Miami Heat signs Gary Payton

Sept. 22, 2005 at 8:31 PM

MIAMI, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- In a surprise move, the Miami Heat Thursday signed veteran point guard Gary Payton to a reported one-year contract.

The team did not release contract details.

Payton, 37, started 54 games for Boston last season before being dealt to Atlanta. He was then waived by the Hawks without playing a game and re-signed by the Celtics.

Over the entire season, he averaged 11.3 points, 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 77 games for the Celtics.

The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time All-Defensive First Team choice likely will be the primary backup for rising superstar Dwayne Wade.

Payton, who was a second round pick by Seattle out of Oregon State in 1990, has played for four teams. He has career averages of 17.6 points, 7.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.97 steals per contest, in nearly 1,200 games over 15 years.

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