Saturday, August 7, 1999

N B A _ B A S K E T B A L L

Heat had an eye
on Carter for
a long time

General manager Randy Pfund
says the team would have drafted
"AC" if he hadn't been injured
after finishing at UH

By Pat Bigold


If the NBA season began tomorrow, former Hawaii point guard Anthony "AC" Carter would see a lot of playing time for the Miami Heat.

That's because when the Heat signed him to a one-year free agent contract yesterday in Miami, he filled a critical need at his position.

The Heat currently have no backup with solid NBA experience for starting point guard Tim Hardaway (All-NBA second team pick last season).

"Terry Porter (last year's backup) has signed with San Antonio," said Heat General Manager Randy Pfund. "So, Anthony, for the time being, is looking at a great opportunity."

Of course, no one expects Pfund and team president/head coach Pat Riley to stop looking for an experienced NBA point guard to back up Hardaway. But they are limited in what they can do by the fact that the club is already over the NBA salary cap.

"It's 50-50 whether we sign someone else right now," said Pfund in a phone interview yesterday from his office at the Miami Arena. "But even if we do, Anthony is in a position to compete for the backup point guard spot.

"He's a Riley type of player who's strong, goes to the basket hard and has a toughness you need."

Carter's pact calls for $100,000 up front and a chance to earn the full rookie minimum of $301,875 if he is still with the club one day into the season.

Asked how it feels to finally be a Heat player more than a week after reports surfaced that he was going to sign, Carter said this morning, "Feels good, now I just have to go out there and see if I can be the player they want."

Pfund revealed that the Heat had planned to draft Carter last year after seeing him perform in the WAC tournament. He said he was also familiar with Carter's years at Saddleback Junior College.

"We came very close to drafting him, but because we thought he was going to be out six months or so with the shoulder injury, we drafted somebody else (Oklahoma point guard Corey Brewer)," said Pfund.

Carter, who helped lead Hawaii to the NIT with his bad shoulder, had corrective surgery performed in June 1998.

He has not had a problem since.

After leaving Hawaii, Carter played for the Yakima Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association, averaging 11.6 points in 48 games.

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