Veteran guard Mike Bibby has officially signed with the Miami Heat, in an attempt to win his first championship, choosing winning over money.
Earlier this week, news surfaced that the 32-year-old guard had agreed to a contract buyout with the Washington Wizards, whom acquired Bibby in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks before the NBA trade deadline.
Bibby was under contract for one more season and had $6.2 million left on his deal, but in the buyout, Bibby gave up that season’s salary, so he could go for a championship … now before its too late.
He become a free agent and signed a league minimum contract with the Heat. Bibby is now expected to play his first game with the Heat on Thursday night (March 3), when they host the Orlando Magic.
He told ESPN, happiness means more than money at this stage in his career.
“It is really not [anyone’s] decision to make,” he said, who has signed contracts worth more than $100 million during his 13-year career.
“I make the money, I decide what I do with it, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of it,” Bibby continued. “My financial stuff is my business. It is always tough to give up money. I’ve won and lost in my career and I’m at a stage where I want to be happy.”
The happiness his speaks of is: joining a team, loaded with stars (Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh), and championship hopes in their sights. One thing the Heat were missing this season is a steady point guard and Bibby believes he can fill that void.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is excited about Bibby’s move to Miami, although he didn’t foresee it just weeks before.
“We’re very excited about an opportunity like this, especially late in the year,” Spoelstra said. “We weren’t necessarily expecting this about a month ago. We think he can really help.”
According to ESPN, Bibby was caught off guard when the Hawks dealt him to the Wizards for Kirk Hinrich last week. Nobody told him. Unhappy with the situation with the new team — where he played back-up to standout rookie John Wall — an opportunity arose and Bibby acted.
“I just felt that out of respect they could have told me that morning,” Bibby said. “I saw everybody that morning and I wasn’t told until it happened. It is not a big deal, it happens in this league and it is time to move on.”