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Heat lands a backup for Shaq


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Heat to sign Nuggets free agent Doleac at center

 

By Ira Winderman

Staff Writer

Posted July 13 2004, 11:06 AM EDT

 

A team that a week ago had a glaring void at center now finds itself with veteran depth at the position.

 

As it worked to finalize its trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for Shaquille O'Neal, the Heat agreed to terms early Tuesday on a four-year contract with Denver Nuggets free agent Michael Doleac.

 

The outside-shooting center will sign Wednesday for approximately $12 million, with his contract taking up about $2.4 million of the $5.1 million mid-level salary-cap exception the Heat has available to add new players. The Heat also retains a $1.6 million lower-level cap exception. The fourth year of Doleac's contract is a player option.

 

Doleac, 27, made his decision early Tuesday after turning down a slightly larger bid from the New Orleans Hornets. The 6-foot-11 veteran also was considering a return to the Nuggets, as well as another go-round with the New York Knicks.

 

"We had a number of different destinations in mind and we were back and forth with New Orleans, who actually offered more money,'' agent Glenn Schwartzman said. "But playing with Shaq was definitely appealing."

 

As with the O'Neal trade, the Doleac signing will require formal league approval once the league's signing moratorium ends at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

 

The Heat's interest in Doleac dates to last season, when he was available as a free agent following his trade from New York to Atlanta, which immediately waived him. Heat General Manager Randy Pfund held ongoing talks with Schwartzman in recent weeks, including during the Heat's summer-league appearance last week in Orlando.

 

Schwartzman said it was his understanding that Doleac mostly would be utilized as a back-up center to O'Neal, but possibly also could see time at power forward.

 

Only a week ago, it appeared the Heat would have to overpay for such a second-tier talent in the middle, with players such as Mark Blount and Brian Skinner earning in excess of $5 million per year. Instead, the Heat maximized its salary-cap space for a player who also had attracted interest from Boston, Washington and Utah.

 

With Doleac both a shooter and rebounder, it likely will push center Wang Zhi-Zhi further down the Heat's rotation, if the veteran of the Chinese Olympic team even is retained.

 

Doleac was a first-round pick (No. 12 overall) of the Orlando Magic in 1998 out of the University of Utah. He later was traded to Cleveland for Brendan Haywood in 2001, signed with the Knicks as a free agent in 2002, and then was involved in last season's trade with Atlanta that sent center Nazr Mohammed to New York.

 

Interestingly, Doleac's best game of last season came against the Heat, when he scored 18 points for the Knicks in a Jan. 24 meeting.

 

A biology major at Utah, Doleac aspires to attend medical school, with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

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* Full name is Michael Scott Doleac

* Majored in biology at Utah and aspires to attend medical school

* Took an independant study course during his rookie season to keep his mind fresh

* Aspires to become and orthopedic surgeon

* Traveled with Utah to Sweden over the summer of 1997

* Was unrecruited out of high school and decided upon enrolling at Utah after attending a summer basketball camp there

* Enjoys reading, fishing and playing chess

 

 

 

Fascinating!

 

I hope he breaks his leg.

 

I'm just bitter about '98 though.

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My initial thoughts regarding this signing:

 

1) I guess that mess about Shaq bringing in more people is correct.

 

2) I don't know if I can handle the Heat putting a white guy on the floor.

 

3) Goodbye fast break, hello bludgeoning other teams to death.

 

4) The Heat wanted another big man to rebound Shaq's FT misses.

 

 

 

It's nice to have a little more front court depth, I guess, but I don't think Michael Doleac is going to put us over the top. Can anyone tell me how his D is?

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I don't know if Doleac will end up being starting PF, I'm thinking he'll come off the bench and play mostly as Shaq's replacement and some time at the 4.

 

Allen has a nice baseline jumper and a nice hook but Haslem is stronger and a better rebounder.

 

I don't know, there's still a lot of question marks for the season.

 

All we basically know right now that Wade, EJ, and Shaq make up 3 starters.

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The heat are now looking for guys who can shoot and Doleac has a sweet jumper for big man.

 

But Hopefully we sign Malone, I think he would be a perfect fit because he would do anything to win in this point in his career and would play for the veteren minimum

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Next year Haywood will make $1,735,305 whereas Doleac will make 2.4 mill.

 

Last year Haywood averaged 7 points and 5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks a game in about 20 minutes a game compared to Doleac who averaged close to 15 minutes a game 4.5 points and 3.7 RPG and only .5 blocks a game.

 

Haywood is a few years younger as well.

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