Miami Heat MiamiHerald.com Miami Heat Home Delivery

Monday, September 01, 2014

Assistant coaching shake-up changes personality of Heat's bench

Two long-time assistant coaches for the Heat will no longer be regular contributors to the day-to-day operations of the team.

Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo and coaching legend Ron Rothstein have been reassigned by the Heat, the Herald confirmed on Monday. McAdoo and Rothstein were both originally hired as assistants by Heat president Pat Riley. Yahoo Sports first reported the story.

With McAdoo and Rothstein likely off the bench, assistants David Fizdale, Dan Craig and Juwan Howard are expected to assume more prominent roles. Fizdale is considered one of the top assistants in the NBA and a likely future head coach in the league, Craig has a growing reputation as a talented skills coach and video researcher and Howard joined the Heat’s staff on a full-time basis last year.

This latest shake-up of the Heat’s bench is an extension of the team’s busy offseason. Riley and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did well to salvage the team’s roster after LeBron James left the team for the Cleveland Cavaliers. When preseason training begins later this month, the camp will have many familiar faces, but a notably different collective personality.

Spoelstra, who began his career as a video coordinator for the Heat, inherited assistants McAdoo and Rothstein from Riley's coaching staff. With the exception of Howard, all of Spoelstra's assistants now started their careers with the team in the video room. 

It’s unclear what roles McAdoo, 62, and Rothstein, 71, will have with the team. McAdoo was an assistant with the team for 19 seasons after a Hall of Fame career that began at the University of North Carolina and then spanned the NBA and Europe. Rothstein was equally beloved by longtime Heat fans. He was the Heat’s first head coach before his latest stint with the team.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Birdman is officially back

The Heat re-signed Chris Andersen on Saturday. Heat president Pat Riley on Birdman:

"Chris Andersen has had two great seasons with us and without him, we would not have been able to win the 2013 NBA Championship,” Riley said. “I’m happy he decided to come back and we’re looking forward to a great season from him in the power rotation.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

Haslem officially re-signs with the Heat

Udonis Haslem was the first player to leave millions on the table in the hopes of keeping the Heat together.

On Friday, the Heat rewarded him for his commitment to the franchise and the city and officially re-signed Haslem to a two-year deal. Haslem’s new deal was made official after an emotional three days that saw former Heat players Mike Miller and James Jones both join LeBron James in Cleveland.

“Udonis Haslem has been a fixture in Miami over the last 11 years,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “He's a team player, an encompassing all-purpose player, that would play just about any position or role in order to win.

Haslem, a three-time champion for the Heat along with Dwyane Wade, played a limited role in the 2014 NBA Finals, but he likely will be more involved in the Heat’s interior plans next season with outside-shooting forwards Shane Battier, Rashard Lewis and Jones no longer on the team.

Battier retired after the Finals and Lewis agreed to a one-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks late Tuesday night. Jones, in somewhat of a shocking move, agreed to leave the Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. Jones had said after the Finals that he wanted to remain with the Heat.

Haslem’s new contract, which the Heat will file under the collective bargaining agreement’s “room” exception, is reportedly worth $2.732 million in the first year. His old contract would have paid him $4.6 million next season. Under his new contract, Haslem is due a 4.5 percent raise for the 2015-16 season.

Haslem has left more money on the table out of loyalty to the Heat than many NBA players earn in their entire careers. He sacrificed potentially $14 million in 2010 to stay with the Heat and pursue championships with his hometown team, and he was rewarded with two more rings. Now, Haslem is set to become a Miami-Dade and South Florida legend for life.

Haslem is adored by Heat fans and the City of Miami and the Heat’s ownership and upper management view Haslem as the gold standard for a franchise that prides itself on toughness, loyalty and hard work, and preaches sacrifice for the team above all else.

Over the years, Haslem has sacrificed more than anyone else for the Heat, the team that gave him a chance as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He is entering his 12th year in the league and is already the Heat’s all-time leader in rebounds (5,332).

“It's been such a privilege and honor to have him with the organization and I'm so happy that he decided to come back,” Riley said.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

James Jones the latest former Heat player to join LeBron in Cleveland

Pat Riley couldn't keep them all in Miami, and on Wednesday forward James Jones agreed to join LeBron James in Cleveland, according to a report.

