Continuing to bolster their rebuilt core around the margins, the Miami Heat and free-agent guard Shannon Brown agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million contract Wednesday.
Priority Sports, Brown's agency, announced the move on its Twitter account, and USA Today's Sam Amick provided the details:
Brown, 28, spent most of last season as a free agent after being released by the Washington Wizards. He did not link up with a team until February, signing four different 10-day contracts with the Spurs and Knicks before finishing out the campaign in New York. The high-flier averaged 2.2 points and 1.0 rebounds per game while shooting 36.4 percent from the floor.
The Knicks waived Brown in July, choosing not to pick up their second-year option on his contract. His signing comes as a bit of a surprise given the relative lack of interest Brown had received on the open market since his release.
The Heat are nevertheless a natural fit, as Pat Riley has been looking to bolster his wing depth. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported earlier this week that Riley and Co. had expressed interest in Chris Douglas-Roberts, Leandro Barbosa, Jordan Crawford and Jordan Hamilton. Douglas-Roberts and Hamilton, the latter of whom signed with Toronto, both worked out for the team in Miami.
Prior to signing Brown, the Heat had no one on their depth chart listed behind Dwyane Wade at shooting guard. With Wade a near-guarantee to miss 10 or more games next season, that was obviously a less than ideal situation. Brown is nowhere near an adequate replacement for a healthy Wade in the event of an injury, but there is some hope his lost 2013-14 campaign was a fluke.
An elite athlete with some interesting off-the-bounce creation skills, Brown averaged 10.7 points per game during his two seasons with Phoenix as a part-time starter and sixth man. He excelled in the Suns' uptempo system and even flashed an improved outside shot in 2011-12 before descending back to earth a year later.
In five games with the Knicks' NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas, Brown averaged 7.4 points per game and seemed to relish in getting back on the floor.
"I thought coming to summer league would give me a chance to get back in the groove a little bit of actually playing basketball," Brown told Bleacher Report's Josh Martin.
The Heat are unlikely to be finished adding pieces, even with Brown in the fold. Their roster desperately needs help in the defensive middle, and they might look into another wing player for further Wade insurance. The development of 2013 second-round pick James Ennis will probably play a large factor in how Riley chooses to move forward. Ennis signed a three-year deal this summer, but it comes with only $200,000 in guarantees.
In the first year of the post-LeBron era, the Heat remain an interesting team in general. Faced with the prospect of blowing up the franchise, Riley shifted gears and chose to tread water. Signing the likes of Luol Deng, Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts should help keep them well inside the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Should Brown come to South Beach and perform at Phoenix levels, he'll do nothing but help the cause. If next season proves a repeat of the last, Miami's wing depth will start looking awfully shaky.
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