So why did Amar'e Stoudemire take a minimum deal with the Heat, for $1.5 million?
Partly because he already has made $166 million in his career and partly because he likes the idea of playing for the Heat and living in South Florida, where he has a home.
“He had several teams interested, but Miami was a great fit for him personally,” said his agent, Travis King. “He has a lot of respect for Pat Riley. He’s friends with Dwyane [Wade] and Chris [Bosh] and lives in Miami in the summer. He’s from Florida [Lake Wales]. He always had a passion for the state. He saw an opportunity to make a run at a championship for a year.
“It’s a great franchise. It’s always been intriguing for him to play with Chris and Dwyane, and in [an organization with] Pat Riley. The Heat was his first meeting in free agency in 2010.”
Stoudemire, 32, has battled knee issues in the past and played in 29, 65 and 59 games the past three seasons. But he had no health setbacks during his 23-game stint in Dallas to close the season and the Heat is comfortable with his health.
“He has a lot left in the tank,” King said. “He’s still one of the pre-eminent bigs. It was a tough year with the Knicks and his role wasn’t as prominent with Dallas as he would have thought. He just saw himself in a position to re-establish his market.”
“It was never a money decision. If he plays the way we feel and he feels he’s going to play, I’m pretty sure he won’t be playing for the minimum next year.”
For a lot more on Stoudemire and other Heat news today, please see the last post.
ON GREG JENNINGS
Greg Jennings gives the Dolphins a crisp route runner, a mentor for their young receivers and a player who can deceive corners with savviness and guile on short and intermediate routes.
But his journey to Miami will be an adjustment, because there is no longer the guarantee of starting, or even necessarily the expectation, and the playing time might not be anything close to what he’s accustomed.
Once DeVante Parker shakes off the rust from foot surgery --- he’s expected back for the regular-season opener --- then it would not be surprising if Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills emerge as the Dolphins’ top three receivers, in some order.
There is certainly the opportunity for Jennings to crack the top three, especially if Parker needs time to round into form or if he outplays Stills in training camp.
Either way, Jennings’ playing time figures to diminish somewhat, barring injuries.
Jennings, who has started 114 of 127 NFL games, played 85.6 percent of Minnesota’s offensive snaps last season. It would be surprising if he’s on the field nearly as much for Miami. For perspective, Brandon Gibson --- the Dolphins’ No. 4 receiver last season --- played 45.3 percent of Miami’s snaps.
“I'm not concerned about any of that,” Jennings said. “I'm concerned about what I can do to help this team win. I'm not concerned with everyone around me when it comes to what I bring to the table. I'm confident in my talents. So when it comes to targets and opportunity, that will all come.”
Jennings, naturally, doesn’t believe his skills have diminished significantly since his only Pro Bowl appearances in 2010 and 2011.
“I don't think anybody ever feels like they lose anything,” he said. “Going into my 10th year, there’s a lot more miles. [But] my body feels great. Still can catch the ball. Still can run routes.”
But he also said: "I think every year you have something to prove, not to any outsiders, but just to myself that I can still play this game at a high level.”
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been especially impressed by Jennings’ route running. “It’s unbelievable how he can break corners down, with his savviness of how to get guys leaning,” Tannehill said.
Joe Philbin said Jennings “has been a quarterback-friendly type of receiver through his career. He catches the ball with his hands very well. ... He's a good route runner, crisp. He knows how to come in and out of his breaks well.”
But others have doubts. NFL.com analyst Charley Casserly, the former Redskins and Texans general manager, has serious concerns.
“I wouldn’t count on him to make a difference,” Casserly said. “He’s a good route runner, will be reliable. But he’s not a guy that’s going to change the defense.”
Jennings --- who also visited New Orleans, Carolina and Jacksonville --- said he was leaning against signing with the Dolphins until an April phone conversation with Dolphins president/football operations Mike Tannenbaum eased concerns.
"There were just a few things I had that I wanted to share with him personally, because everybody has a pitch. Everybody has an angle," Jennings recently told ESPN from his charity golf tournament in Minnesota on Monday.
"Shoot straight, because I'm going to shoot straight. Every visit, I shared my heart. This is what I'm looking for: I'm looking to be a leader in the locker room. I'm looking to be respected as a man of God, as a football player. Those are the things that are really important to me -- and more so, who I am, not what I can provide. Those were some of the things we cleared up.”
Ultimately, Jennings told South Florida reporters that coming to the Dolphins simply “felt right.”
As a possession receiver, Jennings essentially will replace Brian Hartline (though Hartline started) or Gibson. So have the Dolphins upgraded?
“Jennings and Hartline are about the same; maybe it’s a slight upgrade for Miami,” ESPN analyst and former Browns scout Matt Williamson said. “Jennings is pretty good after the catch. And he will be good in the locker-room.”
Jennings was more productive than Hartline last season in the most tangible measurements. Jennings had more catches (59 to 39), more receiving yards (742 to 474), higher yards per catch (12.6 to 12.2), better yards after catch average (3.5 to 3.3) and more touchdowns (six to two). Both had five drops, though Jennings had 26 more passes thrown to him.
Hartline, who was cut from a contract that would have paid him $5.9 million next season, instead will make a combined $6 million over the next two seasons in Cleveland.
Jennings signed a two-year, $8 million deal but must play well to stick around in 2016, when he has a $3.9 million salary and a $5.4 million cap hit.
The other Dolphins receivers seem to be soaking up Jennings’ knowledge. “Everyone kind of gravitates to me a little bit, but I gravitate to them as well,” he said. “It’s been a great mesh from the get-go.”
The Orange Bowl and WQAM are partnering to do something unusual: Live broadcasts from college football media days from five conferences over the next three weeks.
Joe Zagacki, Orlando Alzugaray, Marc Hochman and co-host Zach Krantz and Alex Donno will split assignments among media days in Hoover, Ala. (SEC), Pinehurst, N.C. (ACC), Dallas (Big 12), Chicago (Big Ten) and Los Angeles (Pac-12). Programming will feature interviews with coaches, players, conference commissioners and media members.
Zagacki and Alzugaray handle the first two: from the SEC media session next week and the ACC gathering the following. Krantz gets the Pac-12 gig in Los Angeles.