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A Heat(related) Tid-bit or Three

If you're following the free agency saga of point guard Jason Williams, here's an update.

Amid an ESPN report that J-Will is in serious discussions with Israeli-league team Tel Aviv, just received confirmation that there is indeed interest, but that a deal is not imminent.

In fact, we've been told by two sources that J-Will essentially remains in a holding pattern with a couple of potential suitors. A few days ago, we were told not to completely rule out a possible return to the Heat at a deeply, deeply, deeply discounted rate from the $8.9 million he earned last season.

If Heat president Pat Riley is even interested in a reunion (count me among those who figured J-Will's days in Miami were numbered after the "high-paid prostitutes" comment he made on Christmas Day in Cleveland), it would most likely happen in the range of $1.3 to $2 million.

But word out of Israel from at least one source familiar with Tel Aviv's negotiations is that Williams is seeking a deal with an annual salary of at least $3 million. The Israeli teams is thinking closer to $1.5, which is similar to any deal any NBA suitor might extend, including the Heat.

... For those in need of an update on potential low-level center prospects, here's one.

The Clippers, whose roster seems to be at about 43 players right now, inked Brian Skinner to add low-post depth. The Heat had at least modest interest in Skinner at one point to plug into a frontcourt that lacks both length and defensive prowess beyond undersized power forward Udonis Haslem (I'm not counting Zo here because there's still no telling when he might return from knee rehab).

The Heat also expressed at least some interest in Francisco Elson, a 7-footer who played in Seattle last season but did his best work with the Spurs during their 2006-07 title run. But Elson's camp said it would take more than the $900,000 Miami has left of the mid-level and probably even more than the mostly-league-funded veteran's minimum of $1.3 the Heat also would have at its disposal.

So the pursuit of help at center and point guard stands as it always stood for the Heat. It's going to take a trade to add the type of upgrades needed to assure a return to serious contender status next season. As the roster stands, Miami is a playoff team if healthy. Although a run at mediocrity would be an upgrade over last season's disastrous 15-67 finish, far better results are expected.

... After news that the Heat's Oct. 12 preseason game in London against the Nets has sold out, tickets for Miami's scheduled Oct. 18 preseason game against the Magic in Jacksonville have gone on sale. The Jacksonville game extends a solid run of non-NBA sites the Heat has played at the past few seasons, including Puerto Rico, Biloxi, MS and Greensboro, N.C.




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