Published November 20, 2014
Bibby settled in Thursday morning with his third team in little more than a week. He became a free agent Wednesday after clearing waivers and quickly signed with the Heat, who believe Bibby can be the last veteran piece of a championship puzzle.
"You can just tell that the guys here have a winning mentality," Bibby said. "You need that in this league. We're all on the same team. I'm not coming here trying to do anything, take anybody's minutes or anything else. I'm just here to help the team win. We're all a team and we're all in this together."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wasted little time putting Bibby to use, sending him in with 1:11 left in the opening quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday night. It's unclear how much time he may be in line for right away, especially considering Carlos Arroyo — who was waived to clear a spot for Bibby — has not been a regular part of Miami's rotation for several weeks.
Bibby ran through some offensive sets at the Heat facility after signing Wednesday night, went through a shootaround practice Thursday and studied film after that.
Miami has even experimented at times this season with having no true point guard on the court for long stretches, although the Heat have gotten away from that somewhat with Mario Chalmers playing a larger role of late.
"This gives us more depth," Spoelstra said. "I think ultimately some of our most consistent minutes happen when we have a point guard on the floor."
There were plenty of things pulling Bibby to Miami. His brother-in-law is Heat reserve guard Eddie House, but more than anything else, Bibby wanted to be with a team that he thinks will win a title.
In the end, Miami was his clear choice.
"I just thought it would be a good move for me," said Bibby, averaged 9.4 points and 3.6 assists as a starter with Atlanta this season, his 13th in the league. "I tried to see where I would fit in the best and help the most."
This Heat team came together last summer with a theme of sacrifice: Wade, James and Bosh signed deals worth a combined $51 million less than what they could have commanded. Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem were among other Miami players who signed for less money as well, and Bibby unexpectedly joined that group earlier this week.
When the Hawks traded Bibby to Washington last week, it was a move few people saw coming beforehand, Bibby included. He didn't want to stay with the Wizards and be little more than a mentor to rookie guard John Wall, so he asked that his contract be bought out.
It came with a price: $6,217,616.
That's what Bibby would have made next year, and that's what he forfeited as terms of the buyout.
"It's always tough to give up money," Bibby said. "At this time, this part of my career, I want to be happy. And I thought this would be the best place for me as far as winning. I've won and lost in my career, and I'm at a stage where I want to be happy."
Bibby brings something that the Heat will covet in April, May and, they hope, June: Playoff experience.
He's started 80 games in the playoffs, more than any other Heat player and 17th-most among active players across the league. And part of the sales pitch team President Pat Riley gave Bibby was how valued he would be on a championship run.
"He picked things up quickly," Wade said. "He's a veteran so he's going to fit in with the offense that we run. He's run some of it before. Just come in and play basketball, don't even worry about necessarily fitting in, just worry about the impact he can make on our team. If he does that, he'll be fine."