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Shane Battier Taking Miami to Next Level
Posted By Alex Kennedy On December 26, 2011 @ 12:30 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Shane Battier didn’t have the typical free agency experience.
Rather than face-to-face meetings over lavish meals, the condensed offseason forced the ten-year veteran to negotiate with potential suitors over the phone and then rush to a decision. Battier ultimately signed with the Miami HEAT for the NBA’s new mini mid-level exception, turning away teams like the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs.
“It was anxiety-filled,” Battier told HOOPSWORLD. “I had to process a lot of information and figure out the best scenario for my family and myself in a very short period of time. It wasn’t champagne and caviar like most free agency periods are.”
While the process was hectic, the 33-year-old is happy with the end result. Battier wanted to be a significant contributor on a contending team, which is why Miami is the perfect situation for him.
“I wanted to come to a place where I could play a winning role,” Battier said. “At this point in my career, I want to enjoy my every day journey. I want to enjoy coming to the gym every day and when you’re winning a lot of games, it’s easier to do. And I wanted to play a role. I wanted to have a chance to impact the game every night.”
Not only will Battier make a difference on the court, he can also provide leadership and be a positive locker room presence. Throughout his career, Battier has often been credited for changing a team’s culture and creating a winning atmosphere.
Last year, the Memphis Grizzlies acquired Battier prior to the trade deadline and he helped them win their first playoff series in franchise history. Executives and coaches around the league praise him and he’ll be an excellent fit in Miami, where it’s championship or bust.
“The first thing I need to do is earn the respect of the guys on this team. Once I do that and they realize what I’m about, I think I can add another veteran perspective. You can never have too many guys who have been through the fire during their career. Hopefully, I can add something positive to the group,” Battier said.
During last season’s postseason run, Battier spent a considerable amount of time watching the HEAT and he liked what he saw. There aren’t many cores better than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and he feels the team will only continue to improve as they continue to get on the same page.
“Obviously, their talent is off the charts,” Battier said. “They don’t have too many weaknesses. I guess offensive rebounding would probably be the biggest weakness, but with another year under their belts, I think the chemistry will be improved. That’s good for me and it’s definitely good for us.”
After Battier decided to sign with the HEAT, people immediately questioned what his role would be and how he would be able to play alongside James and Wade. While Battier only played four minutes in Miami’s season opener due to a strained muscle in his left thigh, he’s not worried about his role going forward.
“We have a very versatile team,” Battier said. “I can play the two, three and four. LeBron can play the one, two, three, four and five. We have a bunch of guys who can play multiple positions. Throughout the season, we’ll be able to throw out some very interesting combinations that really make the other team adjust.”
But does Miami have what it takes to win a championship this season?
“I think we have a shot to win if we play our game,” Battier said with a smile. “If we come out, compete and play hard, we’ll have a shot to win.”
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