Rice became an immediate contributor, finishing third in scoring on the team to second-year center Rony Seikaly and rookie point guard Sherman Douglas, earning a spot on the all-rookie second team for his effort. In the following seasons he became Miami's top option and a recognized scorer in the league. In only Miami's fourth season, 1991-92, he lead Miami to the NBA playoffs, where they were swept by Michael Jordan and the 67-15 Chicago Bulls. Rice lead the Heat back to the playoffs in 1993-94, but the Heat made little noise.
In 1995 in a blockbuster trade, Rice was sent with center Matt Geiger to the Charlotte Hornets for all-star center Alonzo Mourning. Rice immediately teamed with point guard Kenny Anderson and power forward Larry Johnson to form one of the top trios in the league in 1995-96. He became an undisputed star and one of the top scorers in the league. In 1996-97, now teamed with power forward Anthony Mason, Rice had perhaps the best season of his career, finishing third to Jordan and Karl Malone in scoring and being named to the all-NBA second team. He was also the MVP of the all-star game, where he set several scoring records. He also took the Hornets to the playoffs, though they were beaten by the New York Knicks. In 1997-98 Rice followed with another great year, finishing 6th in scoring and earning all-NBA third team honors. This time he took Charlotte to the second round, where once again he was defeated by Jordan and the Bulls.
In the lockout shortened season Rice didn't play much, finally being traded to the Lakers for Elden Campbell and Eddie Jones. He teamed with center Shaquille O'Neal and guard Kobe Bryant to form the highest scoring trio in the league. In 1999-00 he helped lead the team to a 67-15 mark and the NBA championship.
Dealt following the season, he spent the next year in New York with the Knicks, and then went to the Houston Rockets, where he provided a shooting touch and a veteran presence.