Basketball News Services
Mark Blount has notified the Celtics that he will officially opt out of the last year of his contract to test the free agency waters this week, before the expansion draft, so the Celtics would not need to protect him. He has expressed interest in playing for Miami, and Miami would love to have him, but both he and Boston have expressed a potential desire to stay together.
Blount's performance this year has been simply phenomenal as he delivered a career year with 10.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, and was second only to Shaquille O'Neal in the entire league with his 56.6 percent field goal percentage.
Instead of earning a guaranteed $1 million, the former waived second round draft pick will be looking for a long-term deal.
When players in option years have career performances, it is often said that they are playing for their next contract. However, there is a different theory with Blount. Really, his year was all about increasing his minutes. His production per minute has not had a significant change. Even compared to the one year he spent in Denver, when he played half the minutes, doubling those numbers would get him to virtually the same spot that he is in now.
Blount would be a great fit for Miami, giving Brian Grant the ability to move to the power forward spot, and also giving the Heat some much-needed depth in the middle.
It's not clear that had the Heat had Blount this year it would have affected much, since Blount was unable to stop Jermaine O'Neal either, but it would make the Heat a more formidable opponent.
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Israel Gutierrez ofThe Miami Herald writes: Pistons forward Darvin Ham is not surprised Dwyane Wade has made such a splash in the NBA. Ham recognized Wade's ability before the Heat guard played his first college game.Ham played pick-up games with Wade while Wade was sitting out his freshman year due to eligibility issues. Ham, a former Buck, has been raving about Wade ever since.
Peter May ofThe Boston Globewrites: Mark Blount will officially exercise an option in his contract this week, making him a free agent and making the Celtics one of many teams interested in his services, his agent said yesterday... Riley's Miami Heat are expected to make a pass at Blount, who has said he'd be interested in playing there.
Ira Winderman ofThe South Florida Sun-Sentinelwrites: When assessing career goals, most players point to the opportunities to start and to play for a championship. Pistons point guard Mike James has had both this season, and still the former Heat guard entered these NBA Finals feeling somewhat unfulfilled. A family man as much as a basketball man, James left the Heat last summer in search of stability.