If you haven't seen Chris Bosh's latest video short for the comedy website Funny or Die, it's worth a few laughs. Bosh is keeping the mood light in the locker room as well as the Heat plods through a difficult stretch of the season. Bosh will be in L.A. for five days beginning Friday morning, so there's no telling what the Heat's budding comedy star has planned next.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
Thursday, December 25, 2014
On being back in Miami:
“It has been good. I got a lot of memories here and a lot of friendships have been built up over the four years, so my emotions are really, really good.”
On weirdness being in visitors’ locker room:
“Not really. I spent seven years coming to this locker room before, but it felt a little different going in the way we came in. I was used to going to the parking garage with the players, but coming in through the other side was a little weird.”
On what he expects from the fans:
“I have no idea. That’s not for me to even worry about. My only job right now is us trying to get better. We got a young group and we’ve got to continue to improve.”
On competing against Wade now after being teammates:
“I’m not sure. We’ve always enjoyed competing against one another, and we enjoy playing with one another as well, so it is back to where it was five years ago with us competing and we’re going to do it for the rest of our career.”
Did he circle this game on his calendar:
“I don’t circle games no more on my career. If I get the opportunity and am fortune enough that my son makes it to the NBA, and I’m still here, then I’ll circle that one.=
Oddest thing today:
“I just had some butterflies coming in. It’s like I said, I played some great basketball here with my teammates. I miss my teammates more than anything. The camaraderie we had and the guys that’s still here and the guys that’s not even here like Shane [Battier] and Ray [Allen], and I still have Mike [Miller] with me and [James Jones]. But all the guys, we built something that will last forever.”
Feel bad the Heat is struggling?
Get together with Dwayne Wade on Christmas Eve:
“No dinner but got together for sure.”
Is there one place he had to go in Miami upon being back?
“Yeah, to see D-Wade.”
On Varejao injury:
“It’s tough. It hurts our team, but more than anything it’s tough on him. It seems like he can’t catch a break on injuries and I know he was looking forward to this season. He is a great friend of mine and I the fact that his season was taken away from him like that. We need guys to step up.”
On Miami fans wanting public thank you:
“I gave everything and more to this city when I was here. I would never disrespect this city, or the franchise, or any of my teammates. Everything is professional. I gave it all. That’s all I can do.”
Has he spoken to Pat Riley?
“No, I haven’t. If the opportunity presents itself I don’t mind, but I don’t know what his mindset is.”
Ever think of ‘what if’ had he stayed?
“No, I can’t do that anymore. I can’t live in the past or live with regrets. I got to live in the future or live in the present moment, and, you know, what do you guys want from me? I go out and play the game of basketball at a high level no matter uniform I’m in, no matter what city I’m in, you know. I’ll give you guys one huge press conference when I’m done with this and you guys can ask me anything, but for now just try to appreciate what I do on the floor.”
Would he like to see his jersey retired in Miami?
“It doesn’t matter. That’s an organizational thing. If they feel like I did enough to be up in the rafters with my jersey retired, I’ll be here when they put it up. If not, I’ll be home.”
On relationship now with Heat organization:
“I mean, I don’t know. I moved to another organization, so my relationship is where it stood before, but if not I don’t mind it as well. I’m here in Cleveland, I’m back home and I’m feeling good.”
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The Rockets are considered frontrunners to sign free agent Josh Smith when he clears waivers on Wednesday, but that didn't stop Heat co-captains Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem from expressing interest in the player.
Wade and Haslem would like Smith to join Miami and help fill in for injured power forward Josh McRoberts. Smith was released by the Pistons on Monday and is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday. McRoberts underwent season-ending knee surgery on Monday, and the Heat applied for the Disabled Player Exception in hopes of using $2.6 million on Smith.
“He’s an amazing talent,” Haslem said. “He definitely could help us. He’s another big guy who can handle the ball and make plays similar to what Josh can do.”
Smith fell out of favor with Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy, but Wade said Smith could thrive in the right environment. His implication, of course, is that Miami is the right environment for the free-shooting forward.
“My initial thoughts with Josh Smith is the same as anyone’s initial thoughts,” Wade said. “He’s a very talented guy who can, in the right situation and right place, can help a team and a team can help him.
“From there, he has a decision to make. A lot of teams will be open arms for a guy like that and we’re no different, but that’s pretty much all I’ve got to say about that until the decision is made.”
The Heat would need to release a player to make room for Smith on the 15-man roster. Rookie Andre Dawkins and second-year pro Justin Hamilton could be released to make room for Smith. Both players are in one-year contracts.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Heat rookie James Ennis had 16 points off the bench in the Heat's 100-84 victory against the Celtics on Sunday. Dwyane Wade was out with a sore knee, so Ennis received minutes at backup shooting guard and made the most of the opportunity. He had 10 points in the fourth quarter, including two three-pointers and this monster put-back dunk.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Josh McRoberts will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus this week, which means he could be out for the remainder of the season. Considering McRoberts was one of the Heat's most important free-agent signings this summer, the impact of this injury will reverberate for the rest of the season.
How bad is it for the Heat right now? Well, consider that Dwyane Wade offered these thoughts last night before he knew about McRoberts' injury:
— "We would love to play with all our guys right now and give ourselves a chance, but we can't — we can't," Wade said. "That's not in the cards for us to do right now."
— "Right now, beginning of the year, end of the year — we're going to need everybody," Wade said. "We're not strong enough to be without someone. Our team is build to play together, and we haven't had that opportunity, so it's very unfortunate."
The Heat's outlook seems bleak, but all is not lost with McRoberts gone. After all, he never was really around this season to begin with. That said, the Heat will need to make some adjustments to overcome the loss. Erik Spoelstra had big plans for McRoberts — and still does, presumably — but all that is now on hold until most likely next season. Even if McRoberts rejoins the team for the playoffs, it's not as if the Heat will be in a position that late in the season to make major changes to its system. So, what's next?