Jones, 33, spent six seasons with the Heat, winning two championships. Jones said at the end of the season that he wanted to remain in Miami, but LeBron apparently recruited Jones heavily. LeBron, Jones and Ray Allen went on vacation together to the Bahamas after the Heat lost to the Spurs in the NBA Finals.

LeBron received a commitment from another former Heat player on Tuesday when Mike Miller joined the Cavaliers. LeBron values both Jones and Miller for their abilities to spread the floor offensively on defense. LeBron openly called for Jones to be inserted into the Heat's rotation during the NBA playoffs.

Rashard Lewis is heading to the Dallas Mavericks

Rashard Lewis is moving on.

The Heat free agent has agreed to play for the Dallas Mavericks next season for the veteran's minimum, according to Yahoo Sports. Lewis played for two seasons with the Heat, and won a championship in 2013.

STORY: Heat signs Dwyane Wade and agrees to terms with Udonis Haslem

STORY: Luol Deng is the Heat's new "warrior."

Lewis joins a revamped Mavericks team that recently signed Chandler Parsons as a restricted free agent. Lewis will likely backup Parsons. The Mavericks also add center Tyson Chandler, guard Raymond Felton, forward Richard Jefferson and center Greg Smith.

"Rashard made a difficult decision to join Dallas after two memorable seasons in Miami," agent Colin Bryant told Yahoo Sports. "He would like to thank [Heat owners] Micky Arison, [executives] Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg and the entire Heat organization. He will always consider them family and champions.

"After talking to [Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle, he felt a comfort level with the Mavericks. He's excited to join another championship organization."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dwyane Wade calls Miami 'home' and himself a 'Heat lifer' on an emotional day

The emotional conclusion of the Heat’s free-agency saga came to a defiant end on Tuesday with Dwyane Wade finalizing a new deal to remain with the only professional team he has ever known.

Wade came to terms with the Heat and then sent out a message on Twitter calling Miami “home.”

“Home Is Where The Heart Is,” Wade wrote. “My Home, My City, My House…#HeatLifer”

Home and happiness and loyalty have been themes throughout the week for Wade, the Heat and LeBron James, who on Friday called the pull of home more powerful than the tug of what he had helped build in Miami. James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh beat a path to the NBA Finals for four-straight years and won two of the last three NBA championships. Now, the next time they’re on the court together, it will be as opponents.

Wade and Bosh give the Heat a strong core entering next season while James will be the leader of a young but talented roster in Cleveland.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Luol Deng, Mario Chalmers, Chris Andersen agree to deals with Heat

Life after LeBron is coming together for the Heat.

In major victories for the team considering where it was on Friday, the Heat finalized a two-year deal with small forward Luol Deng on Sunday afternoon and followed that up with new contracts for Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen. Sunday’s haul gives the Heat four important free-agent signings since losing out on LeBron James. Chris Bosh, the most important piece of all, provided the Heat with vital free-agency momentum on Friday when he agreed to become the team’s interior anchor. Bosh was expected to sign a five-year max contract worth $118 million.

The Heat has rallied impressively since James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Wade's statement on LeBron

From Dwyane Wade:

“As a friend and a teammate, I am sad to see my brother LeBron leave to begin a new journey. In 2010, we decided to come together all for one goal – to win championships and we succeeded. We were friends when we first joined the league and created an unbreakable bond the past four years.

"Our collaboration will always be very special to me both personally and professionally. We shared something unique and he will always be part of my family. LeBron made the right decision for himself and his family because home is where your heart is. I know this was not an easy decision to make and I support him in returning to his roots.

"As an organization, a community, and as individuals, we achieved the goals we set when we first signed on together. We are champions.”

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pat Riley's statement on today's big events

From Pat Riley:

While I am disappointed by LeBron's decision to leave Miami, no one can fault another person for wanting to return home. The last four years have been an incredible run for South Florida, Heat fans, our organization and for all of the players who were a part of it.  LeBron is a fantastic leader, athlete, teammate and person, and we are all sorry to see him go.”

“Over the last 19 years, since Micky and I teamed together, The Miami Heat has always been a championship organization; we’ve won multiple championships and competed for many others. Micky, Erik and I remain committed to doing whatever it takes to win and compete for championships for many years to come. We’ve proven that we can do it and we’ll do it again.”

