NBA

Battier says he will sign with Heat

Shane Battier #31 of the Memphis Grizzlies
Shane Battier is entering his 10th NBA season.
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MIAMI (AP)

Shane Battier will be with the Miami Heat this season. Mario Chalmers is deciding if he'll be there with him.

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Saying he only wants ''a winning role'' at this point in his career, Battier announced Thursday morning that he would sign with the Eastern Conference champion Heat. Miami let him know as soon as the free-agency shopping window formally opened this week that he was the Heat's top signing priority - even though the team has some question marks at the point guard and center spots.

''Over the last week, I've played out every scenario in my head over and over,'' Battier wrote on Twitter. ''It always came back to one thing for me: a winning role.''

So the role Battier wants is clear. The role Chalmers wants is as well: He'd like to be Miami's starting point guard again, and said he will decide by Friday morning whether to re-sign with Miami or accept an offer elsewhere. If Chalmers signs with another club, Miami would have three days to match the offer because he is a restricted free agent.

''It's in their hands,'' said Chalmers, who wore Heat gear for his workout at the arena Thursday and averaged 11.8 points per game in last season's NBA finals. ''Let's see what they do.''

Heat forward Udonis Haslem sounded hopeful that Chalmers and the Heat can reach a deal.

''Championships are why we play this game,'' Haslem said. ''If he can come here and have an opportunity to win a championship and get somewhat close to the financial things that he's looking for, then I think it's a perfect situation for him. That'll be up to him.''

The Battier-to-Miami move is a Duke reunion of sorts. Heat CEO Nick Arison has a close relationship with Battier from their time together in college. Nick Arison, the son of Heat owner Micky Arison, was the Duke team manager when Battier played for the Blue Devils, including when Mike Krzyzewski's club won the 2001 national title.

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Battier wrote that the lockout gave him a lot of time ''to consider what was important to me at this stage of my life and career.'' Predictably, his decision was well-received by his soon-to-be teammates.

''Happy and excited to have u (a part) of the Heat,'' LeBron James wrote to Battier on Twitter.

The Heat are not expected to be able to comment on the Battier decision until Friday. No contracts can be formally signed until the new collective bargaining agreement is completed, a process that is now in its final stages. Battier - who almost certainly could have made more elsewhere - is expected to be at Miami's first training-camp practice, tentatively scheduled for Friday afternoon.

''Defensive mindset, defensive mentality,'' Haslem said. ''He's proven to be a winner.''

The Heat have monitored free agent center Eddy Curry for several months, even having him in for a workout last season before the lockout began, and are expected to at least give him as look in camp. Curry has been in only 10 NBA games since the start of the 2008-09 season, but Haslem recalls times when Curry was a matchup problem for Shaquille O'Neal.

''If we have an opportunity add a guy like that to our roster, it can only improve our chances,'' Haslem said.

NBA Development League guard Cameron Jones has also been invited to camp. Jones has been with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this season.

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Chalmers referred to Miami as ''home,'' said he would like to be back, and added that his motivation for this season is a return trip to the finals.

''I had a taste of it last year,'' Chalmers said. ''I want to go through it again and actually get a ring this time.''

For his career, Battier has averaged 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds. The 33-year-old is entering his 10th NBA season, having previously played for Memphis and Houston.

With Mike Miller sidelined while recovering from hernia surgery, and James Jones not necessarily assured of returning to Miami, the Heat wanted to add another veteran shooter who can extend defenses - and Battier seemed like the right fit. He's a 38 percent shooter from 3-point range for his career, and he had 27 games with multiple 3-pointers last season. Plus, he's still considered a strong defender.

''If he comes, he's more than welcome,'' Chalmers said. ''I'd like to see him be a part of the Heat organization. It's a good organization and I wish the best for him.''

Tagged: Heat, Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Eddy Curry, Shane Battier, James Jones, Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers

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