Well, in the short term, the Heat has little with which to work. Chris Bosh has a strained calf and Dwyane Wade is still suffering from the illness that has been passed around the locker room in recent weeks. Bosh is out for Tuesday's game in Brooklyn — and could be out a few weeks — and Wade is questionable. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said on Monday that Wade might not even travel to Brooklyn. At this point, Wade is probably better served getting healthy than playing through an illness, but he did make the trip to Brooklyn.
So, where does that leave the Heat?
Miami was already thin in the frontcourt before McRoberts' injury, so adding another big is certainly being considered. Hassan Whiteside was recalled from Sioux Falls on Monday, and he'll likely play heavy minutes on Tuesday against the Nets. Making matters worse for the Heat, center Justin Hamilton bruised his quad on Sunday against the Bulls and is questionable against the Nets. That's a short-term problem, though. Long-term the Heat could use another power forward beyond Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen.
If McRoberts remains out for the rest of the season, the Heat could use an injured-player exception to sign a big. The team would have to cut a player to make that work, though, and the Heat has already made a commitment to developing talent.
Fans are already asking about protected draft picks and tanking this year, but that's not the Heat's style. (In case you're wondering, the Heat's first-round pick is Top 10 protected.) The Heat is going to fight for a playoff spot, and a low seed is still very much in play for this team. Wade said it best on Sunday night before he even knew about McRoberts' injury: "You're in the Eastern Conference. You're not that far out."
Heat forward Chris Bosh indicated after Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bulls that he could be out for a while. The Heat plays the Nets on Tuesday in Brooklyn and Bosh is doubtful for that game, but he could be out a few weeks.
Bosh missed the game against Chicago with a strained calf, and he's not sure when the injury occurred. That's troubling news. Bosh hadn't missed a game this season until Sunday, and he pointed to simple "wear and tear" as a possible reason for the strain. He added that precaution and rest are the two most important things for him right now. If he tries to play through the injury, he said it could worsen and "the muscle could tear away from the bone."
"It's disappointing," Bosh said. "Usually you know when something gives and you kind of feel it over the course of a game and you can point to a specific play when you felt something tweak, or whatever, but unfortunately that didn't happen for me. I guess it's a wear and tear thing. It kind of sprung up on me, and you just have to deal with the tough times right now."
Bosh was a glorified role player over the last four years, which allowed him to maintain his body a little easier. He averaged fewer than 30 minutes per game to begin last season, but his minutes are closer to 36 per game now. He is the team's anchor on both offense and defense, which wasn't the case last year when he had LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to help carry the load.
Bosh said he has never experienced a "wear and tear" injury before in his career.
"And it really sucks that it's hitting me right now," Bosh said. "It's just, I don't know, it seems to be a dark cloud over everything right now. Everything seems to be tough. We're having a tough time building the chemistry becasue we haven't had many minutes together."
Wade was the Heat's primary offensive threat against the Bulls but was limited in the first half to just four points in less than 11 minutes due to foul trouble and double-teams. The Heat scored 32 points in its first half of the season without Bosh.
"If we have to play without Chris for a while, then hopefully no other guys will key on me and other guys will step up and make shots," Wade said.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Guard Shabazz Napier and center Hassan Whiteside both were assigned to the Heat's D-League affiliate on Saturday following the team's five-game road trip. The Heat defeated the Utah Jazz on Friday to finish the trip 2-3. Miami is 11-12 overall entering Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls.
Napier had been receiving significant minutes up until this week, but he only played three minutes against the Phoenix Suns. Napier played 13 minutes against the Nuggets on Wednesday and less than 10 minutes on Saturday in Utah. He heads to Sioux Falls averaging 5.7 points in less than 22 minutes per game.
Whiteside has appeared in three games for the Heat since being added to the roster in place of Shannon Brown.
Moving Napier to Sioux Falls might seem like an odd choice for the Heat given the timing, but keep in mind that Skyforce assistant and former Heat guard Chris Quinn is now a vital part of player development in Sioux Falls. Napier will now get the opportunity to work with Quinn one-on-one at least until he returns to the Heat's bench.
Monday, November 17, 2014
With a team suddenly limited by injuries, #Heat coach Erik Spoelstra finds himself relying on Mario Chalmers
HEAT (5-5) at NETS (4-5), 7:30 p.m., Barclays Center, Sun Sports/FM 104.3, AM 790 and WAQI 710 AM (Spanish)
LINE: Nets by 6 1/2 (Opened at 5 1/2.)
OFFICIALS: Derrick Stafford, Josh Tiven and James Williams
WHY WATCH: To see if the Heat can overcome all these injuries. Dwyane Wade (hamstring) and Josh McRoberts (foot) are both out and now Luol Deng is questionable with an injured wrist.
SPO-SPEAK: "We're not making any excuses for injuries or guys in and out of the lineup. That's this league. What we talked about today at shootaround, welcome to the NBA. Every team is dealing with it. If they're not dealing with it now, then they're dealing with it at some point. So, it's how you manage that and how you respond. Are you getting better or getting worse?"
IS MARIO CHALMERS A STARTER OR BACKUP? "You have to get to know your team, and we need Rio to be out there, so I'm trying to balance him to do both. He needs to play 35 minutes plus. He needs to start the game, but he also needs to be our back-up [shooting guard]. Welcome to our team."
Saturday, November 15, 2014
MY GAME STORY LINK: CLICK ME!
Poor defense has plagued the Heat during its two-game losing skid. The Pacers out-rebounded the Heat 53-28 on Wednesday on and Friday the Heat's defense allowed the Hawks to shoot 56 percent from the field.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra...
ON THE LOSS: "There were a handful of times when we were able to impose our will. It takes a tremendous amount of effort, multiple efforts and activity to be able to defend offensive teams like this. We certainly felt with Dwyane [Wade] out that we scored enough to give ourselves a chance to win, but we never got to the defensive disposition and mind-set that you need to win against a team like this in their building."
ON CHRIS ANDERSEN'S LIMITED MINUTES: "I actually had the intension to play him in the first half, but I went with [Udonis Haslem]. It looked a little bit out there, but Bird will be out there Sunday."
