Shane Battier, who was part of the Heat’s last two championship teams and spent three seasons in Miami draining three-pointers and defending some of the best scorers in the league, has joined the franchise’s front office.
The Heat announced Thursday it has hired Battier, 38, as the Director of Basketball Development & Analytics. His duties will include the development of analytics in evaluating all talent, including college players, free agents and current Miami players according to a press release from the team.
“We believe Shane is an incredible example of our Heat program, not only for the present, but also for the future,” team president Pat Riley said in a statement released by the Heat. “He embodies everything that we are looking for in our players and staff. We feel he will help us tremendously with his experience and knowledge of the game. Shane is an out-of-the-box thinker and will bring a fresh expertise that can help us evolve as a franchise.”
Battier, who retired after playing his final season with the Heat in 2014, has maintained a strong relationship with the franchise with his annual Battioke karaoke event to raise money for the Take Charge foundation, which helps send kids to college with scholarships.
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Now, he will be a part of the franchise’s brain trust.
“I am thrilled to be joining the front office of the Miami Heat,” Battier said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Arison family, learning from a Hall of Fame executive in Pat Riley, general manager Andy Elisburg and of course my old coach, Erik Spoelstra. My goal, as is the entire organizations, is to bring another championship back to Miami.”
Riley, 71, is in his 50th season in the league.
Asked prior to start of training camp in September what might make him feel comfortable stepping away from the game once and for all, Riley said he feels like the front office needed one more person to be a part of the brain trust.
“There’s a couple things that have to happen as far as I'm concerned,” Riley said in September. “I'm not the only leader in this front office. The smartest guy in that room over there is Andy Elisburg. He’s the smartest guy in the room and without him we wouldn’t be anywhere. But he’s not the smartest guy on the court. So, we have a ying-yang, Andy and I. Nick [Arison] as the CEO is entirely an different personality, but he’s been here so long and he’s in on all the decision-making, and basically right now when we sit in meetings Nick will sit and listen and then all of a sudden he’ll say something and I’ll say ‘Wow, I didn't think of that in that way.’ So, there’s a lot of wisdom Nick has. I think a lot of that comes from his father. His father is in the meeting and Spo is in the meeting. So, there's five of us right now that are sort of in the decision-making process as we move forward.
“What needs to happen, to answer your question, is what’s going to be the [plan of] succession. I think that’s important. I want to make sure that Micky [Arison] is comfortable with everything before I make that decision [to step away]. We’ve had a discussion about that. And when you’re 71 years old you have a right to talk to your boss about that. I’m not going to leave this damn thing until we have the right people running it. I think I could and there would still be the right people running it. But I think we’re one person short probably.”
Could Battier be part of the equation in helping Riley eventually step away? Perhaps, but right now Riley is focused on helping the franchise return to form as a championship contender quickly.
With the trade deadline looming at 3 p.m. Feb. 23, the Heat (25-32) has won 14 of its past 16 games and is only two games back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“We have a pick in the draft this year. About 12 games ago it looked like it might be the No. 1 pick in the draft,” Riley told a group of season-ticket holders during the Heat’s recent 13-game winning streak. “But you don’t ever mess with the karma of winning. Never. You let the game of basketball take it where it will take you, OK. And I think this might take us somewhere. So, I will defer the pick for the winning. Because that's what we're about here.”