When Shane Battier's contract expires following this season, the Miami Heat will need to be on the lookout for a savvy wing player. The 35-year-old announced Friday (via B/R's Ethan Skolnick) that, barring an "act of God," the 2013-14 season will be his final NBA campaign.
Battier's shooting has dipped this season after a hot 2012-13 that helped the Heat bring home their second straight title. After posting a 43 percent clip from long range last season, he's posting just a 33 percent mark this year, and only 20 percent (10-of-50) over his last 20 games. He's averaged just 16 minutes per contest in the month of March.
Battier mentioned the topic of retirement before the season to USA Today's Alex Kennedy:
I think I have one more year. My contract is up next year, and I'll reassess where I am, but we'll see. It's a good possibility, a good possibility. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, and everything in this league is negotiable, but at that point I'll be 36 and it may be time to do something else.
The news comes as a disappointment to not only Miami, but likely a number of other clubs who'd have pursued his talents on a cheap deal this summer.
Battier worked as an analyst for ESPN last summer during the NBA Draft, and it wouldn't be crazy to suspect him winding up in front of the camera fairly often once the retirement papers are filed.
You'd be hard-pressed to find an NBA player quite as well-versed as Battier. Exhibit A:
He's not quite as valuable to Miami as he was during its last two title runs, but the veteran still delivers the locker room voice and gritty determination often found somewhere on a championship depth chart. Miami will likely find a more viable threat from the arc, but it'll be difficult to replicate Battier's presence off the floor.
Could a Miami three-peat be the "act of God" Battier refers to? Or maybe an offer to reunite with his former Memphis Grizzlies or Houston Rockets? Unlikely, though crazier NBA circumstances certainly have gone down.
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