 

LeBron breaks news he's returning to Cleveland with personal essay; Heat owner thanks star player

LeBron James broke the news of his decision on Friday with a personal essay published by SI.com and told by writer Lee Jenkins.

James is going home to Cleveland and said the reason for returning to the Cavaliers and leaving Miami was his love for Northeast Ohio:

"My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now."

James won two championships for the Heat and helped the team reach the NBA Finals four years in a row. During that time he elevated the profile of the city and moved the Heat into the upper echelon of NBA franchises. Heat owner Micky Arison thanked James publicly on Twitter shortly after James' essay was published.

“I am shocked & disappointed in today's news,” Heat owner Micky Arison said on Twitter. “However I will never forget what LeBron brought us for 4 years. Thanks for memories @KingJames.”

Meanwhile, Chris Bosh is awesome...

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 12.02.09 PM

While LeBron has been busy these last few days determining the fate of the basketball world, Chris Bosh has actually been out in the world and influencing it with the game of basketball.

Bosh is in Ghana right now as a basketball ambassador for the NBA. This is the second summer in a row he has visited a foreign country to grow the game. Last summer, Bosh went to India. World Wide Bosh has also learned Spanish while playing for the Heat.

Bosh is currently a free agent, but he is expected to quickly sign with the Heat if LeBron remains in Miami. If LeBron bolts, then Bosh could anchor the Heat next season. Reports have linked Bosh to the Houston Rockets, but Bosh's agent has denied the speculation.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

If today proved anything, going back to Cleveland might not be the best decision for LeBron's family

Take a look at these images. These are pictures from today outside of LeBron's home in Bath Township, Ohio. What comes to mind?

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.48.27 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.49.03 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.49.48 PM

 

There are also a few Twitter accounts for "LeBron's House," like this one ...

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.50.22 PM

It has been a wild day in Northeast Ohio with many Cavaliers fans fully convinced LeBron is returning to Cleveland. The reaction in Cleveland, based on nothing more than speculation, has given me a new perspective on LeBron's "Decision" in 2010. Cleveland is going to go Cleveland regardless.

But seriously, everyone says LeBron going back to Cleveland would be good for him and his family. I actually think the opposite is true.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The latest on LeBron's meeting with Pat Riley

A quick update on what we're now fondly calling the "Decision in the Desert..."

—The meeting between LeBron James and the Heat will take place at 3 p.m. Las Vegas time today, the Herald has confirmed.

—Can also confirm that only Pat Riley, LeBron and agent Rich Paul will be in the room for that meeting. I was previously told Spoelstra would be there, but that is incorrect.

—I don't have an initial read or anything to report on how LeBron and his team are reacting to the Cavs' moves this morning.

Some other things ...

—The Cavaliers clearly think they have a legitimate shot at signing LeBron. Cleveland pushed their agenda hard on Wednesday morning with news of a three-team trade. That big news was followed by circulating Internet rumors of the Cavs contacting some of LeBron's closest friends: Ray Allen, James Jones and Mike Miller. Allen, Jones and James recently went on vacation together in the Bahamas. ESPN.com dropped those nuggets.

—LeBron posted this to Instagram on Wednesday before the meeting...

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 2.27.53 PM

—Norris Cole is clearly concerned about everything happening in Vegas...

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 2.29.29 PM

Cavaliers wheeling and dealing for LeBron in hours before Heat's meeting in Las Vegas

With a meeting between LeBron James and the Heat scheduled for Wednesday in Las Vegas, the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing a move that will either be consider brilliant or desperate once LeBron decides on his future.

In a three-team deal that also includes the Boston Celtics, the Cavs are set to trade Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday to create additional salary-cap space for LeBron, according to a report by ESPN.com. Meanwhile Cleveland has sent Tyler Zeller and a future first-round pick to the Celtics. The Celtics also reportedly will acquire Brooklyn's Marcus Thornton in the deal.

The Cavaliers also have reached out to Ray Allen, ESPN reported. Allen has stated that he would like to play with LeBron next season, but the 18-year veteran also has considered retirement.

The three-team trade cannot actually happen until 12:01 a.m. on Thursday when the NBA's moratorium on free agency ends.

The timing of this massive trade news is no coincidence. Riley and the Heat will pitch LeBron on remaining in Miami today.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Free agency's new low (or high, depending on your perspective) in the form of a press release I just received

This is real...

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 6.19.11 PM

What happens in Vegas apparently doesn't stay in Vegas when you're LeBron James.

