Miami's two newest shooters. (Photos via Miami Heat on Instagram)
We've known for five days that free-agent shooting guard Ray Allen was going to leave the Boston Celtics to join the Miami Heat, and we learned Tuesday that free-agent forward Rashard Lewis was coming along, too. But Pat Riley and company had to wait until the end of the NBA's moratorium on player movement to officially slot 'em into the Miami roster. On Wednesday afternoon, the open secret was revealed.
The defending champions introduced their two newest acquisitions — and former Seattle SuperSonics teammates — at a news conference Wednesday, adding two players who've made a combined 4,837 regular- and postseason 3-pointers to a roster that tied for ninth in the NBA in 3-point accuracy a season ago (35.9 percent from long range) but attempted the league's eighth-fewest number of long balls per game (15.6), according to Hoopdata's shot location statistics.
Allen signed for the Heat's mini-mid-level exception, which starts at $3.1 million this year and will total $9.5 million over the course of his three-year deal. Lewis signed a two-year deal for the $1.35 million veteran's minimum — he'll also reportedly receive more than $13 million in a buyout agreement with the New Orleans Hornets, who sent Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards in a flexibility-seeking trade for Lewis' contract last month — and holds a player option for the '13-14 season.
During his introduction, Lewis referenced Miami's game plan in adding shooters, which has the potential to make opposing coaches toss and turn next season:
''You've got to double-team LeBron. You have to double-team Dwyane Wade. You've got to double-team Chris Bosh. And then you think they're going to leave Ray Allen open?'' Lewis said [...]. ''They've got to leave somebody open. So I have to go [shoot] a million jumpers tonight and be ready to knock them down. Somebody's got to be open.''
Allen's proficiency from beyond the arc — especially from the right wing and left corner — should work wonders for Miami's offensive spacing, which at times could become stagnant. His accuracy on catch-and-shoot jumpers and coming off screens seems to add even more variety and firepower to a Heat offense that finished eighth in the NBA in offensive efficiency a season ago. And while Lewis had a rough, injury-limited couple of years, as Heat.com's Couper Moorhead points out, he's shown in the past a strong stroke from the short corners, too.
The champs' additions weren't the only moves announced in the late morning and mid-day Wednesday. Hit the jump for a run through some more.
That many years at that much annual money for an about-to-be-30-year-old swingman whose game is heavily predicated on athleticism and throwing himself headlong into things had us raising our eyebrows when Wallace decided to opt out of his $9.5 million deal for the upcoming season, but if he can stay healthy — never the surest bet with ol' Crash, who has yet to play a full season in his 11-year NBA career — the Nets will hope he can provide the kind of boundless energy, hectoring wing defense and opportunistic transition offense that made him a favorite in Charlotte and Portland.
• The Nets have also reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth the veteran's minimum of $1.35 million with the immortal Jerry Stackhouse, adding the 17-year veteran to the their still-emerging bench. Stackhouse, who'll be 38 in November, played in a total of 96 NBA games over the past four years. including 30 appearances with the Atlanta Hawks last season, averaging 3.6 points in 9.1 minutes per game for Larry Drew's squad.
Stackhouse told Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida on Wednesday that joining with the Nets came about as a result of his relationship with Nets coach Avery Johnson, who coached Stack with the Dallas Mavericks from 2004 to 2008. As a matter of fact, Stackhouse said, he was looking for some sideline tips himself:
"I just reached out more to Avery about coaching, the next phase of my career, and to pick his brain about that [...] He was great. He said to look at this as an opportunity to still play and to broaden my base for coaching.''
Stackhouse, who won't predict yet this will be his final season as a player, said he will be like another assistant coach for the Nets.
"I'm the modern-day Bill Russell," Stackhouse cracked about the legendary center who was Boston's head coach from 1966-69 while still a player.
I think we all knew Jerry Stackhouse would one day compare himself to Bill Russell. I'm just glad we were all here to witness it.
• The Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets completed the sign-and-trade deal that will send sharpshooting stretch forward Ryan Anderson to the Big Easy and Mexican big man Gustavo Ayon, who turned some heads with his strong play as a rookie for New Orleans last season, over to the Magic Kingdom.
