Face it sports fans, even though LeBron James’ “Decision” was made well over a week ago, all related stories about the Miami Heat will continue to flow faster than obscenities out of Mel Gibson’s mouth.
The latest story is surrounding Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and the fact that he’s expressed interest in joining LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.
Upon hearing this tidbit of news, two thoughts immediately came to mind:
- Well, DUH – who wouldn’t want to join these three superstars in Miami?
- Wait, Penny Hardaway is still playing in the NBA?
The answer to the second question is, “No, actually.”
Hardaway hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2007-08 season. That’s when he managed to get into 16 games for – you guessed it, the Miami Heat.
In fact, Hardaway has only played in 57 total games dating back to the beginning of the 2004-05 NBA season.
Not only that, but Penny hasn’t been relevant since 2001-02. That year, he averaged 12.0 points per game playing for the Phoenix Suns.
Hardaway also hasn’t been of superstar status since his 1996-97 campaign with the Orlando Magic. He averaged 20.5 points per game that season.
Throughout the ‘90’s in Orlando, Penny was a part of a talented team that once made the NBA Finals in 1995 and featured players such as Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott, among others.
Now, he wants to return to Miami to play for the Heat – in what many can only assess as being a desperate attempt to finally wear a ring and hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Players itch for something like this all the time. It’s common. But winning a championship in this manner? It’s beyond watered down.
“Desperate” is the word that comes to mind.
Seriously, does a guy like Adam Morrison go around bragging about the fact that he’s wearing two rings? Any sports fan in their right mind knows his butt is likely molded into the shape of the bench that he sat on all season long in Los Angeles.
As for the Heat, it’s safe to say that Pat Riley and company are doing some “penny pinching”. It’s clear considering the three major contracts already in place.
But that doesn’t mean they would want to be doing any “Penny pinching”.
Miami has a number of other affordable options in NBA free agency. We are talking athletic 20-something bodies that are not injury prone or – gasp – washed up.
Even if the Heat wanted to think outside the box and search for seasoned veterans, it should be for players such as Reggie Miller or Allen Iverson before Hardaway.
My advice to Pat Riley: avoid the desire to consider Hardaway. Instead, focus on bench depth that would provide valuable minutes over the course of a full season.
But hey, that’s just my TWO CENTS on PENNY – and you can take that to the bank.