Feeding the free-agency beast here ...

As the world waits for LeBron James to meet with Pat Riley in Las Vegas, signs and clues are falling into place that, yes, James is staying put in Miami.

The biggest clue, of course, is that James has been to the NBA Finals every year he has worn a Heat jersey and raised the Larry O'Brien Trophy half the time.

Then, two more clues were added to the free-agency fun on Monday when the Heat used two of its salary-cap exceptions on Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. McRoberts wouldn't be leaving a good thing in Charlotte if LeBron were leaving Miami, right? AND...The Heat wouldn't be operating as a cap-out team if LeBron were leaving Miami, right...?

And then today, Tuesday, July 8, in the Year of Our Lord 2014, this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 1.55.47 PM

Boom!

Bombshell!

No way LeBron and Wade are parting ways on the court if they're partying in Vegas together, right?

You know what they say...What happens in Vegas apparently doesn't stay in Vegas when you're LeBron James.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Things falling into place for the Heat as meeting between Pat Riley and LeBron James looms

Things appear to be falling into place for Pat Riley as his meeting with Heat free agent LeBron James approaches.

After striking out on several of the league's top free agents, the Heat reportedly has signed two free agents who should help convince James to remain in Miami. The Heat lured power forward Josh McRoberts away from the Charlotte Hornets, the Herald confirmed on Monday. McRoberts' deal would be for four years, $23 million with a player option for the final year of the contract, according to a report by ESPN.

Minutes after news broke that McRoberts was headed to Miami, a report linked former Pacers and Clippers forward Danny Granger with the Heat. Yahoo!Sports reported the deal between the Heat and Granger at two years, $4.2 million. That would indicate that the Heat is using its bi-annual exception on Granger.

Free agents cannot sign until Thursday.

McRoberts delivered a standout performance against the Heat in the Hornets (then the Bobcats) first-round series against the Heat in the 2014 NBA playoffs. McRoberts averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in four playoff games against the Heat.

Granger starred with the Pacers before being released by Indiana. He finished last season with the Clippers. 

Meeting planned between Pat Riley, LeBron James and agent Rich Paul

Free agent LeBron James is planning an in-person meeting with Heat president Pat Riley in the "next 2-3 days", a source familiar with James' free agency plans confirmed on Monday.

While other top free agents have toured the country listening to pitches from teams, James has been represented by his agent, Rich Paul, since opting out of his contract with the Heat. Paul has met with several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets. James is expected to attend face-to-face meetings with some of those teams this week. James' first in-person meeting now appears to be with the Heat. Paul will also be attending the meeting.

James is scheduled to be in Las Vegas later this week for a basketball camp sponsored by Nike. The camp begins on Wednesday, and James is flying to Las Vegas on Monday, according to ESPN.

James' representation has informed teams that James is seeking a max contract beginning around $20.7 million. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are also free agents . All three players opted out of their contracts by June 30. James hasn't attended a family vacation last week and is scheduled to attend the final of the World Cup on July 13, according to the Associated Press.

Other scheduled events this week:

—The Orlando summer league began on Sunday and runs through Friday.

 

—The Las Vegas summer league begins on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Pau Gasol considering multiple offers and other free agency stuff

Free-agent center Pau Gasol fielded phone calls on Wednesday from three major title contenders (Heat, Spurs and Oklahoma City), and apparently will be mulling offers from those teams and perhaps others as well this week.

It's no secret that Gasol has been one of the Heat's top targets during free agency, and his phone call from Heat president Pat Riley on Wednesday isn't expected to be the last. If possible, the Heat would like to use its full mid-level exception on Gasol ($5.3 million per season) to add some size inside to go along with Chris Bosh. The Heat was ranked 30th in the NBA last season. If the Spurs steal Gasol from the Heat, then San Antonio might throw Gregg Popovich another parade.

Gasol acknowledged he received a few phone calls via Twitter:

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 5.28.19 PM

He then added a little humor to Wednesday's Twitter madness:

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 5.28.33 PM

The Heat has been working the free-agency phones since 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Other targets include Trevor Ariza of the Wizards and Kyle Lowry of the Raptors. The immediacy of Twitter has added to the free-agency buzz over the last two days, and local sports talk radio shows have latched onto the constant stream of information. There have been some pretty interesting reports along the way. For example, Dan Le Batard, citing nothing except perhaps his excellent sense of humor, reported on his radio show that the Heat was interested in Pacers guard Lance Stephenson.

