17 September 2007

Rival Heat Make Offer to Charlie Bell

J.J. Redick has a broken hand.

That's the only Magic news that's come out since the death of Jameer Nelson's father two weeks ago. Given the dearth of Magic news, I'm forced to scan the internet for rumblings from the camps of our division rivals: the Hawks, Bobcats, Heat, and Wizards. Today, as Ira Winderman reports (thanks, TrueHoop), the Heat signed 28-year-old swingman Charlie Bell to a five-year, $18.5 million offer sheet. Because he is a restricted free-agent, the Milwaukee Bucks, the team for which he's played the last two seasons, have the right to match the Heat's offer and retain Bell.

The Bucks' Charlie Bell and the Magic's Hedo Turkoglu battle for a loose ball in a game from last season. Bell and Turkoglu will be seeing a lot of each other this season, as Bell will likely leave the Bucks to join Orlando's rival, the Miami Heat.
Photo by Darren Hauck, the Associated Press

It's hard to see why the Bucks would want to match the Heat's offer, given the contract's length Bell's explicit statement that he doesn't want to play in Milwaukee. So what does the Heat's acquisition of Bell mean for us? Charlie Bell is not a great player, but he's not a bad one, either. He'll exceed the departed Eddie Jones' scoring (9.5 points per game last season) and will probably soak up plenty of minutes at shooting guard. That means less playing time for Daequan Cook, the Heat's first-round draft choice this year; and for Penny Hardaway, whom we know well, the aging veteran with shaky knees attempting to make a comeback. I think it's safe to say that the Heat are better off when those two players aren't on the floor.

Will this move vault the Heat back into true title contention? Probably not, but it does bring them that much closer to catching Washington and -- ahem -- Orlando in the wide-open Southeast Division.

No comments: