Luke Babbitt ready to launch in his second go-around with the Miami Heat

Luke Babbitt shoots a technical free throw last season while with the Heat. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI – The Miami Heat made two trades Thursday which created a buzz around the organization all day Friday.

And Luke Babbitt was flattered by all the attention.

“I’m the trade acquisition that all this hype for, right?” Babbitt joked. “No, it’s great having Dwyane Wade. It’s a long time coming and we missed him last year, so I’m happy for him, happy for the city.”

The Heat added the 6-foot-9 Babbitt and that Dwyane Wade guy just before the trading deadline. As for Babbitt, the Heat bring him back after he spent one season with the organization before leaving in August to sign a one-year, minimum contract for $1.9 million with the Hawks.

“It’s great to be back,” said Babbitt, who was acquired for forward Okaro White. “It almost feels like I never left. It really hasn’t been that long in terms of months. It felt a little weird coming in, but as soon as we got to shootaround, it was just like old times and great to see all the guys, all the coaches. It was a fun morning.”

And if Babbitt thought he had the green light to shoot threes at any time last season, wait until he finds out what’s in store when he gets back on the court this year.

Coach Erik Spoelstra saw Babbitt working on a shot fake following shootaround in preparation for Friday’s game against the Bucks.

“Hey, leave that shot fake outside this building,” Spoelstra told Babbitt. “Let it fly.”

Spoelstra has said many times he’d love to see players like Wayne Ellington and Kelly Olynyk take 10 to 15 threes. Now add Babbitt to that list.

“See how much Wayne has changed in the period Luke was gone,” Spoelstra said. “Wayne went from how many ever threes a game or per 20 minutes, double that. I’d love to see that from Luke as well.”

Ellington is third in the league with 408 3-point attempts (54 games) and he has shot himself into the Dec. 17 3-point shootout during All-Star Weekend.

“Fifteen? That sounds good to me,” Babbitt said. “We’ll see what happens. I’m going to play the way I always play, try to space the floor for these guys, give them driving lanes, play hard on defense and the shots will come.”

Babbitt averaged 3.0 threes in 15.4 minutes per game this season with the Hawks. A year ago he averaged 3.1 threes in 15.7 minutes per game with the Heat. He’s been having a slightly better season this year in Atlanta averaging 6.1 points while shooting 47.6 percent, 44.1 on threes. Last season in Miami he averaged 4.8 points and shot 40.2 percent, 41.4 on threes.

Even with the Heat on a five-game losing streak, Babbitt gained 12 games in the trade, going from the 17-38 Hawks to the 29-26 Heat.

“We’re right in the middle of a playoff race, so having that motivation for every day, every game, going from Atlanta, a rebuilding team, to a team like we are brings excitement every night,” Babbitt said.

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[Dwyane Wade: ‘Heat Nation, I’m excited to see you guys. I hope you guys are excited to see me’]

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