Today members of the Miami Heat got a late-season reminder of the cruelties of this business when they had to say goodbye to a friend. Pat Riley announced this afternoon that the team had released former starting point guard Carlos Arroyo. Since he was released before the 11:59pm Tuesday deadline, Arroyo is now free to sign with any team and be eligible for their playoff roster.
This move was made to make room on the roster for Mike Bibby, who received a buyout from the Washington Wizards. He was only a member of the Wiz for a few days after being traded to them from the Atlanta Hawks during last weeks trade deadline. The Heat will become the 5th team that Bibby has played for, previously with Washington, Atlanta and Sacramento after being drafted 2nd overall by the old Vancouver Grizzlies in 1998.
While Miami is going to miss Arroyo, who had been a bit of a locker room favorite amongst the new-look Heat, they are getting a definite upgrade at the position. Bibby can shoot the ball well and is having a pretty good year doing just that, hitting 43.5% from the floor and 44.1% from beyond the arc. The 3-point shooting is well above his career average of 37.9%. Only once has he finished a season shooting 40% or better from downtown, and that was back in 2002-03 with Sacramento (40.9%).
He is also a good ball handler and has shown throughout his career that he knows how to run an offense. He also has a reputation as a leader, both on the court and off, and that could provide the Heat some offensive direction, depending on how he is used. While on the Hawks he wasn't always on the court down the stretch of games, and those are the times when Miami's offense could use someone directing traffic.
The Heat are at their best when running the court, and that is an area that Bibby has shown to be very good at in the past. The one area that isn't likely to see much of an upgrade is on defense. Miami has had a hard time all season defending the better point guards out there. I do think that Bibby is better defensively then Mario Chalmers, and his experience and familiarity with other point guards around the league not only benefit him, but assuming he will mentor Rio, it will help him along as well.
There should be no question about Mike Bibby's commitment to winning. Most players will get bought out in the final year of their contract, usually in a situation where they can move on to a team late in the season and have a chance at winning. Bibby, however, still had a whole year left on his contract, and is essentially giving up the $6.2 million he would've been due next season.
The other ‘big-name' player the Heat were looking into, Troy Murphy, is apparently going to sign with Boston. I imagine the Celtics went after him pretty aggressively after trading away Kendrick Perkins at the deadline. Even though they missed out on Murphy, there are still a couple options out there that Miami may be looking into.
Center Eddie Curry was bought out by the Minnesota Timberwolves after being shipped over as part of the Carmelo mega-deal, and could be on the Heat's radar. He is currently working out in Chicago with Dwyane Wade's trainer Tim Grover and has made it clear that he would love to join Wade down here in Miami. A couple other buyout recipients linked to the Heat are forwards Leon Powe and Corey Brewer.
I'll leave you with some audio of the Big 3 from after Monday's practice, touching on the release of Carlos Arroyo and the pending addition of Mike Bibby.
Chris Bosh- Bibby's adjustments should be minimal
Chris Bosh- Bibby's experince in big games is critical
LeBron James- Arroyo will be missed
LeBron James- Bibby brings much big game experience
LeBron James- Bibby can be a huge addtion for us
LeBron James- How offense will change under Bibby
LeBron James- With Bibby here I won't have to play the point
Dwyane Wade- Bibby sacrificed much to be here
Dwyane Wade- Bibby's availability surprised me