Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 12/8/11
Shane Battier appears to be taking his shaved head, fist-pumping, timely treys and terribly effective hacking -- excuse me, defense -- to South Beach. He announced the news with a simple tweet "Let's Go Heat!!!!" He also referenced Jimmy Buffet's "Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season." We probably won't know the details of the contract any sooner than Dec. 9, when both sides can officially ink the deal. The Heat, however, are under the luxury tax threshold, so they could ostensibly offer Battier the new mid-level exception, which is a three-year deal valued at about 9 million. So Memphis' loss is Miami's gain, but I don't think Memphis loses much and I'm not 100,000 sure how much Miami gains. Here's what we know about the Heat: Mike Miller is hurt again and James Jones is a free agent. They were the two dudes that manned the backup roles for LeBronWade. Battier is an improvement. He's a far better defender than MillerJones. And, although he can't shoot as well as either (although Miller was slinging boulder-sized bricks at the basket last season), Battier shoots well when it counts. If LeBron or D-Wade swing the ball to an open Battier late in a tight game, everyone that knows anything expects Battier to knock it down. With a grueling 66-game schedule on deck for everyone in this accelerated season (back-to-backs, back-to-back-to-backs -- it's ugly), Miami coach Erik Spoelstra might try to keep LeBron and Wade's minutes down around 35game, if that's feasible. Battier helps there. Great defender, high IQ, very few mistakes, cool head -- BronWade might be able to rest with a modicum of peace of mind. But I'm looking forward to Miami going small. Bosh at center, LeBron at the 4, BattierWade toggling the 2 and 3 and whomever they get to run point. There is no greater mismatch in the NBA than when LeBron plays the 4 spot. At 6'9, 260-lbs, He's as big as Karl Malone was for about 23 of his career -- there isn't a power forward that will physically dominate LeBron in the post. But when he has the ball? Good god. And Miami's not done dealing, yet. It could get scarier, folks. Here's what we know about the Grizzlies: They traded for Battier after Rudy Gay went down for the season with a shoulder injury. He's back now, he's All-Star caliber and Memphis has about 70 left to pay him over the next four seasons. In some ways, Battier had to go. Plus, Tony Allen and Sam Young play the same gritty brand of ball as Battier. They take charges, dive for loose ball, "hustle, hustle, hustle, HARD" -- they're younger, more athletic iterations of what Battier does best. Because Allen looks like a vagrant, people dismiss him. But he brings a lot of the "intangibles" to the table as Battier. Many inside the Grizzlies organization said it was him -- more than any other player -- that had the most positive effect on the Grizz swag and culture. So, really, what exactly will Memphis miss without Battier? Nothing crippling. Put it like this: Memphis isn't losing as much as Miami is gaining. Here's what else we know about the Grizzlies: Perhaps the chief prize of this free agent class is Marc Gasol. Everybody wants the dude. Fortunately for Memphis, he's a restricted free agent and Memphis brass has repeatedly stated that they will match almost any offer to keep him. I believe them. That's their primary focus. If Gasol bolts, the Grizz go from budding contenders to a playoff bubble team.
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