When LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decided to head for South Beach back in July, the most under-reported aspect of their Decision was the money they passed up in doing so.
But it’s one thing to shave a bit of salary off the top of your check when you’re in the prime of your career. It’s another altogether to be a 32-year-old in his 13th season who gives back a season’s worth of wages for the chance to compete again. Kudos to you, Mike Bibby. You’re on the verge of making the Miami Heat a little easier to stomach.
The point guard who was traded from Atlanta to Washington on Feb. 23 reportedly agreed to give back his entire $6.2 million salary for the 2011-12 campaign on Monday. And as I first reported on Monday afternoon, a source with knowledge of Bibby’s plans said he intends to sign with Miami after he clears waivers on Wednesday.
By all accounts, this is as transparent as it seems. Bibby doesn’t want to spend his NBA golden years mired in mediocrity. The 15-44 Wizards weren’t a great option for that goal. Most importantly, he’s willing to pay the steep price to end this inherent conflict.
Bibby, whose best days came with the Sacramento Kings during their hey-day in the late ’90s and early 2000s, never fit quite right with the Hawks. He had his moments and certainly enjoyed plenty of success, but the isolation-heavy offense under former coach Mike Woodson was a few galaxies removed from the Rick Adelman system under which Bibby flourished with the Kings.
The Heat are no stranger to excessive one-on-one play, either. But his skill-set should be a good fit. His well-known willingness to take big shots late will give defenders a reason to think twice about leaving him to help on the stars, and the track record in the clutch is simply something incumbent starter Mario Chalmers can’t offer at this juncture.
Ironically, Wade had high praise for Bibby after he was traded that can be used to shed light on his view at the moment.
“Mike Bibby was huge for (the Hawks), was big,” Wade told reporters. “Not having Mike Bibby, I don’t really know how their team will shake out.”
If their was respect among his peers before, it only grows with the bold move to forgo some serious cash in exchange for a chance at the championship he has never won. This Decision, as opposed to the one that came before courtesy of James, was hard not to admire.