That's the same Stephenson who was threatened verbally by Udonis Haslem during the playoffs, called LeBron James a choker in 2012 and also said he wanted to injure Dwyane Wade's knees in the most recent Eastern Conference finals.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Cavaliers prepared to pull the Mike Miller card; Pat Riley already has an answer

It's no secret that LeBron James was angered by the Heat using its amnesty clause on Mike Miller, and several of James' teammates have pointed to Miller's release as a morale killer last season. With free agency now in full swing, it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers might be using that as ammunition if Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's team can score a face-to-face interview with James.

From the Akron Beacon-Journal

"If given the opportunity, the Cavs will remind James how the Heat parted ways with Mike Miller last summer in what was strictly a cost-cutting move."

In his post-Finals news conference, Pat Riley addressed the need to amnesty Miller and trading Joel Anthony.

"The primary motivation for doing those things was to be in a better position this year, because they all had contracts," Riley said, referring to the James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. "They were under contract. And they would be under contract this year. And so we cleared, basically, those contracts. Not to save money. The residual reward was there was some tax money saved, but the thinking, the strategy behind it, was this year we would not have those guys under contract. Good options.

"We wanted flexibility."

Riley went on to say that Miller's history of injuries was also a factor in the Heat using its amnesty clause. As for dumping Anthony's contract, Riley cited the low number of minutes Anthony played for the Heat before he was traded.

Monday, June 30, 2014

South Florida radio station taking thoughtful approach to recruiting LeBron

Beginning with Joe Rose in the morning, the folks at 560 WQAM-AM are raising money for the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County on Tuesday in a creative and thoughtful effort to convince LeBron James to stay in Miami.

Negotiations for free agency can begin on Tuesday and James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each opted out of their contracts in recent days to become unrestricted free agents. Teams reportedly will be lining up this week in the hopes of securing a meeting with James. Heat president Pat Riley, of course, has had a head start on the field.

James has worked closely with the Boys and Girls Club for many years. His ill-fated television special in the summer of 2010 to announce his decision to sign with the Heat rasied money for the organization.

Here's the full press release from 560: 

Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM will celebrate “LEBRON-A-THON” all day, tomorrow July 1st, 2014.  South Florida has enjoyed championship basketball the last four years, and we want more. We all want LeBron James to stay in Miami and WQAM is encouraging listeners put their money where their mouth is, by supporting a great cause. Listeners are being encouraged to visit WQAM.com where they can click on the “LEBRON-A-THON” banner to make a donation. 100% of the proceeds will benefit The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County.

Representatives from The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County will be visiting The Kup & Crowder Show at 1pm to talk about the charity “LEBRON-A-THON”.

Additionally, fans that make a donation will also be registered to win a pair of tickets to the 2014 Miami HEAT Home Opener.  

LEBRON-A-THON” July 1st on 560 WQAM

  • The Joe Rose Show 6am-10am
  • Guzio & Donno (Brandon Guzio & Alex Donno) 10am-1pm
  • Kup & Crowder (Adam Kuperstein & Channing Crowder) 1pm-3pm
  • The Marc Hochman Show w/ Zach Krantz 3pm-7pm
  • Kevin Rogers 7pm-10pm

 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chris Bosh opts out and a statement from Pat Riley

On Sunday, Chris Bosh's agent informed Heat president Pat Riley that his client was exercising the early termination option of his contract to become a free agent. Riley's statement:

“Today we were notified of Chris’ intentions to opt-out of his contract,” Riley said. “Chris is one of the most versatile and dynamic big men in this league, and he has been an instrumental key to our championship success over the last four seasons.

“We look forward to meeting with Chris and his agent in the coming days to discuss keeping him in Miami for many years to come.”

Saturday, June 28, 2014

UPDATE: After another crazy day of reports and speculation, anything seems possible entering free agency for #LeBron and the #Heat

The offseason dominoes began falling into place for the Heat on Saturday.

