The NBA rumor mill churned out countless stories recently about planes headed to visit LeBron James, a pickup game involving Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh receiving a max contract offer. On Monday, it briefly stopped focusing on those three headliners just long enough for a mention of Wizards free agent guard Garrett Temple.
Per Tim Reynolds with the Associated Press, Temple is "leaning toward Miami," as in signing with the four-time defending Eastern Conference champion Heat. This rumor quickly gained traction on Twitter Monday evening for a very specific reason and perhaps for others a bit more subtle.
However, according to a league source, CSN has learned Temple is not weighing any offer from Miami at this time. Like the rest of the league, it's a waiting game for the defensive-minded guard until James, Anthony and perhaps Bosh make their decisions.
The Temple rumor broke immediately after reports surfaced that Miami reached deals with Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts and veteran guard Danny Granger. The fact that the Heat began adding complementary players is a possible if not strong indicator that James and therefore Miami's entire "Big 3" will re-sign.
Temple, who averaged 1.8 points in 75 games with the Wizards last season, played with and then was released by Miami before the start of the 2012-13 season. He joined Washington on Christmas Day that season.
CSN previously reported that the Heat showed interest in adding the 6-foot-6 guard last summer before Temple re-upped with Washington.
Based on those details and factoring in Miami's desire to re-shape its bench this off-season, it shouldn't surprise if the Heat do indeed look Temple's way at some point.
For now, it's all about patience until James and others settle on a destination. The Wizards remain in play to re-sign Trevor Ariza and have several others roster decisions to make with only six players currently under contract. Washington agreed to terms with center Marcin Gortat, but deals cannot be formally signed until Thursday.
Temple lost significant playing time last season following the trade-deadline deal for Andre Miller. He actually might receive more minutes with Miami. James often serves as a point-forward, meaning the Heat's guards do not have to focus on running the offense. They're also looking at wing defenders, including Ariza.
However, Temple remains a favorite of coach Randy Wittman's and has been expected to return for 2014-15. Not an offensive threat, the lengthy guard can play either position in the backcourt and understands his role, even if it means de facto coach/cheerleader on some nights.
As a colleague phrased it, while Temple is hardly a game-changer, he's the type of smart and low-maintenance bench player that works for contending teams. In recent seasons, the Heat have called about such a role. We'll see if they do so again.