Thursday , Oct , 11 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Win Now & Suffer Later: Evaluating Antoine Walker’s Rocky Relationship With Miami Heat

Walker’s trademark shoulder-shimmy could be parked on Miami’s sideline for several months of the upcoming season. Coach Riley is a stickler for fitness. And, after last season’s apathetic play, the Gucci sideline boss has no choice but to enforce team rules and suspend Walker …

Win Now & Suffer Later: Evaluating Antoine Walker's Rocky Relationship With Miami HeatThe Associated Press reports on Antoine Walker’s conditioning issues:

Antoine Walker‘s level of conditioning is still a concern for the Miami Heat, and coach Pat Riley predicted Wednesday it may take the forward until January to meet his team-mandated body fat level.

The issue has been a thorny one for Walker and Riley for the past two seasons. Walker was briefly suspended by Riley last season over body fat measurements and was kept out of the opening day of training camp practice this year for the same reason.

My Quick Take: Walker’s trademark shoulder-shimmy could be parked on Miami’s sideline for several months of the upcoming season. Coach Riley is a stickler for fitness. And, after last season’s apathetic play, the Gucci sideline boss has no choice but to enforce team rules and suspend Walker.

This raises an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, the Heat needed Walker to win the 2006 NBA Title. The veteran provided clutch scoring and stretched opposing defenses with his range.

On the other hand, Walker’s contract is hurting the team’s future. The former All-Star’s multi-million dollar salary is on the books for at least the next two seasons, limiting South Beach’s ability to sign free agents. For example, this summer, they lost out on the bidding for restricted free agent Mo Williams.

Here’s the question: was winning the NBA Title worth it. Two seasons ago, Pat Riley stocked up on expensive veterans to take a run at a championship. And it worked. Remember this celebration …

But they mortgaged their future for their 2006 NBA Title-just like many Americans mortgaged their home with sub prime rates. Now Miami is paying the price. They’ve fallen out of the top-tier of Eastern Conference teams and unproductive vets, like Walker, prevent them from signing big ticket talent.

Should Miami have mortgaged their future by signing Walker to a big contract? Heat fans get at us in the comment box with your thoughts.

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