The Heat have signed rookie Shabazz Napier, Miami announced in a team release.
“Shabazz is a proven winner and one of the most mature college players that I have ever met,” said president Pat Riley. “Not only did he help lead UConn to two NCAA Championships, but he also knows exactly what he needs to do to make an impact at the NBA level. I believe the experience he had during the Summer League is going to payoff in leaps and bounds when training camp begins.”
Miami traded for Napier on draft night, moving up two spots to select the point guard. At the time, the deal was rumored to be influenced by LeBron James, who believed the UConn senior was the best point guard in the draft. The Heat had reportedly considered moving on from one or both of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole earlier this offseason, but Chalmers has re-signed and Cole’s contract is less in danger of being dealt for cap space since the team has executed their Plan B following James’ decision to return to Cleveland. It appears Napier will have to work to earn backcourt minutes for a team still angling to contend in the Eastern Conference.
Terms of the deal were unannounced, but it’s likely that Napier received 120% of the $1,032,200 rookie scale slot for the 24th pick. As Charlie Adams noted in the Hoops Rumors Prospect Profile for the Huskie guard, Napier will need to use his scoring abilities and quickness to offset some of the defensive limitations he will likely experience as a result of his 6’1″ size.