Heat Point Guard Mario Chalmers addressing beard amnesty rumors following Game 2 victory in San Antonio with fully shaven connects. Photo By D.M. Notsquiat.
The Miami Heat nearly used its one-time amnesty clause in the off-season on the facial hair of veteran point guard Mario Chalmers, sources say.
The team wanted to part ways with the guard’s facial hair after nearly six years of disappointment and frustration. But, Heat brass ultimately decided to use the provision on oft-injured forward Mike Miller.
Sources say that Chalmers’ beard would’ve gotten the axe if he and his agent hadn’t struck a last-minute deal to shave his dis-connects before the start of the season.
The alleged agreement gives Chalmers the right to try and grow his facial hair out again. But, the team reserves the right to cut his facial hair without penalty if the beard fails to show signs of “significant” improvement after 4-weeks of undisturbed growing.
“Mario’s awful connects have been a distraction within the organization for years,” a source close to the team tells The Bluffington Roach. “And, with teams throughout the league upgrading their rosters in hopes of dethroning us, we felt that removing Mario’s beard from the roster would give us the best chance of repeating.”
Fortunately, the Heat are now back in the NBA Finals and have a legitimate shot at securing a third consecutive championship. Thus, the team apparently made a wise choice when it decided against using the clause on the facial hair of Chalmers.
The amnesty provision included in the latest collective bargaining agreement afforded teams with a one-time opportunity to waive a player without his contract counting towards the salary cap. Miller would’ve been owed $12.8 million over the course of two seasons.
The team was willing to take on the $17 million luxury tax bill that Miller’s contract would’ve demanded — just so members of the organization wouldn’t have to see that terrible facial hair on a day-to-day basis.
Apparently, there were red flags about Chalmers’ beard coming out of Kansas, but Heat executives were willing to take on the project. Even after early signs of struggle, the team committed to providing his facial hair with an opportunity to develop.
But, after five years of underachievement, the team’s patience had run out. With the prospect of the “Big Three” breaking up after this season, the team wanted to ensure that it would be at full strength to make a run at a three-peat.
The team has watched younger beards throughout the league surpass Chalmers’ growth. Beards on the faces of guys such as James Harden, and even Stephen Curry, are on a whole nother level. And, many scouts questioned whether Curry’s beard would ever develop coming out of Davidson.
“After the fiasco with Paul Pierce’s facial hair in Boston for all those seasons, teams are frightened of committing long-term to a questionable beard,” the Heat source says.
The Heat organization was reluctant to add yet another hair issue to the locker-room — considering the well-documented struggles that LeBron has had with his troubled hair-line.
“The team didn’t want to see Mario walk into training camp with another terrible beard. Everyone wanted a fresh start,” the source says. “The shittiness of it had become a major distraction in the locker-room.”
Chalmers and his facial hair declined to comment on the report. In the past, he’s compared his struggles with facial hair to the relatively long road that Chris Paul’s beard took to grow — coming out of Wake Forest.
“[Chalmers] is delusional if he thinks the Heat would’ve waited around for him — for as long as the Hornets waited around for [Paul’s] beard ,” a Western Conference GM tells BluffRo. “They’re in two different classes, and [Paul’s] beard is just now rounding into shape after nine years in the league.”
Heat President Pat Riley is known as man who isn’t afraid to take on projects. But, this is undoubtedly the team’s most ambitious project yet.
“He’s 27 for god-sakes,” one rival executive tells BluffRo. “It’s time for that franchise to move on.”
Luckily for the Heat, Chalmers seems to have acknowledged that his terrible facial hair had become an enormous distraction within Miami’s locker-room. And, for most, if not all of this season, Chalmers has avoided the urge to try and grow a connected beard.
“I’m proud of Rio. He really matured this season. He recognized that his dis-connects were destroying team chemistry,” the Heat source says. “We can live with the rough start he’s had to this year’s Finals, but his facial hair would’ve really broken us.”
Chalmers and the Heat look to even up their Finals series against the Spurs in Miami Thursday in a pivotal Game 4 match-up.
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