keeping Chalmers, only Chris "Birdman" Andersen, Juwan Howard, and Jarvis Varnado remain unsigned from the 2012-13 team.
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