Team president Pat Riley was informed that Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade decided to exercise the early termination option in their contracts, according to sports agent Henry Thomas, and the moves put into motion a plan that could retool the Heat's roster for another run at the NBA Finals. The ultimate goal, of course, is to keep LeBron James in Miami and then add some new talent around him, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“Today we were notified of Dwyane’s intention to opt out of his contract and Udonis’ intention to not opt into his contract, making both players free agents,” Riley said in a statement. “Dwyane has been the cornerstone of our organization for over a decade, and we hope he remains a part of the Heat family for life.

“Udonis has been the heartbeat of this team for 11 years. He has sacrificed countless times to make this organization successful, and he is the epitome of what this organization stands for. We look forward to meeting with Dwyane and Udonis and their agent in the coming days to discuss our future together.”

Bosh remained undecided on his contractual future on Saturday afternoon, but will soon need to inform the Heat of his decision. The deadline for opt outs is June 30 and teams and players can begin negotiating free agency on July 1. As Heat fans went into meltdown mode on Twitter on Saturday and conflicting reports began popping up about Bosh, the Heat's center didn't seem too concerned.

"James Rodríguez is a beast!" Bosh wrote on Twitter after the Colombian midfielder's wonder-strike in the first half of his team's World Cup match against Uruguay.

Bosh said early this season and again in the playoffs that he would take less money for the 2013-14 season to remain in Miami and keep the Heat's core together. According to a report by ESPN, Bosh is seeking a new five-year contract worth between $15-$16 million per season. Bosh is currently on the books for over $20 million for next season. Wade was also under contract for more than $20 million next season and Haslem was set to be paid $4.6 million.

In the end, Saturday, June 28, 2014, could be remembered as another landmark day in the history of Miami Heat offseason roster building. The team did the unthinkable in 2010 when it lured Bosh and James to Miami to join Wade, and now a second imagining of that superteam could be in the works.

Haslem was the first to opt out of his contract on Saturday with Bleacher Report first reporting the story. That sent off a frenzy of speculation throughout the day, and then Wade followed suit with the Associated Press first reporting Wade's decision. James opted out earlier in the week. For the Heat, a best-case scenario as free agency begins is that its star players collectively agree to take less money spread out over more years in a collective effort to free up cap space.

From there, Riley would have the financial flexibility to pursue free agents. Carmelo Anthony would be the top choice, but reports have surfaced that the Heat isn't currently an option. Point guard Kyle Lowery has also been linked to the Heat. Other options include 6-11 center Marcin Gortat or guard Trevor Ariza.

James could be seeking a max contract, according to a report by Yahoo!Sports, but he could also take less money to help the team. Wade is expected to take less money now that he opted out.

Either that, or the team could be facing some serious decisions if players choose to return under max contracts. If Bosh opts out on Sunday, which he is expected to do, then the Heat would have a record $55 million of cap space entering free agency. Other than Bosh, the Heat's only other player currently under contract is backup point guard Norris Cole. Draft pick Shabazz Napier is set to join the team for next season as well.

James and Cole worked out together on Saturday in Miami, another small sign that the two Ohio natives would be returning to the Heat next season.

"Off season is the real season!" James tweeted, along with his customary hashtag, #StriveForGreatness. 

James, too, later watched the Colombia-Uruguay World Cup match. Naturally, the Heat's James was rooting for Columbia's James.

"Man watching this Colombian game I think I have my fav player in the world cup! Obviously his name help that out #Biased #10 #James #WC2014," James tweeted.

Friday, June 27, 2014

An inside look at the Heat's war room on draft night

There was white-knuckle tension in the Heat’s draft-night war room on Thursday moments before the team’s brain trust landed Shabazz Napier.

The Heat went into the pressure cooker hoping to acquire the Connecticut guard, but there were several factors working against Heat president Pat Riley and his lieutenants. For starters, the Heat had the 26th overall pick, and Napier wasn’t expected to fall that far in the draft. Then, much to Riley’s chagrin, news had already been leaked well in advance that the Heat wanted Napier badly.

“It’s very difficult when everyone knows you’re zeroing in on somebody,” Riley said. Another major problem going into the draft: the Heat didn’t have many assets in which to maneuver its way up the draft board. All things considered, teams tried to draw as much blood as possible before Napier fell far enough for the Heat to seriously consider haggling for him.

“It’s called extortion prior to that,” Riley said.

When the 24th pick fell to Charlotte, serious drama had already engulfed the Heat’s draft room inside AmericanAirlines Arena. The Memphis Grizzlies took a guard at 22, but not Napier. It was the same scenario for the Utah Jazz at 23.

