Miami adds sharpshooting guard

Updated: August 12, 2004, 4:57 PM ET
SportsTicker

MIAMI -- Free-agent guard Wesley Person, whose long-range shooting should be a perfect fit with Shaquille O'Neal, signed with the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Wesley Person
Person

Terms were not disclosed, although the Miami Herald reported Person will accept a $1.6 million salary cap exception from the Heat, who are over the salary cap. Person made $7 million last season, which he split among Memphis, Portland and Atlanta.

Person, 33, averaged a career-low 5.8 points in 58 games last season, his 10th in the NBA. He played 16 games for the Grizzlies before being traded to the Trail Blazers for Bonzi Wells. He played 33 games in Portland before being sent to the Hawks in the Rasheed Wallace deal.

Despite his drop-off, the 6-6 Person still is considered one of the best long-range shooters in the NBA. He has a career mark of 41.6 percent on 3-pointers and was second to Peja Stojakovic in the Shootout at All-Star Weekend in both 2002 and 2003.

"Wesley Person has proven throughout his career that he is one of the best and most reliable shooters in this league," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We feel shooting is at a premium for us and today we signed one of the best shooters in the league."

In 692 games with Phoenix, Cleveland, Memphis, Portland and Atlanta, Person has averaged 11.5 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting nearly 46 percent from the field.

Person likely will back up Eddie Jones at shooting guard. He could thrive alongside O'Neal, who demands double-teams that leave open perimeter players.

Since acquiring O'Neal and his $29 million salary from the Los Angeles Lakers in July, the Heat have tried to fill in around him with lower-priced players. In addition to Person, they have signed guards Keyon Dooling and Damon Jones and center Michael Doleac.

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