WHY DID JAMES ENNIS START: "To keep Mario [Chalmers] in the second unit, and to stabilize that unit. Instead, he played 40 minutes."
Chris Bosh ...
ON THE POOR FIRST QUARTER: "We're not getting off to good starts defensively, whether it's the coverages or the man-to-man defenses, they're blowing by us, we're not helping each other or we have no weak-side defense. It just wasn't there for the last two games."
"Eventually we're going to have to turn the corner. This is our ninth game, and we have to start showing ourselves that we know what we're doing out there."
ON THE GAME: "How many points did we score?  That's enough points to win, and I feel strongly about that. That's enough points to win, and we have to play better defense. That's what it all comes down to. Our shot selections was poor in the beginning of the game and we eventually got going and figured out how to play together...and after that, we've got to make a stand — 103 points, I'll take that every game. If we want to average 103 points for the rest of the season then that's great, but we can't give up 116 or 120. We've got to play some defense."
Friday, November 14, 2014
HEAT (5-3) at HAWKS (4-3), 7:30 p.m., Sun Sports
LINE: Hawks by 4. Opened at Hawks by 3, but then dropped before to Hawks by 2 before Dwyane Wade ruled himself out for the game.
OFFICIALS: Tom Washington, David Jones, JT Orr
OF NOTE: Wade announced he would miss the game after Friday morning's shootaround at Georgia Tech. Wade said he injured his left hamstring at the beginning of the Heat's loss to the Pacers on Wednesday. Wade could be out a while as a precaution. He missed nine games at the end of the 2013-14 season due to a sore hamstring.
WHY WATCH: The Hawks have won three in a row while the Heat is trying to boucne back from its 75-point performance against the No Name Pacers on Wednesday. Both the Heat and Hawks now feature similar offensive styles predicated on ball movement and Friday night's matchup will be the first of four meetings between the two division opponents this season.
SPO-SPEAK: “It’s not always going to work out smoothly, ball moving, everyone in great rhythm like it was in Dallas. There are games you’re going to have to develop some team and collective grit and figure out how to win. And those can be very gratifying at the end, particularly when you don’t play great.”
LINEUP SPECULATION: With Wade out of the lineup, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is faced with his first major lineup decision of the regular season. He could go a number of ways, including starting Shannon Brown, Mario Chalmers or even rookie Jame Ennis at shooting guard. Another possibility could be Norris Cole coming off the bench and Chalmers starting alongside Shabazz Napier. That seems unlikely, but Napier will likely get more minutes one way or another over the next week or so.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
GAME STORY LINK: CLICK ME!
The Pacers turned ugly into art and embarrassed the Heat 81-75 on Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami was out-rebounded 53-28. It was the lowest scoring total for the Heat on its home court since the 2009-10 season.
In addition to the rebounding problems, the Heat went 8 of 18 from the free-throw line. The Pacers won despite shooting 37.5 percent from the field and recording more turnovers (16) than assists (13).
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra...
ON THE REBOUNDING: “I’ll have to get to the film, but certainly more block outs and we have to be a gang-rebound team. It can’t be just a one individual and that certainly hurt us tonight. We’re all well aware of that.”
ON THE MISSED FREE THROWS: “These are those types of games that you would really like to see your team to find a way to grind it out when you’re not necessarily in a great rhythm. It’s a defensive game. It’s a grind out game and you like to find a way to win ugly at the end. Whatever, just make some plays. We had some foul trouble. We had some free throw opportunities that we came up short but we still had enough plays to make that we didn’t.”
Heat center Chris Bosh went 3 of 13 for nine points and had two rebounds. He tipped his hat to Pacers center Roy Hibbert after the game.
“Nothing was going my way tonight," Bosh said. “I can’t say that we should’ve had this one because we didn’t play well. We missed free-throws. We didn’t move the ball. We didn’t play well enough to win. We can’t do that and then expect to dig ourselves out of a hole. We’re not that good. We have to play a full game.”
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
PACERS (2-6) AT HEAT (5-2), 7:30 p.m., Sun Sports, ESPN
LINE: Heat by 8 1/2 (Opened at 10.)
OFFICIALS: Scott Foster, Eric Lewis, Eli Roe
WHY WATCH: The Pacers are bruised and broken to begin the season, but tonight's nationally televised game is still the first matchup between the Heat and Pacers since last season's Eastern Conference finals.
SPO-SPEAK: “It’s still Indiana, so you know they’re going to bring it defensively,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They’re not going to allow you to have easy opportunities on the paint. You’re going to have to work your offense with force, with poise and the ball is going to have to move. The more shortcuts you try to take, the more it plays right into their hands.”
ON THE 5-2 START: “It’s not even about that right now,” Spoelstra said. “It’s about our habits. Are we coming in to work to get better? And the guys have been great. They have a real lunch pail, hardhat mentality to come in here and work and work the process to try to get better.
“You’re seeing some of the improvement, but we have a long way to go, particularly on the defensive end. And there is no shortcut to it. You just have to put in the time. You have to put in the sweat equity.”
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Dwyane Wade has played in every game this season and he'll be in the starting lineup on Sunday night here in Dallas. He's feeling good, his body has responded well to the beginning of the season and his team has a better record than his good buddy LeBron James up in Cleveland.
In other words, it's a good time to weigh in on the NBA's biggest story to start the season, the early struggles of those very same Cavaliers and LeBron's role on the team. Any advice Wade would give LeBron at this point in the season?
“He has all the tools he needs,” Wade said. “We’ve been through it together where we ran into struggles as a team. You’re going to do that in the season whether it’s in the beginning of the season, or sometimes in the middle or sometimes at the end. He’s a four-time MVP. He’s a two-time champion. I’m sure he’ll figure it out as a leader."
The Heat is 4-2 entering Sunday's game against the Mavericks and the Cavaliers are 2-3 with a home game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night. In a sense, both the Heat and Cavaliers are starting from scratch this season, so the situations are similar just with far less media pressure in Miami.
