Shane Battier confirmed the inevitable on Thursday, that he would not be signing with the Memphis Grizzlies, for which he dedicated five-plus years of his NBA career. Battier announced via Twitter that he would sign with the Miami Heat.
"Over the last week, I played out every scenario in my head. It always came back to one thing: a winning role," he said on Twitter. "I am appreciative of all the kind word and recruiting pitches over the last week, thank you!!! ... Let's go Heat."
Hence, Battier shrugged off any sentiments he had for fans, teammates and others in Memphis to join a team that many fans love to hate. Grizzlies fans will sit and mourn the loss of the player who assisted each Grizzlies playoff team, one whose unbelievable three-pointer in Game 1 helped carry the Grizzlies past the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of last season's playoffs.
Feeling jilted, Grizzlies fans will treat the announcement with bitterness, considering that it was without any direct mention to the Grizzlies organization, its fans or the city of Memphis, all of which had proudly supported Battier for five seasons and 421 games.
Alas, the heartless business of the NBA.
Meanwhile, Battier joins a Miami Heat team that is a more sure thing to him to contend for an NBA title right now. Battier will play alongside the trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. That trio is more luminous than the Grizzlies trio of Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, however the Grizzlies faithful might spin it.
While the Grizzlies might contend for the NBA Finals in the next couple of years, the Heat are undoubted participants of the title conversation. The Heat fell in the NBA Finals last season to the Dallas Mavericks, but Wade, James and company aren't about to go away.
Also, money played a significant factor. The Miami Herald stated that Battier will likely sign for three years, $9 million. While it is uncertain what owner Michael Heisley and the Grizzlies were to offer Battier, the figure is likely less than that.
Heisley said the Grizzlies were very interested in signing Battier. He told The Commercial Appeal last week, "It's all preliminary right now. It'll ramp up over the next week."
However, Heisley told The Commercial Appeal in an interview this week that Battier looked interested in "an expensive contract." That wasn't very optimistic.
While Grizzlies fans might have liked Battier to stay and help one of the youngest teams in the NBA, he'll certainly have his fill in his role with the Heat. He'll bring a great deal of maturity to Miami. Battier could help Wade, James and Bosh play like adults after they had waltzed through the closing games of the NBA Finals last season.
The Grizzlies will face Battier and the Heat on April 6, but the Heat won't visit the Grizzlies in Memphis during this lockout-shortened season. Perhaps that's for the best as Grizzlies fans settle with their emotions regarding a player who had given the Grizzlies just about the best anyone could have given them.
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