Thursday , Dec , 13 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Pat Riley To Blame For Miami Heat’s ‘Penny’ Hardaway Fiasco

The oil-slick failed to sign a big name free agent this summer, so he went 1994 and brought in Penny Hardaway to help off the bench. The former All-Star had been out of the league for two seasons and, with the exception of one strong game, never looked comfortable in a Heat uniform …

Miami’s Pat Riley discusses waiving Penny Hardaway and signing Luke Jackson:

Pat Riley labeled it a "business decision." But that decision could mean the end of Penny Hardaway’s brilliant NBA career.

The Heat waived Hardaway on Wednesday to make room for Luke Jackson, a young, 6-foot-7 swingman whose strength is his outside shot. Hardaway, 36, not only was the most logical player to cut from a basketball standpoint, but, with a non-guaranteed contract, he was the only one the Heat could have lost without having to absorb any salary.

My Very Quick Take: Another blunder made by Riley.

The oil-slick failed to sign a big name free agent this summer, so he went 1994 and brought in Penny Hardaway to help off the bench. The former All-Star had been out of the league for two seasons and, with the exception of one strong game, never looked comfortable in a Heat uniform.

Hardaway can still contribute, but he needs the right situation. Riley, however, is very much on the hook for this failed experiment. Here’s why:

1) Hardaway was signed to serve as a back-up. With Miami struggling, the Gucci sideline boss gave the veteran extended minutes. This was too much, too soon.

2) Riley admitted he wanted to keep Hardaway despite his struggles. However, the Heat had to free a roster spot for Jackson and Penny was expendable due to his non-guaranteed contract.

However, Miami could have retained Hardaway if they hadn’t signed Smush Parker over the summer. Of course, the Smush-signing was also Riley’s idea.

All is not lost. Hardaway will stay ready and, if unsigned, Miami might bring him back later this year.

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