"We’re six games in for some teams and less for others, so it’s so premature to be worrying about guys struggling or guys playing well," Wade said. "We’re yet to see how it’s really going to shake out.”
Saturday, November 08, 2014
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
#LeBron James is channeling his inner Erik Spoelstra in Cleveland (Let's run through the #Spoisms checklist)
LeBron James is sounding a lot like Heat coach Erik Spoelstra these days, and NBA insiders familiar with the Heat’s locker-room culture have been taking notice.
James and the Cleveland Cavaliers dropped below .500 on Tuesday with a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, and afterwards James began reeling off a list of classic Spoelstra catchphrases and go-to nuggets of wisdom about team development. The unique and repetitive jargon or “coach speak” — known as “Spoisms” — has become one of Spoelstra’s most endearing trademarks.
“It's going to be a process,” James said at Portland’s Moda Center after the loss to the Trail Blazers. “I keep on harping on that word, but it's the truth. I've been there before and understand it. But you do have to go through it even though you don't like to go through it."
Or, as Spoelstra might say, the Cavaliers just need to “respect the process,” and avoid listening to “outside noise” because those distractions are just “someone else’s truth.”
James scored just 11 points in Portland, including two points over the final three quarters of the game. He never scored 11 or fewer points in a regular-season game with the Heat and the last time he has scored just two points over a three-quarter stretch was his rookie year, according to ESPN.
While James only attempted four shots in the second half, teammates Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters combined to go 6 of 29 from the field for the game.
"There's a lot of bad habits — a lot of bad habits have been built up over the last couple of years, and when you play that style of basketball it takes a lot to get it up out of you," James said. "But I'm here to help and that's what it's about."
Irving and Waiters might just need to “sacrifice” more for the team, as Spoelstra is inclined to repeat … ad nauseam.
"Everyone wants to win, I would hope," James said. "Would you rather play selfish basketball and lose, or play unselfish basketball and sacrifice and win? So you pick it."
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
With corporate logos on the way, Josh McRoberts is just ahead of his time with the jersey-ripping thing
Heat forward Josh McRoberts is still an unknown quantity with his new team, but that doesn't mean he hasn't already made an impression on fans. In his first home game since coming back from offseason toe surgery, McRoberts wasted no time in cultivating his appeal when he ripped his jersey down the middle like Hulk Hogan.
The destruction of McRoberts' jersey looked intentional — like a baseball player breaking a bat over his knee — but on Monday the former Bobcats man said that wasn't the case.
"It looked crazy," McRoberts said. "It looked like I was trying to rip it apart. I usually just pull on it and hold onto the top of it...When it started to go, it just went and it made it look like I was ripping it even more. But it wasn't cool."
So, it doesn't sound McRoberts is going to make the jersey-ripping thing part of the nightly show, and that's too bad. Just think of all the marketing and sponsorship opportunities...OK, I can't think of any off hand, but when the Heat and other NBA teams slap corporate logos on their jerseys in a few years, players who rip those things in half will be cult heroes.
"They make them a little bit different every year," McRoberts said. "I'll let you decide what different means."
A long-time player for the Chicago Bulls and now a starter for the Miami Heat, forward Luol Deng has played for two of the best coaches in the Eastern Conference. On Tuesday, he offered some insightful commentary on the difference between the Bulls’ offensive philosophy under coach Tom Thibodeau and the offensive principles that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra uses:
“Here our guards are more pick-and-roll and trying to find the open guy and the next guy is making a play and it’s becoming contagious. In Chicago we slowed the game down, we got stops and we slowed it down and tried to get the best shot possible that we could get. We stuck to the plays. Here it’s more of reads. You read the game, and guys have a high IQ and they’re just making plays after plays and making each other better.”
Deng has fit in well with his new team through the first three games of the season. He's averaging 15.0 points per game while shooting 57.6 percent from the floor.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Luol Deng on facing the Hawks following this summer's controversy: 'Obviously, that’s going to be in the back of your head'
Heat forward Luol Deng plays the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday for the first time since the organization used offensive language to describe him in a scouting report.
“Obviously that’s going to be in the back of your head, but it’s the players that you’re playing against,” Deng said. “They’re not the ones who said what was said.”
During a meeting with Hawks executives and owners over the summer, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry disparaged Deng by calling into question his character. Ferry also inferred that Deng’s African heritage somehow detracted from his abilities as a basketball player. Following the controversy, Ferry was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the team.
Deng hopes to use the incident to “do something so someone benefits for the mistaken that was made,” but the Heat’s forward hasn’t had any contact with Ferry or the Hawks. Deng said on Monday after practice that he was closer to signing with the Hawks than the Heat at one point during free agency, and that interest from Chris Bosh helped sway Deng to the Heat.
The Heat waived Chris Johnson and Reggie Williams after returning from Rio de Janeiro. The roster stands at 18 players, but teams can only carry 15 players during the regular season.
At this point, five players are competing for two roster spots: guards Shannon Brown, Tyler Johnson and Andre Dawkins, and forwards Khem Birch and Shawn Jones. Based on playing time and the Heat's needs, Brown and Dawkins appear to have inside tracks, but even those players aren't locks. The Heat also could waive all five players and sign two free agents to fill out its roster.
Dawkins is a young player with nice range, and that combination is tough to find on the Heat's roster. Brown offers a tough veteran presence and he told the Miami Herald last week that he's confident he'll be making the team.
No.1 Don't drink the water.
I'm not saying I went around chugging the stuff from the tap, but somewhere along the way my body was invaded by black death. Still, I managed to write THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and I'm back at practice today, but don't ask me how.
No.2 Blanket statement here: Chocolate in Brazil can save the world.
No.3 Huge growth potential for the NBA in Brazil. During one 15-minute walk, I saw about 10 beach volleyball players who could probably play right now in the D-League.
No.4 Good luck covering the Olympics, guys and gals. Get ready for all-day bus rides.
