Why Penny Hardaway To the Miami Heat Won't Happen

Michael PintoSenior Writer IJuly 16, 2010

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 21:  Anthony Johnson #8 of the Atlanta Hawks fouls Penny Hardaway #7 of the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on November 21,  2007 in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Recently it's been speculated that Penny Hardaway is the newest NBA veteran who's looking to latch on with the Miami Heat this summer in hopes of chasing a championship.

At 38-years-old and out of the league since 2007, the term "veteran" is used quite loosely in these contexts.

As good as Hardaway was in the early 1990s, he's been that bad ever since. Of course, injuries played a major role in that, but it's 2010 now.

The Penny Hardaway ship has long since sailed off into the sunset; at least from the fan and NBA front office perspective.

Hardaway seems to think differently, but he'll soon wake to a very harsh reality. Not only does he have no shot of signing with the Heat, he's not even on the team's radar.

When Miami re-signed Dwyane Wade and signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh earlier this month, the speculation was that the roster would have to be filled out with minimum-salary veterans from the used bin.

Since then, "Miami Thrice" signed for a combined $48 million less than the maximum contracts they could've gotten, leaving enough money leftover for the Heat to re-sign team captain Udonis Haslem and ink Washington Wizards three-point specialist Mike Miller.

The team has also agreed to terms with former Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Portland Trail Blazers power forward Juwan Howard. Those deals are expected to be announced later this week.

Miami is currently considered one of the favorites to land Orlando Magic defensive stopper Matt Barnes and has received interest from the likes of Tracy McGrady, Rasual Butler, Eddie House, Jason Williams, and Mike James.

With six players under contract already, two more to join them shortly, Heat reserve Joel Anthony expected to re-sign, and the team's three second round picks, Miami is already at the 12-player league minimum with three roster spots remaining.

A point guard will take one of those spots and a center like Kwame Brown or Jamaal Magloire will take another. That leaves one roster spot available—maybe two if one of Miami's draft picks are cut loose—for Barnes, McGrady, Butler, and House to fight over.

So where exactly does Hardaway fit into all of this?

He doesn't. It's not even close.

This is the same player who couldn't stick on the Heat roster during the miserable 15-67 season in 2007-08 that saw multiple NBA Development League players in the rotation throughout the year.

The only difference now is Hardaway is three years older and that much further out of the picture.