AP Basketball Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Shabazz Napier has signed his rookie deal with the Miami Heat.
Napier’s deal got finalized Friday, hours before Miami’s final game of its summer league schedule. The point guard will make about $1.2 million this season after being selected with the No. 24 overall pick in last month’s draft.
Obviously, it was never a question that Napier was going to get a deal, but he said actually signing the contract was a significant moment. He’ll return to Miami on Saturday to begin getting ready for training camp that starts in about two months.
“Growing up, this is what you want to do,” said Napier, who sat out the summer finale against Cleveland. “You want to be part of a great organization. It’s always great to have that extra feeling of relief. I told my family about it and it’s something we all will cherish.”
Napier, who led Connecticut to this past season’s NCAA championship, becomes the 12th player either signed or committed to the Heat for next season.
“I spent a great deal of time studying him in preparation for the draft and we liked his qualities: his toughness, his competitiveness, his ability to play bigger in bigger moments,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier this week after watching Napier during the Las Vegas summer league. “He has a very good feel for the point guard position but can also play off the ball. He will be a shooter in this league.”
Earlier Friday, Miami completed the signing of forward Udonis Haslem to a two-year contract that will pay him about $5.6 million. His deal was worked out several days ago, and Haslem told the team he had no desire to leave his hometown, anyway.
“Udonis Haslem has been a fixture in Miami over the last 11 years,” Heat President Pat Riley said. “He’s a team player, an encompassing all-purpose player that would play just about any position or role in order to win. It’s been such a privilege and honor to have him with the organization and I’m so happy that he decided to come back.”
So in the week that followed the departure of LeBron James back to Cleveland, the Heat have gone from two players on the roster — and only one of those with a guaranteed deal — to having a dozen.
A formal announcement of an already-agreed-upon deal with reserve power forward Chris Andersen is expected imminently, and All-Star forward Chris Bosh may not be able to sign his new $118 million, five-year deal until he returns from an international vacation and completes a physical. The Heat will likely fill out the roster with free agents on minimum-salary deals, and have shown a willingness in the past to wait until training camp nears for those last signings.
Haslem has spent all of his 11 NBA seasons with the Heat and is the franchise’s career rebounds leader. He and Dwyane Wade are the only players to appear on all three of Miami’s championship teams.
The Miami native opted out of a contract that would have paid him $4.6 million next season to give the team flexibility during free agency. Haslem averaged 3.8 points last season and has averaged 8.6 points in 715 regular-season games over his career.
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