No.5 Those girls don't think you're cute. Those girls are working.
No.6 The NBA should adopt tassel nets.
No.7 When in doubt, stay as close as possible to the guys with the big guns.
No.9 They know how to throw parties in Rio.
No.10 The Heat is a long way from ready for the regular season.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
#### UPDATE ####
—So, I'm all set to go cover Heat practice after a nine-hour flight and a long wait in customs and an even longer bus ride. I get on the elevator heading down to the lobby in this hotel in Rio ON THE BEACH and the lift stops at the third floor.
The doors open and there's Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his top assistant, David Fizdale, and they're both staring at me ... and not getting on the elevator. Spoelstra then smiles one of his Spo smiles, and the doors close. I get off at the lobby prepared to board the bus for another ride...and that's when I figured out what that Spo smile meant.
The Heat canceled practice today.
FROM EARLIER TODAY
For the first time in over four years, the Heat is on the outside staring into the LeBron fishbowl, and that reality is going to set in here in Rio de Janeiro over the next three days.
In the meantime, Chris Bosh says he's just happy to be here.
“I’m looking forward to having a great time,” Bosh said. “I’ve never been. I think this is a chance for us to soak in another culture and take a nice trip in the NBA, so this is always a good opportunity to see the world. If it wasn’t for basketball, I wouldn’t have gone to 100 percent of the places that I’ve been to, so I’m very excited and looking forward to meeting to some Brazilians.”
Such an ambassador, that Christopher Wesson Bosh.
So ... this Rio place is pretty exciting, and I can't wait to experience it (or experience as much of it as the NBA security apparatus will allow. We had some kind of serious police/military/commando escort from the airport to the hotel, which is across the street from the beach.)
My first bit of Rio exploration invovled me trying a Coca-Cola. I just had to do. Coke! ... In Rio! ... And it tastes like Coke!
Next on the agenda is Heat practice from 2-4 p.m. local time. (Rio is an hour ahead of Miami.) I'll update the blog accordingly, and in the meantime drink more Coke to stay awake.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Norris Cole started at point guard and he played well, so that was a major positive for the Heat on Tuesday night in its second preseason game, a 108-101 overtime loss to the Orlando Magic.
Now the bad news.
While Cole's debut at helm of the offense helped calm some troubled waters, it is already obvious (and sometimes painfully so) that the Heat's needs at point guard go well beyond who is introduced on the videoboard before the game. Starter is important, yes, but so is depth, and the Heat doesn't it have it right now in the backcourt.
The memory of LeBron James has cast a long shadow over the position.
Cole finished with six assists and two points in less than 27 minutes, and that allowed Mario Chalmers to come off the bench as something of a hybrid guard. I wouldn't call it a true Sixth Man role at this point because, well, he also had to do plenty of ball handling, which has never been a true strength. The Heat could use a third point guard, but rookie Shabazz Napier is developing slowly.
Napier has received minutes at the end of both preseason games, but nothing more, and he has had trouble getting off shots, which is a troubling.
Cole noted after that game that the Heat had been sloppy at point guard to begin camp and he focused on cleaning some of that up. The Heat had 22 assists to nine turnovers overall (not bad), but was an even better 17-to-4 in turnover-to-assist ratio entering the fourth quarter.
—James Ennis was a bright spot once again for a rebuilding team looking for young and athletic players at a bargain. Ennis 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in less than 29 minutes of work, and also sparked the comeback near the end of regulation.
—Chris Bosh finished with 18 points and looked better than his preseason debut against Anthony Davis in New Orleans.
—Can't blog much tonight. Gotta catch a bus to the airport and then a flight to Brazil.
Stuff from the Heat's shootaround today, including Spoelstra on LeBron, Stan Van Gundy and this 'microwave society' we all live in
Dwyane Wade called the Heat’s point-guard position a work in progress on Tuesday after the Heat’s shoot around. The progress continues tonight with a home preseason game against the Orlando Magic before the team boards a plane for Brazil. The Heat plays LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday in Rio, and one of the biggest voids the Heat must fill after losing LeBron is at point guard. Mario Chalmers is the veteran at the position, but his role as completely different last year than what it is expected to be this season. Norris Cole is the backup at the position, but pushing to be the starter.
“We’ll need them to be aggressive,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his point guards this season. “They’ll have more opportunities than they have in the past. I don’t want them thinking they have to shoulder all the responsibility to create opportunities for the rest of the team, but the more aggressive they are and the more confident they are, the better it is for us.”
Tons more from shootaround Spoelstra today:
## On the offense:
“We’ve made some progress. We’re trying to balance the two so we’re really trying to set the tone defensively for this training camp. But offensively we’ve been spending this time trying to build continuity and trust and working on helping each other get open shots. I thought the other with the second unite they did a very good job of moving the ball and helping each other.”
--The Heat has put in long hours in the gym in the last two days after a poor showing against the New Orleans Pelicans. Spoelstra is hoping for a result (or at least a few major signs of progress) tonight against the Magic:
“We spent the last two days really working on the whole group and we really made some progress. We’ll see tonight when we get some real defense out there.”
## How to implement an offense with a guy as important and unique as Josh McRoberts out with an injury:
“I think that’s what helps because he is so unique and so skilled and has such a high IQ, Josh can fit in to virtually any kind of offense and he’ll make it work and he’ll make it seem to flow. When you think of flow, that’s usually when you have either a super-high IQ point guard, or a super-skilled high IQ big, and that just helps the flow of your offense. I think he’ll be able to fit in. He’s doing things in practice and he’s very observant. He asks all the right questions. But a lot of what we’re doing anyway is because of the skill level of our bigs.”
##On the progress of James Ennis:
“We went into it with an open mind and the way we’re looking at James is we want to invest time in him. It has been two summers and two summer leagues and one training camp, partially, and he has made progress. We just want to continue for him to grow, and get better and understand our system and see where he can go. He’s already much better than he was last summer. When you have young players like that who are hungry and who also have a very good work ethic, you don’t know what their ceiling can be”
--So, it sounds like Ennis is still very much a work in progress. Spoelstra used a lot of D-League buzzwords and phrases there if you were paying attention.