“It’s moving quick and you got five guys moving the phones,” Riley said. “You feel like you’re on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at that particular time. We wanted this player, and the closer we go to this pick…I fell more in love with him the closer we got. You don’t want to get left at the altar.”

The Heat has been heartbroken before, of course. Everyone has. That’s the nature of the NBA draft, and what makes it a pulse-pounding ordeal even for the most veteran NBA executives.

But sometimes the universe aligns in your favor. For the Heat, that’s happened a lot in the last five years.

The Hornets drafted Napier, and they were willing to make a deal. In the end, the Heat parted ways with its 26th and 55th picks of the 2014 draft, plus 2019 second-round pick, plus some cash to sweeten the pot.

“We’re very fortunate to have drafted Shabazz, and we feel very excited about him and what he can bring,” Riley said. “He’s a two-time champion, high-motor guy, character guy, very quick, can shoot the ball, so he’s got a lot of qualities that fit with what Erik [Spoelstra] wants to do.”

Heat summer-league team coming into focus; five new names added including Mercer star Hall and high flyer Roberts Jr.

Shabazz Napier, Justin Hamilton and James Ennis will be the core of the Heat's summer-league team, but there will be other talented players representing the Heat in Orlando and Las Vegas as well. Five undrafted players that will be joining the Heat: PG Langston Hall of Mercer, SG Tyler Johnson of Fresno State, SG Andre Dawkins of Duke, F Ronald Roberts of St. Joe's and F Jerrelle Benimon of Towson.

LANGSTON HALL
Position: Point guard
Height: 6-4
Age: 22
College: Mercer
Honors: Atlantic Sun Player of the Year (2014)
Highlights: Led A-Sun in assists (5.5) and free-throw percentage (86.5) in 2013-14 regular season, and was sixth in scoring (14.9) and second in steals (1.5). A-Sun record for assists (633). 
Twitter: @Langston21

TYLER JOHNSON
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-4
Age: 22
College: Fresno State
Honors: 2013-14 All-Mountain West Second-Team
Highlights: Already has offers to play Europe. 

ANDRE DAWKINS
Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-5
Age: 22
College: Duke
Highlights: Shot 42 percent from three-point range off the bench as a senior.
Twitter: @dre_dawkins

RONALD ROBERTS JR.
Position: Forward
Height: 6-8 
Age: 22
College: St. Joe's
Honors: 2014 Atlantic 10 All-Championship Team
Highlights: Scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds in A-10 title-game win over VCU. Vertical over 46 inches.
Twitter: @RonaldRoberts5

RONALD ROBERTS JR. DUNK VIDEO

JERRELLE BENIMON
Position: Forward
Height: 6-8
Age: 22
College: Towson 
Honors: Two-time Colonial Athletic Player of the Year
Of note: Started career at Georgetown

Caron Butler: LeBron's not going anywhere

Former Heat player Caron Butler is confident LeBron James will be leading the Heat on another deep playoff run next season.

Butler, a close friend of both Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, said on Friday that he fully expects James to return to the Heat for his fifth season with the team. James opted out of his contract shortly after the NBA Finals, and Wade and Bosh are expected to opt out in the immediate future. The deadline for players to exercise the early termination options of their existing contracts is June 30. Wade and Bosh are both currently under contract for over $20 million next season, but signs are pointing to the Heat's core taking less money next season to restock the depth chart.

"I think what [James] created in South Beach — all three of those guys — and with free agency looming, and other guys willing to come there and play alongside the Big 3, I don’t see him going anywhere," Butler said on The Zaslow and Joy Show on FM 104.3 The Ticket. "And I don’t see Miami having any slippage or anything. They’re going to be right there. It’s the Eastern Conference. There are about three or four teams that are legitimate contenders on a year-to-year basis."

Butler indicated during his radio interview that the Heat approached him last season after he had already committed to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Otherwise, he might have signed on with the Heat. The Heat could have certainly used him. He said he would consider signing with the Heat this summer, but everything is contingent on James, Wade and Bosh.

"I think the biggest domino out there — one of the biggest dominos out there — is LeBron James and what he’s going to do," Butler sad. "So everyone is just sitting around and waiting and seeing what happens."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Heat gets its man and trades for Napier, but what does this mean for Chalmers and Cole?

