OKLAHOMA CITY – When Ronny Turiaf became a free agent last week he received offers from more than 10 teams looking to sign him for the rest of the season.
He chose the Miami Heat, he said, because he saw he would have a role on a championship contender and because it was close to family in his home of Martinique. But the Heat apparently tossed in a sweeter to help get the deal deal.
According to a league source, the Heat gave Turiaf a player option for $1.2 million next season as part of the deal. The team already has nearly $80 million committed in salaries for next year. It is likely that Turiaf will opt to become a free agent but it was a way for the Heat to increase their bid.
This sort of bidding is not uncommon for free agents during buyout season. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Sunday that the Oklahoma City Thunder gave Derek Fisher $2.3 million for the rest of the season after he became a free agent. Several teams, including the Heat, were interested in Fisher but the Thunder were able to outbid them all because they still had their mid-level exception to use.