##Where is Luol Deng fitting offensively:
“I think he fits in with all those intangible gaps. He is really a versatile player, which obviously we like those kind of guys. They can do a lot of different things. But he is very comfortable and efficient playing off the ball. And I think that fits into our system very well with his cuts and his secondary post ups and his offensive rebounding and his random, miscellaneous drives. And we think he is an underrated shooter. So all of these things we think fit with the type of game we’re doing because he makes it work.”
##On Stan Van Gundy returning to the profession:
“I’m sure the Detroit press is loving it. They’re going to have a new storyline every single day. But Stan definitely seems reinvigorated. We text now probably more than we talk because both of us our so busy. But we text enough. I probably fired off a text right before training camp asking him, ‘Are you sure this is really what you want to do? I’m sure it is quite different than what he was doing last September, just hanging out.’”
##Van Gundy was out the league for two seasons. Will he have to play catch up? What’s different in the league then and now?
“Stan is super sharp. He’ll figure out whatever adjustments…it wasn’t like he was on a total exodus from the league. He was watching the league, and saw how everything was going. That’s one of his strengths, being able to adapt.”
## Has Van Gundy mellowed out at all?
“No, not at all. I wish I had more time to talk to him. It’s just that I love the give and take and arguing and hilarity of the conversations usually. And it might not have anything remotely to do with basketball. Oftentimes it’s not.”
## On the Heat’s coaching staff and how it’s working out?
“Number one, we wanted it to be a player development staff. Number 2, there is great continuity and No.3 there is great versatility. Guys with a lot of different backgrounds and former head coaching experience. Keith [Smart] is only 50 years old and he has a wealth of NBA experience. And we have future head coaches in line and everybody is hungry and ready to work because there is going to have to be a lot of work done this year.”
## With the TV deal and player contracts getting shorter, the importance of having core Heat players like Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade:
“It is absolutely vital. It is absolutely critical in our microwave society now, and it is seeping into pro sports more than ever. We always talk about how there is constant change and turnover in pro sports, well now it is on steroids. Your windows to put together great teams are shorter, your windows to even have a familiar group of guys to build a culture is shorter. And if you don’t have that consistency in your organization, you’re leaving it to random chance. That’s the toughest thing to do, to build consistency and continuity, and it starts with your ownership and your management and then everything just falls into line from there. So, the one thing you can count on with the Heat is stability. That doesn’t guarantee you anything, but at least it gives you a head start.”
## What will it be like facing LeBron on Saturday?
“I haven’t gotten to that point, but it will probably be a little strange. At least we’re in a different country for it, so the whole trip will be a different experience.”
Monday, October 06, 2014
This is a running blog post of all the entertaining stuff Mario Chalmers writes on Twitter and/or Instagram...
This is a great thing, this new blog-post idea, because I can pretty much speculate about whatever I want because Mario Chalmers is so enjoyably vague and tenebrous when he communicates with ... his fans? ... his teammates? ... his coaches? ... his family? ... himself? I'm not quite sure, but does it matter? That's also part of the fun, obviously. Who the heck is Mario Chalmers talking to and what on Earth is he talking about?
Monday, Oct. 6, 2014
Is Mario Chalmers benched?
I raise this question based on purely anecdotal evidence, if you even want to call it that. After a long day of practice, in which the team ran over its scheduled stopping time by at least an hour, Chalmers posted this to Instagram:
"After the day of negativity I had it's good to b around some positive energy..."
Why would Chalmers be depressed? Well, being demoted to second-string point guard is enough to put anyone from Miami in a bad mood. (Of course, so is being in stuck in traffic on Biscayne Boulevard waiting on that damn bridge, or getting busted for smash porn, or, you know, getting plucked from your bubble by the Coast Guard.) Anyway, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has said several times during training camp that competition is wide open at point guard. Norris Cole has made it clear that he is pushing to be the team's starter, and, of course, Chalmers didn't exactly have the best possible finish to the 2014 playoffs.
He was benched for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and there was probably a time after The Finals when he thought he wasn't returning to the Heat.
Anyway, Chalmers went 0 of 2 for two points in the Heat's preseason opener. He played just 21 minutes and recorded two assists and two turnovers. Meanwhile, Cole played more than 23 minutes and went 4 of 8 from the field for 10 points and had four steals, two assists and didn't commit a turnover.
It is of vital importance this season that the Heat identities a reliable point guard who can manage a game, run the team's offense and score some points. The Heat didn't have a true point guard during its championship run because, of course, LeBron.
Last week we asked the all-important question "Is it time to start worrying about the Heat's projected starting power forward?" and the answer appears to be yes. Yes, it is time to worry.
On Monday, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra indicated that Josh McRoberts might not be cleared medically in time for the start of the regular season. The Heat opens the season on Oct. 29 with a home game against the Washington Wizards. McRoberts is recovering from offseason surgery on is left great toe.
“It’s too early to tell, but he’s doing a lot,” Spoelstra said. “I anticipate he’ll increase his workload significantly in the next week to 10 days.
The Heat plays the Orlando Magic at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday before flying to Brazil for a preseason game against LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. McRoberts certainly isn't expected to play in either game unless, of course, Spoelstra is being completely evasive, which sometimes he is wont to do.
But, for the purposes of this blog post, let's assume McRoberts is out for at least the next 10 days, which means at best he'll be back for the Heat's preseason home game against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 17. That appears to be a best-case scenario.
McRoberts missed the Heat's preseason opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, which rasied more questions than it answered, and it's beginning to seem like there will be plenty of questions revolving around this team by the time the season starts. For starters, McRoberts is supposed to be an important piece to the team's new offensive system, so if McRoberts isn't playing preseason games and participating fully in practice, then the Heat can't really implement much of what it plans to build upon throughout the season.
So, that's kind of a problem.
