NBA Free Agents: Shane Battier Headed To The Miami Heat?

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 13: Shane Battier #31 of the Memphis Grizzlies calls a defensive play against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 13, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Shane Battier is a free agent after helping lead the Memphis Grizzlies to the NBA playoffs last season. The veteran defender will apparently sign with the Miami Heat once free agency officially opens on Friday afternoon.

Shane Battier may not be as good as he once was, but the unrestricted free agent showed last season that he's as good once as he ever was while helping lead the Memphis Grizzlies to the NBA playoffs. Although he's now 33, the Miami Heat have apparently decided that the former Duke Blue Devil is still capable of helping LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and friends push toward the playoffs once again.

Battier announced on Twitter prior to free agency opening that he was going to sign with the Heat, but considering deals can't officially be signed until Friday afternoon, anything could still technically happen.

Battier hasn't averaged more than 10 points per game since 2007 and hasn't made more than 45 percent of his field goal attempts since 2006, but his offense isn't what gets him noticed. In fact, the majority of the box score statistics aren't Battier's forte as he's been one of the poster children for basketball's advanced stats movement.

Offense isn't an issue for the Heat, however, which is why Battier makes a lot of sense in Miami. SB Nation's Tom Ziller noted in his post featuring the top NBA free agents that teams would be wise to pick him up Battier for spot-duty as a defender to stop his new teammates, but Miami can certainly use him in that same role

That Memphis had success with Battier in a limited role will surely raise a red flag with some teams, and spark a light bulb for others. Rivals to the Heat would be wise to consider Battier solely for LeBron-Wade duty; the same applies to teams concerned with Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant or Manu Ginobili. Heck, Rudy Gay himself can be a problem, one that Battier would help against. Whoever picks up Shane will do so with an eye toward the playoffs, where Battier could inject some life back into his reputation.

Battier will almost certainly be guaranteed a spot in the postseason with the Heat and, if he's able to stay healthy and pick his spots, he'll almost certainly help them advance when they get there.

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