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Camby postpones Heat visit; sign and trade discussed; Van Gundys, others react to Allen pickup

A Saturday afternoon Heat update plus a Marlins note (Giancarlo Stanton will have knee surgery Sunday and will miss four to six weeks):

Free agent center Marcus Camby’s scheduled Saturday visit to South Florida to meet with the Heat was postponed Saturday morning because the Heat no longer has its $3.1 million mini mid-level exception (which is going to Ray Allen) and Camby first wants to see if there’s a realistic possibility if the Heat and Houston Rockets can work out a sign-and-trade that would deliver him a salary in that range or higher.

The Heat and Rockets have had discussions about a sign-and-trade, according to an NBA source, with Joel Anthony, Norris Cole and a future first-round draft pick among the potential pieces to a deal. The Heat does not have its own No. 1 pick next year but does have Philadelphia's from a draft night trade, though that pick is lottery-protected should the 76ers miss the playoffs.

The Rockets are believed to be interested in Cole, but it’s unclear if Miami would give him up as part of a trade for Camby. And the Rockets reportedly have far more interest in what the Knicks have to offer than what the Heat would.

The Knicks could offer Toney Douglas ($2 million expiring contract) and/or center Josh Harrellson and the non-guaranteed contract of Dan Gadzuric ($1.4 million) or Jerome Jordan. The Knicks also have their $3.1 million mini midlevel, though that could be used on New York-bound Jason Kidd unless New York does a sign-and-trade with Dallas to get Kidd.

Camby, who has no interest in taking the $1.3 million minimum from Miami or any other team, likes the Heat but also has interest in New York, Brooklyn, and potentially others. The Rockets have spoken to several teams about potential sign-and-trades. Camby is expected to meet with the Knicks on Sunday in Houston, then might visit with the Nets, who have strong interest in him. The Spurs also are a possibility.

According to CBSSports.com, the Rockets hope to use some of the pieces they acquire for Camby in a bid to trade for Orlando center Dwight Howard.

Camby would be receptive to meeting with the Heat if it’s determined that the teams believe a sign-and-trade is a good possibility. But neither team could provide him with that answer Saturday morning, and the meeting was thus postponed.

MORE ALLEN REACTION         

The Heat’s playoff success re-affirmed that the team’s stars often do their best work when surrounded by skilled shooters that can spread the floor and give them space to operate.

That’s why Miami’s addition of Ray Allen, among the elite long-range shooters of his generation, holds such tantalizing possibilities.

“Great pickup for the Heat,” former Magic and Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said in a text message Saturday. “Ray Allen is a great veteran player. Can play a Mike Miller role as a shooter. Mike has more size and is a great rebounder, but Ray is a great shooter and has stayed healthy, which Mike can’t do.”

Van Gundy’s brother, ABC lead analyst Jeff Van Gundy, also praised the move, though he added, “As you get up to that age, you don’t know how health is going to treat you. I was surprised. I thought he would go back to Boston, to stick with what they had started.”

Allen, who turns 37 on July 20, underwent surgery June 14 to remove bone spurs in his right ankle but is expected to be fine for the season.

“I coached Ray and you’re talking about one of the fittest players to ever play,” NBA TV analyst Sam Mitchell said. “He can run all day. I can see him playing even better than last year. He’s going to get even more wide open looks now.”

Allen’s three-point accuracy last season (45.3 percent) was the best of his career – a product not only of his natural gifts, but his impeccable work ethic. Allen, whose 2718 three-pointers are the most in NBA history, typically arrives at arenas five hours before games to launch jumper after jumper.

“Ray Allen is the ultimate professional, a great player and a great team player,” ESPN Radio analyst and Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay said. “He’s great moving without the ball and he knows how to get open.”

The Heat cannot discuss the acquisition until he is allowed to sign on July 11. But coach Erik Spoelstra is expected to use Allen in a guard rotation with starters Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers.

Ramsay said either Wade or Allen could be the primary ball-handler when they are paired together in the backcourt. "Ray is very good with the ball," Ramsay said. "There were times he served as the point guard."

James and Wade were thrilled with the pickup.

“Heat Nation continues to grow,” Wade tweeted Friday night.

James sent out two tweets – one showing Allen, photo shopped, in a Heat uniform and another that read: “Heat Nation, please welcome our newest teammate, Ray Allen.”

Earlier in the day, before Heat owner Micky Arison announced the news on Twitter, James told reporters covering the U.S. Olympic basketball team practice in Las Vegas: “Who wouldn’t want a dead-eye shooter like that, a complete professional and a champion?”

Does Allen’s acquisition significantly help Miami’s chances of winning two, three or who knows how many titles?

“I already thought that,” Jeff Van Gundy said. “It doesn’t change my belief in what I think they can do. You admire their aggressiveness.”  

LEWIS VISITING   

Forward Rashard Lewis is expected to visit Sunday, knowing all Miami can offer is the $1.3 million veteran's minimum. He has told associates that he’s not hung up over salary because he’s making $13.7 million in a Hornets buyout next season. The Spurs, Knicks and Hawks also have shown interest, and though Lewis likes Miami, he has indicated he plans to speak to other teams as well.

Riley, incidentally, has spoken on the phone with both Lewis and Camby.

         

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