Saturday, July 16, 2016

What was the message behind Pat Riley's Big 3 recruiting story on Saturday?

Pat Riley felt the need to share something Saturday beyond his feelings of regret after losing Dwyane Wade this summer.

He felt compelled to bring up a story from the Summer of 2010 on his role in bringing Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh together to form the Big 3. 

Big 3“I can tell you a funny story about -- maybe I shouldn’t -- but I can tell you a funny story about 2010," Riley said shortly after he finished answering a question regarding his approach to whale hunting in the Summer of 2017.

"When we took the three of them in, we had $49.5 million [in cap space]," Riley continued. "So we had $16.5 for each guy, which was the max deal. So, we got it all. Then they said, ‘Well, who do we have left?’ We got Mario [Chalmers] as the starting point guard and we got Joel [Anthony] as the starting center. That’s it, we have five guys. They said, ‘Well, we would like to get Mike Miller. How can we get Mike Miller?’ I said, ‘I can’t get you Mike Miller. We can’t get him. I don’t have the money.’ So we traded Michael Beasley to get the money, but they had to go down to $15 million.

"That was their choice.

"Then they wanted UD. Well, I can’t get UD even though I wanted to get UD. So, that whole concept about bringing guys in the room was on five-year deals. The interesting part is on July 9th, they all agreed to come in on five-year deals room only, so I didn’t have to give up any assets. Then at the 11th hour, they all wanted the sixth year. You know what that cost me and [general manager] Andy [Elisburg]? That cost us four picks.

"I just said to them, ‘If you want the sixth year -- because I know you’re going to opt out after the fourth anyhow -- but if you want the sixth year, I don’t want any of you to walk into my office and say, ‘Hey, can we get any young guys around here? Can we get some draft picks around here?’ Because they were gone. And, I don’t know why I told you that story.

"I always get amused by it because I watched our last draft pick that we gave [Cleveland] for LeBron, they traded it to Minnesota, ended up in Philly or somewhere, and he was playing in Cleveland and we still owed it. I told Andy when he goes to the CBA meetings, make sure that if you ever do a sign-and-trade and give up a draft pick for a player and that player leaves before the draft pick goes to that team, then it automatically is like given back to you. They don’t do that.”

Riley, of course, didn't share that story Saturday because he was amused by where that draft pick ended up or that he wished the Heat still had it. 

He shared it to show us how much power in the NBA really belongs to the players, to show us how far team presidents and general managers and owners will go in sacrificing to put a dream team together.

This summer Riley lost big. He went hunting for Kevin Durant, a piece that would not only put Riley and the Heat in contention for another championship, but one he thought Wade would fully stand behind if Durant happened to choose Miami. 

The problem for Riley was that unlike in 2010 when Wade, LeBron and Bosh came together on their own accord and were willing to sacrifice, Riley had no one in his corner this summer.

Bosh was angry with the Heat because they wouldn't let him return to the court during the playoffs and didn't participate in Durant's recruitment. And Wade was upset from the get go that he was Plan C, someone Riley was counting on to take less money to make a run at championships again with Durant.

For all the power we truly think Riley and his nine rings have in this league, he and every other team president and general manager is ultimately at the mercy of their superstar players lending support.

The stars who are willing to take less money, fewer shots and swallow some individual pride to team up and win championships are the ones that form super teams. The front offices and owners who don't have superstars willing to do that are the ones left behind. 

Riley had an ace in his corner in 2010.

Now, he's just looking for another ace. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Heat sends cash, 2018 2nd round round pick back to New Orleans for Luke Babbitt

The Miami Heat continued its push to add some three-point shooting touch to its bench Sunday, trading a 2018 second round pick and cash to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for veteran small forward Luke Babbitt.

The pick, acquired in the Jarnell Stokes trade last season, belonged to New Orleans in the first place and was heavily protected. 

Babbitt (6-9, 225) has shot 40.7 percent beyond the three-point line throughout his career with New Orleans and Portland and averaged 7.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 47 games last season with the Pelicans. In three of his six NBA seasons, Babbitt has hit at least 40 percent of his three-point field goal attempts.

He's set to earn the league minimum of $1,227,286 for a player with six years experience.

Earlier in the day, the Heat signed guard Wayne Ellington, a career 37.6 percent three-point shooter.

Udonis Haslem returning to the Heat on 1 year, $4 milliion contract

Dwyane Wade is gone.

But Udonis Haslem remains.

Haslem will play a 14th season with the Miami Heat, agreeing upon a one year, $4 million contract with the Miami Heat. 

This is not expected to be his final season.

If he plays a 15th, and returns at the minimum, it would be roughly equivalent to a two-year, $5.8 million deal since the veteran's minimum is expected to go up.

While Haslem didn't play much last season, his per-minute averages were close to what he's done during his career, and he is counted upon for leadership in the locker room. That is even more critical now that Wade and Luol Deng are gone, Chris Bosh's situation still isn't clear, and Hassan Whiteside has a max contract. Haslem was entrusted with a lot of locker room mentoring of Whiteside the past two seasons. 

Haslem has repeatedly given up money throughout the years, and this is a sign that the Heat appreciated that. 

That's needed too, in light of how many fans feel about losing Wade. 

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Dwyane Wade: "I still love Pat (Riley)"

More on this to come....

