Shane Battier to sign with Heat in ‘winning role’
By TIM REYNOLDS AP Sports Writer December 8, 2011 10:59AM
Updated: December 8, 2011 12:19PM
MIAMI — Shane Battier said at this point in his career, he only wants “a winning role.”
He figures his best chance of that is with the Miami Heat.
Battier said Thursday morning that he would sign with the Eastern Conference champion Heat, the club that let him know as soon as the free-agency shopping window formally opened this week that he was their top signing priority — even though it has some question marks at the point guard and center spots.
It’s a Duke reunion of sorts; Heat CEO Nick Arison has a close relationship with Battier from their time together in college. Nick Arison, the son of Heat owner Micky Arison, was the Duke team manager when Battier played for the Blue Devils, including when Mike Krzyzewski’s club won the 2001 national title.
Battier wrote on Twitter early Thursday that the lockout gave him a lot of time “to consider what was important to me at this stage of my life and career.”
“Over the last week, I’ve played out every scenario in my head over and over,” he wrote. “It always came back to one thing for me: a winning role.”
The Heat are not expected to be able to comment on the Battier decision until Friday. No contracts can be formally signed until the new collective bargaining agreement is completed, a process that is now in its final stages. Battier is expected to be at Miami’s first training-camp practice, tentatively scheduled for Friday afternoon.
For his career, Battier has averaged 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds. The 33-year-old is entering his 10th NBA season, having previously played for Memphis and Houston.
With Mike Miller sidelined while recovering from hernia surgery, and James Jones not necessarily assured of returning to Miami, the Heat wanted to add another veteran shooter who can extend defenses — and Battier seemed like the right fit. He’s a 38 percent shooter from 3-point range for his career, and he had 27 games with multiple 3-pointers last season.
Battier wrote on Twitter that “after much deliberation, I would like to quote the great poet Jimmy Buffett and take my chances ‘Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season.’” He soon added: “Down ... In ... Miami.”
Battier said in recent days that he was also targeted by Memphis, Houston and Oklahoma City, among other clubs. He’s started 81 percent of his 767 NBA regular-season games, though with the wing slots in Miami being filled by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, he’ll almost certainly be moving toward a sixth-man role with the Heat.