Mike Bibby might just have found a way to the Eastern Conference finals. He couldn’t get there it as a Hawk, but from Chris Broussard of ESPN comes word that Bibby, last seen being grumpy over being traded to Washington, might take his talents …
To South Beach.
I mean, doesn’t everybody?
Broussard reports that Bibby has bought his way out of his remaining contract with the Wizards and has, in what is described as “a stunning move” agree to forfeit his $6.2 million salary for next season to become a free agent now. Writes Broussard:
Bibby is eager to sign with a title-contending team after clearing waivers, and sources say the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers are interested in him.
Bibby will clear waivers on Wednesday. While [agent David] Falk said Bibby has not made a decision yet about which team he will join, one source close to the situation said he’s headed to Miami.
For the record, such a move would not come as a complete surprise to Hawks management. When Bibby became a free agent in July 2009, it was believed in-house that he had two options: Re-sign with the Hawks for less money and remain a starter, or go elsewhere as a backup on a contending team. He chose to stay.
Last Wednesday he was shipped to Washington in the Kirk Hinrich deal, and it was clear he wasn’t thrilled about joining a loser. (He missed the team’s first practice, although he did play in two Wizard games. He scored a total of two points.) And now he’s on the market again, and if he lands with the Heat he mightn’t even have to be a backup. Writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
Bibby, 32, with his playmaking and shooting, would provide the Heat with an instant upgrade over current starting point guard Mario Chalmers, although he would not address the Heat’s lack of deference deterrence at the position.
(We Hawks-watchers pause here to snicker and say, “Got that right.”)
But seriously … Bibby in Miami could fill the same stylized role he did here: Handling the ball some, tossing it to a big-name wing and then stationing himself on the perimeter for a three-pointer. Here he played with one Joe Johnson, who’s very good. There he’d play with LeBron and Dwyane Wade, who are better still.
And if you’re wondering: As a Miami man, would the Bibster face his former mates in the playoffs? As it stands, no. The Hawks are fifth in the East, and the No. 5 seed would face No. 4 with the winner opposing the top seed, presumably, in Round 2. Boston leads the Heat by a half-game atop the conference. But if the Heat rise and the Hawks wind up fifth or even fourth … yeah, it could happen. And wouldn’t that be a hoot?
By Mark Bradley