But, for now, here was Dwyane Wade's response today -- at his camp in Miami -- to a question about his relationship with Pat Riley:

"There's going to be a lot of stuff that's said about me and Pat. First and foremost, I love Pat Riley. He's been someone who has been a figurehead in my life since I got drafted here at 21. But at the same time, he has a job to do. He has a different hat to wear. That hat sometimes is not to be my best friend. That hat is to be the president of the organization, and to be a businessman. And it sucks. Because you love somebody so well, you guys love each other, but the business side comes out. You know?"

"And we have to deal with that. I'm not saying we've hugged and cried and shared tears at this moment. But I love Pat. And  I will always love Pat. And I know he feels the same way about me. But it's the business side, man. He's a tough cookie. I've grown into be a tough one as well. Yeah, we can butt heads at times. I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for what he's been able to do in this game of basketball. I still haven't even scratched the surface of what I hope my impact can be in this game of basketball. I only got 13 years under my belt. He got 13 years times 10 under his belt. So I'm not that guy."

"I know I heard a lot of stuff back and forth. I'm never bashing Pat Riley. I'm never bashing the Miami Heat organization. I'm never saying nothing negative about them, out of my mouth, about them. Does the way that the process goes down, are you angry? Yes. Do you feel a certain way about stuff? Yes. I feel that way about my parents. But I love them to death. And my kids feel the same way about me when I got to punish them and I don't do what they want me to do. But they love me to death. And that's the way I feel about this organization. Like I said, the business side just comes into play sometimes, and it's an ugly, ugly side.  But at the end of the day, there's nothing but love from me." 

Friday, July 08, 2016

Heat reach one-year agreement with former Knicks forward, 2011 No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams

With Dwyane Wade headed home to play for the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat on Friday continued working to fill out the rest of its roster, agreeing to a one-year, $5 million deal with former Knicks forward Derrick Williams.

The deal was first reported by The Vertical.

Williams, 25, is listed at 6-8, 240 pounds and is extremely athletic. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft averaged 9.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game with New York. He played 80 games and started nine.

He's averaged 9.3 points and 4.2 rebounds throughout his career, which began in Minnesota and included a stop in Sacramento before playing with the Knicks last season.

He's a career 29 percent shooter from three-point range.

It's expected he'll backup Chris Bosh should Bosh be healthy.

The Heat has yet to announce the signing. 

Udonis Haslem still in talks with the Heat

The Heat reached out to Udonis Haslem on July 1, with a highlight video and an announcement of an intention to retain him.

Then he heard nothing.

Now his teammate of 13 years, Dwyane Wade, has moved on, but Haslem is still a strng option to return.

He is expected to engage in negotations this weekend. 

The Heat has $20 million in cap space. 

And while he won't get a huge chunk of that, the Heat can give him something more palatable than the minimum, and keep flexibility going forward. 

Haslem may be more needed too; right now, with Chris Bosh's status uncertain and Luol Deng gone, Josh McRoberts is currently the starting power forward. And there are no backup bigs on the roster. 

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Dwyane Wade on Twitter, thanks Miami, says hello to Chicago

It was already official, but this really cements it.

After 13 seasons with the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade is a Bull.

And he took to Twitter to talk about it.

 

Yes, Dwyane Wade has said something nice about Rajon Rondo

Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo haven't always seemed the best of friends.

After all, Celtics fans still think Wade broke Rondo's elbow intentionally in the 2011 playoffs.

And they don't see like the best of fits. 

Neither is an accurate long-range shooter, and both like the ball in their hands. 

But Wade has said something -- unsolicited -- about Rondo that was actually very complimentary.

It happened late last season when I asked him about what he learned playing with LeBron James. 

Here was his answer, first published on this blog:

"The biggest thing is, he's one of the smartest basketball players I've ever been around. I mean, I look at myself as a pretty intelligent basketball player. But I'm not as smart as him, from the standpoint as far as his ability to put guys in certain situations. To be able to read every guy's position. It was pretty impressive, how he was able to -- no pun intended -- be a coach on the floor." 

Wade laughed as he said that, because he'd been asked the question on the day that the Cavaliers fired David Blatt. 

"Like (Rajon) Rondo," Wade continued. "That kind of talent. You know what I mean? You see that play the other night where Rondo put DeMarcus Cousins over there (in a spot). Not too many guys can do that. And LeBron was one of those kind of guys. I was always more impressed with that than I was with anything else." 

How impressive will Wade and Rondo be, as a tandem?

We'll see. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Dwyane Wade meeting with Nuggets, Bulls, Bucks, possibly Heat today

Dwyane Wade is set for a busy day in New York. 

The Heat guard will meet with the Nuggets first, the Bucks and Bulls today to discuss a new contract.

The Bucks were added back this morning, after they had been taken off the schedule. 

And yes, Wade will "possibly" meet with the Heat, according to multiple sources. 

Wade and Pat Riley are not on the same page, and the situation continues to get more acrimonious, but perhaps these meetings with others will push the sides back together. Micky Arison is expected to take the lead role in re-recruiting Wade, as he did last year, when Riley and Wade's representatives (specifically Henry Thomas) stepped aside. 

Cleveland is currently out of the mix, because the Cavaliers do not have the financial resources without gutting much of their team. The Cavs, according to sources, are not inclined to do so.

Wade is seeking at least a three-year deal, with the Heat so far offering two years (the second being a player option) for $40 million.

Miami is reluctant to tie up cap space for three seasons.

It could create up to $13 million for the two-year deal by trading Josh McRoberts without taking money back.

 

 


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