It means that even if McRoberts is healthy by the season opener, and plays against the Wizards, the team will only be starting at square one. On top of that, the Heat will be playing without LeBron James for the first time in four years. Some major growing pains could be in store for the Eastern Conference's four-time defending champions, but, hey, it could always be worse.
## Chris Andersen went through a full practice session on Monday, according to Spoelstra, but Andersen remains questionable for Tuesday's game due to a sore calf and foot.
## Asked if all 20 players in camp were traveling to Brazil on Tuesday night, Spoelstra said yes, but left room for doubt. "Yes, as of right now," he said.
## A story on how the NBA's new national television deals could affect the Heat will be in Tuesday's paper.
Saturday, October 04, 2014
STUFF I'M THINKING ABOUT
1. Could rookie forward James Ennis average more than 10 points per game as a rookie?
If that actually happened, everyone in the Heat's scouting department should get raises. An unexpected offensive infusion this season from someone like Ennis would certainly help compensate for the loss of LeBron James. Ennis led the Heat with 17 points tonight in Miami's 98-86 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Ennis, who played in Perth, Australia, last year, is an athletic wing who has put in the work developing his outside shot since graduating from Long Beach State. The Heat is hoping for big things from Ennis as a back-up to Luol Deng, and he delivered in his first NBA preseason game.
2. Birdman and Josh McRoberts didn't play. Is it time to start worrying?
Probably not, but it's not a positive sign that Chris Andersen finished last season with an injury and he's nursing another injury after the first week of training camp. Soreness and aches and pains are common in the preseason, of course, but for someone who relies so much on athleticism, it's at least worth noting. Josh McRoberts is being held out as a precaution after having surgery on his toe after last season's playoffs. That's not unusual either, but a lot is expected out of McRoberts this season and it would help if he could use the preseason to learn the Heat's system while also getting into shape (as opposed to doing that over the first month of the regular season).
3.Did Chris Bosh shoot at all during the offseason?
Chris Bosh went 3 of 13 in his debut as the Heat's offensive focal point. As first impression go, that's not a good one. Does it matter? Not one iota, of course. It's the first preseason game. Still, Bosh's poor night shooting isn't going to build any confidence among teammates. He'll need to round into form before the season starts, and the first preseason home game on Tuesday against the Orlando Magic would be a good time to start.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Stuff I saw at the Heat scrimmage and other things from training camp like the depth chart and also some craft beer
So, let's start this blog post by first making note that, while I was setting up my laptop and munching on some carrots courtside on Wednesday night before the Heat's scrimmage, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra walked up for some small talk and asked, "What could you possibly write about this scrimmage or take away from it?" or something like that.
And then I wrote this: MY STORY IN TODAY'S PAPER ABOUT THE HEAT'S SCRIMMAGE
Spoelstra also asked me if I was on a gluten-free diet because I was eating carrots and almonds, and I assured him that, no, I prefer gluten over all other protein composites because, well, obviously and also and such and such and so on.
Well, turns out, there were things worth observing from the scrimmage — important things, actually. As in, who didn't play.
Chris Andersen didn't compete in the scrimmage and neither did Josh McRoberts. Andersen has a sore calf muscle, and of course you would have known this immediately last night if you follow me on Twitter. McRoberts still hasn't been fully cleared by the Heat's training staff after having surgery on his left great toe following last season's playoffs, but we already knew that and asked this question about McRoberts on Wednesday afternoon.
—The training camp roster stands at 20 players right now and a lot of people are probably wondering who's going to make the team because there are 13 new players in camp. Five players will be cut before the regular season and fans are always wondering about the 13th, 14th and 15th players on the roster because it's important to people who will sit on the bench all season or get shipped back and forth between Sioux Falls.
So, right now I'd say Justin Hamilton, Shawne Williams and Andre Dawkins are the 13th, 14th and 15th players, but in no particular order. Hamilton can't compete in contact drills until Oct. 20 after being diagnosed with a heart flutter on Monday, so that might hurt his chances.
—I spoke to Hamilton on Wednesday night and he said he was doing fine and feeling great. He was treated on Monday for his heart flutter, so hopefully everything is back to normal for him very soon. He had a great season in Sioux Falls last year before being signed by the Charlotte Hornets and then the Heat.
—Note: Hamilton has a trigger on his one-year, non-guaranteed contract this season that pays him about $400,000 if he's still on the team on Dec.1. Hamilton has already been paid half of his contract, which started at the end of last season.
DEPTH CHART AFTER THE FIRST WEEK OF CAMP
Chalmers entered camp in good shape, which is important because his backup is a fitness nut and a workaholic and gunning for starting point-guard role. Chalmers had some good moments during the scrimmage, but his attempted alley-oop off the glass to Tyler Johnson was a poor decision.
Always improving, Cole's development as a point guard could give the Heat some options this season on the depth chart. If Cole can start at point guard, then Chalmers might come off the bench to spell Dwyane Wade. Chalmers could be a solid Sixth Man if put in the right situation, at least that's what the Heat might be thinking.
The Heat is hoping he can develop fast enough to be a viable option as a backup. That would free up Chalmers to be the Sixth Man, and allow Cole to be the starter. The most important thing Napier can provide at this point is solid defense, and he did that during the scrimmage.
Did Dwyane Wade things early in the scrimmage. He's healthy, so that's all that really matters here.
Traveling call while being guarded by Napier wasn't a good moment, but other than that Brown provided a veteran presence. He was 3 of 4 from the field shooting.
Using a very light pencil here for Dawkins, who is an undrafted rookie. He is from Duke, though, and the Heat love their Duke players. He also shot the ball nicely in the scrimmage, and the Heat needs as many shooters as they can get right now.
Showed some of his offensive versatility in the second half. Finished the scrimmage with 15 points.
Granger missed some early three-pointers and then hesitated on a look. Spoelstra and assistant coach David Fizdale immediately reminded Granger to shoot whenever he's open. "That's why you're here," Spoelstra told him. Granger later provided a spark in the third quarter with a flurry of three-pointers. He'll need to do that often this season.