Anderson, this past season's winner of the (often bogus) Most Improved Player award, will get a four-year, $36 million contract extension to ply his trade next to Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and (maybe, possibly) Eric Gordon in a revamped Hornets attack that, on paper, seems like it's going to be awful fun to watch, even if it won't really stop much of anybody and probably won't win too many games for a couple of years. After three years of profiling as a per-minute stud on the rise, Anderson made 61 starts next to Dwight Howard and made 'em count, averaging 18 points and 8.6 rebounds per 36 minutes of run and hitting 39.3 percent of his 3-pointers for the second straight year. How he fits next to No. 1 overall pick Davis — a rim protector by skill set but a relatively wispy four by body type, and certainly not equipped to bang with fives at this stage — remains to be seen, but he can shoot and he can rebound. Considering hardly anybody on New Orleans could do either last year, that's a nice deal for Dell Demps.
As for Ayon — who came over to the NBA last season after spending five years playing in Mexico, Venezuela and Spain — there's a really good chance hardly any of you saw him, because hardly anybody watched the Hornets last year. If and when Dwight skips town, Ayon won't make anyone forget him, but he's something you can work with. Really. An active offensive rebounder, a strong screen-setter who's shown some flashes as a diver in the pick-and-roll game, an energetic defender and an all-around hard worker. Not flashy, not excellent in any one area, but one of the few bright spots on a pretty dismal Hornets squad. Considering the Magic were unlikely to match a contract offer for restricted free agent Anderson anyway amid all the Dwight-related roiling, pulling Ayon in the bargain's a whole lot better than nothing.
• The Houston Rockets have officially completed their recent trade sending point guard Kyle Lowry to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a future lottery pick and Gary Forbes. KD wasn't too sure what the heck Daryl Morey was doing when news of this broke last Thursday; as of this Wednesday, it still remains sort of unclear, especially if (as expected) the New York Knicks match the Rockets' offer sheet on point guard Jeremy Lin and Houston's unable to get Orlando to send Howard to Texas. Meanwhile, Toronto's got a tough little point guard with whom to fall in love. Neat!
• The Knicks will reportedly make an offer to Argentinian point guard Pablo Prigioni, who is 35 years old, has played professionally in Europe since 1998, and would give Jason Kidd another old point guard to pal around with, so that's nice.
According to a translation of a recent interview with a Spanish radio station, Claudio Villanueva, Prigioni's agent — whom we are not so sure is the most unbiased observer of these sorts of things — said he believes that "if Pablo gets to play 20 minutes [per game] in the NBA, he'll give 12 assists per game. With his eyes closed and walking backwards." According to The Painted Area's Mark Haubner, ShamSports.com's Mark Deeks and EuroStep's Savaş Birdal — whom we do think are pretty sound and unbiased observers of the European/international game — this one doesn't make a whole lot of sense for either Prigioni or the Knicks.
And then you remember that New York gave most of its point guard minutes to Mike Bibby, Baron Davis and Toney Douglas last year, and you go, "Oh, yes. All of the point guards from anywhere else, please."
• The Knicks also signed free-agent swingman James White — better known to dunk-video-devouring masses as Flight White — on Wednesday. Terms of his deal were not disclosed, though it's believed to cover just one season.
After brief cups of coffee with the San Antonio Spurs and Rockets in 2007-08 and '08-09, respectively, White struck out for Europe, plying his trade for the past two years in Italy's top league, Serie A.
Mostly, we just know he can do this:
... which seems fun. If he can do some defending off the bench in addition to all that jumping, Knicks fans'll love him forever, especially if those undisclosed terms wind up being a minimum-salary deal.
• One I missed Wednesday morning: The Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to terms to bring 23-year-old Russian guard Alexey Shved over from European powerhouse CSKA Moscow. The Wolves are saying the 6-foot-6 Shved is a combo guard who can play all three wing positions, a playmaker with size and creativity who can slot into a backcourt rotation that features Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour.
Writing at Minny blog A Wolf Among Wolves, Danny Chau sings Shved's praises, lauding his "dynamite athleticism," strong shooting performance in the Euroleague, "his ability to run the pick and roll" and his experience playing off the ball, all of which will be on display for the Russian national team in the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Considering how little the Wolves have gotten from the off-guard position in recent years, that's got to be music to Minnesotans' ears.
Speaking of which, this is the Replacements. More Moving Day news as it unfolds.
- Sports & Recreation
- Rashard Lewis
- Miami Heat
- Jerry Stackhouse
- Jerry Stackhouse
- New Orleans Hornets
- New Orleans Hornets
- Ryan Anderson
- Gustavo Ayon
- Ray Allen
- Boston Celtics