LeBron wanted Shabazz Napier, and the Heat delivered.

Napier was drafted 24th overall to the Charlotte Hornets — or two spots ahead of the Heat's draft pick — but the Heat acquired Napier in a trade for its 26th and 55th picks and a future second-round pick, the Miami Herald confirmed on Thursday night. ESPN first broke the story during its draft special. The Heat drafted P.J. Hairston, who played at North Carolina before entering the NBA Development League, with its 26th pick before sending him to Charlotte.

Napier helped the University of Connecticut Huskies to two championships and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 Final Four. More importantly, he was LeBron's favorite player in the draft. As the Heat puts together a plan for the future to present to LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, every building block helps. The Heat struggled at the point-guard position in the 2014 NBA Finals with Mario Chalmers being benched for Game 5 and Norris Cole underperforming.

Here's LeBron's reaction shortly after it was announced that the Heat traded for Napier:

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.35.32 PM

That tweet certainly seems like a positive step in the future for the Heat and LeBron.

In April, after Napier led the Huskies to a national championship, LeBron wrote on Twitter that he thought Napier was the best available point guard.

“No way [you] take a PG in the lottery before Napier,” James said.

Considered a prospect who can help the Heat immediately, Napier was projected as high as No.12, but fell just far enough in the draft for the Heat to make a deal. The future is now unclear it seems for at least one of the Heat's current point guards, but maybe both. Cole is under contract through next year, and Chalmers is a free agent. The Heat could presumably choose not to pursue Chalmers to save money against the cap.

Cole has been an inconsistent backup point guard, and the Heat could be leery of inserting a rookie point guard into its title contending starting lineup — even one as collegiately seasoned as Napier. The Heat could resign Chalmers, or perhaps make a move through free agency. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry would obviously be the Heat's No.1 target, but bringing in Lowry would likely depend on LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh restructuring their contracts.

Birdman waiting to see the Heat's plans for the future just like everyone else

Chris Andersen is waiting to see the Heat’s plans for the future just like everyone else. Andersen was the Heat’s first player to exercise the early termination option of his contract after the NBA Finals, but on Thursday said he wants to stay in Miami.

Of course, he might want more than the veteran’s minimum to do it.

Riding the high of winning his first championship with the Heat, Andersen signed for the minimum ($1.4 million) for the 2013-14 season, but after strong back-to-back seasons he likely could now earn much more on the open market. Attending a promotional appearance in Boca Raton, Andersen indicated he wouldn’t know if he’s returning to Miami until LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh make their contractual decisions.

“Big money goes first,” Andersen said when asked about a timetable for his decision.

The Heat would like to resign Andersen once again for the veteran’s minimum, and might not have much more to offer the high-energy player. Andersen was a key contributor during the Heat’s most recent run to the Finals, but his production tailed off after injuring his foot against the Pacers. Andersen said his injury healed after a few days off his feet, and that surgery wouldn’t be necessary.

“I don’t need no surgery,” Andersen said. “No surgery required.”

A fan favorite, Andersen was greeted by a long snaking line at Madisons New York Grill & Bar in Boca Raton. Boca isn’t exactly the Birdman’s speed, but he said he is enjoying his time in South Florida. He recently purchased a boat, “and I got a tan, so it’s growing on me pretty good now.”

Wade has been stressed out. Trying to decide between millions of dollars and your dream team will do that.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.29.46 AM

Dwyane Wade has apparently been pretty stressed out these last few days. Trying to decide between millions of dollars and keeping your dream team together while coming to terms with the inevitable evolution of your aging game will do that.

Wade posted to Instagram Thursday morning that he woke up feeling better, though. It might be a sign that his decision to exercise the early termination option of his contract has been finalized. Wade and Chris Bosh have until June 30 to opt out. LeBron James opted out earlier this week and the Heat's three stars met for a dinner on Wednesday night to discuss their futures.

Nice tux, by the way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pat Riley on LeBron opting out: We knew it all along

Statement from Pat Riley on LeBron James opting out of his contract on Tuesday: 

“I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise. As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency and when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options. The last four seasons have been historic and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra have led the Miami Heat to one of the most unprecedented runs in the history of the NBA. 

We look forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together. At the moment, we are preparing for the opportunities in the draft and free agency as we continue with our goal of winning NBA Championships.”

 
Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About The Miami Herald | Advertise