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Reports: Heat Offer Charlie Bell $18 Million

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel was just lamenting on his blog that the Heat would likely not have any more new faces in training camp in two weeks.

Then an hour or so ago Winderman published news that the team is offering Milwaukee's restricted free agent guard a five-year contract:

A Bell signing could be a precursor to a follow up move, possibly the unloading of Jason Williams' expiring contract. Already roughly $4 million over the NBA dollar-for-dollar luxury tax on excessive payrolls, the Heat would move to more than $7 million above the tax should it add Bell.

A Bell addition not only would end any chance of veteran Gary Payton returning to the Heat for another season, but also would leave in question the futures with the team of second-year point guard Chris Quinn and offseason backcourt additions Hardaway and Devin Green. It also likely would end the team's interest in veteran free-agent shooting guard Allan Houston.

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has more on his blog:

Bell is the second Bucks guard pursued by Miami during the current off-season. The Heat made a strong run at unrestricted free agent guard Mo Williams, offering him a five-year, $31 million contract. But Williams eventually signed a six-year, $52 million contract with the Bucks, who were able to offer him a significantly larger deal.

Bartelstein said Bell no longer will consider any European contract offers and will either be with the Heat or the Bucks. On Saturday, Bell said it was "time to move on" and that he no longer had the passion required to remain with Milwaukee.

"I believe it's a privilege for every player to play in the NBA, and the last thing you want is to have a player say he doesn't want to be somewhere," Bartelstein said.

"But all you can do is be honest about how you feel. Most people choose where they want to work, and his heart is just not in Milwaukee. He doesn't mean to be disrespectful or arrogant; he's just being honest."