MIAMI (AP) -The Miami Heat may be moving toward Plan B in their quest for backcourt help this summer.
Milwaukee point guard Mo Williams moved closer toward signing a $52 million, six-year deal to stay with the Bucks on Friday, the same day that another of the Heat's point guard targets - South Florida native Steve Blake - got a three-year deal to join the Portland Trail Blazers.
Williams' agent, Mark Bartelstein, wouldn't say Friday night that the Heat are officially doomed in their pursuit of Williams, but acknowledged that all indicators are pointing toward the 24-year-old returning to the Bucks.
``I think it's headed in that direction,'' Bartelstein said.
Heat coach and president Pat Riley was not available for comment Friday, but acknowledged numerous times this week that he was hoping Williams could be lured to join Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade in Miami next season.
``You move on when you move on,'' Riley said earlier this week in Orlando, Fla., where he spent three days watching Miami's summer league team while continuing to negotiate with Williams. ``We've got alternative plans. We're putting all our energy in here and we're keeping other things alive, but this is what we want to try to focus on.''
But the Heat could only offer Williams the mid-level exception, which would be worth around $31 million over five years. Milwaukee was offering substantially more throughout the negotiating process and increased its offer even more on Friday - potentially sealing that Williams, who averaged career bests of 17.3 points and 6.1 assists last season, would stay put.
There are other guards available through free agency, including Steve Francis, who was bought out by the Trail Blazers for a reported $30 million earlier this week and who has been contacted by the Heat in recent days.
Miami is seeking help at the point following two injury-plagued seasons by incumbent starter Jason Williams, who said this week that he is now ``pain-free'' and is anticipating a strong season. Jason Williams is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2007-08 season.
The Heat are also awaiting a decision about next season from backup center Alonzo Mourning, who could announce his intentions to either play one more year or retire as early as Saturday during part of his weekend charity ``Zo's Summer Groove'' fundraiser. Mourning is due about $2.75 million for next season.
Another free agent still on Miami's radar is forward James Posey, who is being courted by several teams after his two seasons with the Heat. Posey is expected to visit at least one team this weekend and may have a new contract by Monday, said Bartelstein, who also represents him.
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