Found his confidence in the second half. The Heat likes Ennis' infusion of athleticism on the wing.
Sat out the scrimmage.
Also sat out the scrimmage.
Williams started alongside Wade, Deng, Chalmers and Bosh and took advantage of his opportunity. He had 17 points with three three-pointers.
His driving dunk is what everyone is talking about, but Bosh's leadership and energy are probably the things that most please the coaches.
Started bleeding in the first quarter and spent the break between the first and second quarters arguing with officials. Yep, he's ready.
Sat out the scrimmage.
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
A South Beach bling king from Ohio might be partly to blame for the Heatles break up, and for not only LeBron James going back to Cleveland, but also Mike Miller and James Jones joining the Cavaliers as well.
Haider Zafar of Ohio, who allegedly conned Miller, Jones and Rashard Lewis out of millions in 2013, is expected to plead guilty to multiple wire fraud charges, according to court documents filed on Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. The Heat amnestied Miller in 2013, but not before a Heat employee introduced Miller, Jones and Lewis to Zafar, who then swindled them to the tune of $7.5 million, according to a grand jury indictment.
So what does this have to do with LeBron going back to Cleveland? Well, let's just say the whole mess didn't help Miami's chances of keeping last year's team together.
It's well known at this point that the Heat angered LeBron by amnestying Miller not long after Miller helped the Heat repeat as NBA champions in 2013. Miller said earlier this week in Cleveland that LeBron thought the move "was an unnecessary change." That's Miller being nice, of course. Really what probably made LeBron most angry is that the Heat amnestied one of his best friends to save money and then squabbled with Miller over money a South Beach bling king stole from Miller and then, in an odd twist, gave to the Heat.
It's a bizarre tale, and one that certainly infuriates Miller, Jones and Lewis. It's probably not a coincidence then that all three of those players no longer play for the Heat.
The alleged con man, Zafar, posed as a successful businessman in 2013, and promised to invest money for the three former Heat players. Instead, he took the money and purchased a package of floor seats to Heat games for $1 million. In Miami, the term "South Beach bling king" is used to describe what everyone else in the country would simply call "the biggest d-bag imaginable on Planet Earth." Bling kings rent Ferraris and Lamborghinis, throw money around nightclubs, text on 95, drink Moet Chandon, race boats through manatee zones, and, when the Heat was going to The Finals every year, all the bling kings tried to be seen courtside at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Well, apparently at least one former Heat executive couldn't resist all that damn charm.
Stephen Weber, who used to be the Heat's executive vice president of sales, was just a smitten kitten for Zafar and his liberal consumption of Moet Chandon out of plastic flutes at Heat games. And what sales executive wouldn't love that guy? Guys who blow large sums of cash are good for business, right?
So, Zafar wanted to meet some Heat players and pull the ol' Nigerian prince bit. Weber set up the meetings between Zafar and Heat players, and apparently vouched for Zafar as well. According to Miller's attorney at the time, Weber told Miller that Zafar "was the real deal."
Of course, when lawyers get involved, stuff gets ugly. Long after Miller, Jones and Lewis figured out the game, Miller's attorney leaked news that Miller was thinking about suing the Heat. Zafar used $700,000 of Miller's money to buy the tickets and Miller wanted the Heat to give the money back. When the Heat and Miller couldn't agree on a settlement, tensions frayed even further.
LeBron, of course, knew about all of this last season.
Udonis Haslem signs on to be an executive producer of an inspiring film about a South Florida youth basketball coach with ALS
Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has signed on to be an executive producer of an inspiring film about a South Florida youth basketball coach with ALS.
The film “Who is Lou Gehrig?” is being directed by Gil Green, who is well known in the music video business and also directs commercials and the Heat’s player introduction videos. Green’s lifelong friend, Jeff Fogel, has ALS, but continues to coach girls’ youth basketball at the North Miami JCC. The movie will focus on Fogel’s powerful imagination, which he uses as a coaching tool.
“He doesn’t make it about himself and he doesn’t crawl into a shell and give into his circumstances and limit himself,” Haslem said of Fogel. “He continues to use his mind and use his heart to contribute to others and give back. For me, that’s just like the ultimate, because I’ve known people who have had diseases and illnesses and just kind of given up and gone into a shell.
“His story is inspiring.”
The finished film will be screened at this year's Borscht Film Festival, which is Dec. 18-21. The film will feature Haslem’s debut as an actor. He will play himself. Many of Fogel’s lessons as a coach revolve around his players imagining they’re playing for the Miami Heat.
Haslem has donated $10,000 to the project, but Green is still short of his financial goal to finish the film. For more information about donating to the project please visit the film’s page on KickStarter.com. The deadline for donations is Oct. 9.
Heat power forward Josh McRoberts will not play in the Heat’s preseason scrimmage on Wednesday night, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the team’s morning training session.
McRoberts had surgery after last season’s playoffs to remove bone spurs in his left great toe. The Heat is being overly cautious to work McRoberts back slowly. He is expected to start at power forward for the Heat this season. McRoberts' recovery process is a concern for the team, but nothing to panic about at this point.
“He has been able to do more each day,” Spoelstra said. “We’re progressing him. We’re trying to be smart about it. We’re still almost 30 days until the first game, so we want to make he’s taking steps forward and not steps back.
“But he had a great summer of the work. The last three weeks he was able to spend here in our facilities and work with our coaches but also get the necessary treatment and work with our training staff.”
McRoberts played well in an expanded role last season for the Charlotte Hornets, and the former Duke standout strengthened his profile and reputation with inspired play against the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. His physical confrontations with LeBron James highlighted the series.
Center Justin Hamilton will also miss Wednesday night’s scrimmage, which begins at 7 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena. A live video stream of the scrimmage will be available on Heat.com. Hamilton experienced dizziness due to a heart flutter on Monday and can’t compete in contract drills for at least three weeks.
Other players could sit out of the scrimmage as well.
“We’ll see how everyone is feeling after today’s workout,” Spoelstra said.