Friday, October 21, 2016

Bovada's prop bets for the Miami Heat

Miami Heat Regular Season Player Props                   

Will Chris Bosh play a game in the NBA during the 2016-2017 Regular Season?

Yes      +350     (7/2)

No        -600     (1/6)

2016-2017 Regular Season - Total Points - Goran Dragic         

Over/Under                   17.5                    

2016-2017 Regular Season - Total Assists - Goran Dragic        

Over/Under                   5.5       

2016-2017 Regular Season - Total Points - Hassan Whiteside

Over/Under                   17                 

2016-2017 Regular Season - Total Rebounds - Hassan Whiteside

Over/Under                   12.5

2016-2017 Regular Season - Total Blocks – Hassan Whiteside             

Over/Under                   3.4

2016-2017 Regular Season - Total Points - Dion Waiters

Over/Under                   11.5        

2016-2017 Regular Season - Total Points – Justise Winslow

Over/Under                   10.5

Heat has shared plenty this preseason -- but will it continue?

When you have a roster overhaul like the Miami Heat has had over the past couple months natural questions arise:

> Will personalities clash?

> Will newcomers put ego and potentially future contract dollars aside to be team players?

Tyler JohnsonWith a roster that includes five players on one-year contracts (Derrick Williams, Udonis Haslem, James Johnson, Beno Udrih and Luke Babbitt) and another five with either team or player options for the following season (Josh McRoberts, Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington, Willie Reed, Josh Richardson) it’s a valid concern to think some players might begin looking out for their own best interests.

But so far this preseason that hasn’t been the case. In Thursday’s loss at Charlotte, Miami had assists on 23 of its 31 field goals.

Sharing the ball and playing friendly has been a theme all preseason with the Heat averaging 23.6 assists per game (13th) and assists on 59.8 percent of their baskets (14th). Last year in the regular season, Miami averaged 20.8 assists per game (23rd) and assists on 54.3 percent of its baskets (26th).

By comparison, the 73-win Golden State Warriors averaged 28.9 assists per game and collected assists on 68 percent of their baskets last season. Both stats led the league.

“Really young, really talented,” Hassan Whiteside said Monday when asked to share his early impressions of the new group the Heat has assembled. “Anybody can score. So, you really don't know from day-to-day who is going to be the scorers, the facilitator, the player of the game. So, it’s very diverse and very unique. It’s a lot of playmakers. It’s a lot of defenders. If the guys trust the process like they’ve been doing it’s going to be an exciting season.”

Goran Dragic said it’s surprised him “that everybody is accepting their roles.”

“It's like everybody is eager to learn and accept what is best for the team,” said Dragic, who leads the Heat with 32 assists this preseason. “I think we look great as long as we continue to work like that. Maybe what else has surprised me is that we have so much depth. Probably nobody in the league knows how much depth we've got. We have guys that can play multiple positions and we can rotate those guys. I think that’s really something special to have.

“We're a young, energetic team who has guys that can play multiple positions. I feel like we’re close. We showed at the moment that we can play really well. We just need to work on communication and consistency. That's going to be our main -- I would not say problem, but main concern. Just try to be consistent.”

On the defensive side of the ball, nobody is loafing, Dragic said.

Last week’s win at San Antonio was a confidence builder in a lot of ways. Though the Spurs were minus All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, Dragic said it was a very encouraging sign that the Heat were leading by 20 points and holding San Antonio to 39 percent shooting after three quarters when Kawhi Leonard, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and Tony Parker were all still playing significant roles.

“We did our part on defense especially,” Dragic said. “They were shooting 39 percent or 40 percent from the field. That's not easy against the Spurs. I feel like we were more explosive, faster than them. We played really higher pace and everybody played their game and we were maybe one step ahead of them on every play. It has to be like this every game this season [for us].”

And that’s going to be the sticking point moving forward. Can the Heat consistently share the ball like they have this preseason? Will guys continue to play unselfish? Will guys continue to play all out on defense?

Coach Erik Spoelstra knows attitudes can change quickly once the regular season begins, once Miami struggles a little and once minutes start to curtail for certain players and rotations form.

“It's early,” Spoelstra said before Tuesday's win over the Magic when told Dragic was surprised by how unselfish his new teammates were being and how many of them were accepting roles.

“You try to build a structure, a culture, an infrastructure of teamwork and sacrificing, playing selflessly for a bigger cause. But our guys have embraced it. They understand that we emphasize that quite a bit. It's still preseason, so the roles have not been clearly, officially defined yet. But we’re heading in that direction.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dwyane Wade talks about the Heat in long sit down interview with Sports Illustrated

Former Miami Herald intern Rohan Nadkarni, now of Sports Illustrated's The Crossover, got a chance to sit down with Dwyane Wade for a long interview before the start of Bulls training camp. 

Here a few of the excerpts from the interview when Wade was asked specifically about the Miami Heat: 

RN: What was the hardest conversation you had to have when you decided to leave Miami?

Wade: "There really wasn’t no hard conversations I had. I told my wife first, “This is what I’m thinking. How do you feel about it?” I posed it as a question more so than this is what we’re doing. [Laughs] She was supportive. My kids knew along the process, I’m very open with my kids, they knew along the process what I was thinking and there was a chance we may not be in Miami. I really didn’t have to have a hard conversation. Obviously I had to reach out to the Miami Heat organization, and talk to Nick Arison—because Micky Arison wasn’t available—and I had to have that conversation. But it really wasn’t hard. Because this is my career, and this is what I wanted to do. The hardest part was just saying it, and making a decision. I have a home in Miami and built everything there, my life was running like this [snaps fingers] and then I uprooted my family. That was the hardest thing more so than telling anyone where I wanted to play basketball."

RN: Do you remember the moment you decided you were leaving the Heat?

Wade: Yeah, I do. I had just left the meeting with the Heat and wound up going to get some pizza because I knew I had a long night in front of me. Me and my business manager stopped off and got some pizza, and I got back to the hotel and my mind was racing. I was sitting in my manager’s room, and I was thinking about this moment, this decision. I knew that Miami wanted me to make a decision by midnight that night, and I start saying, “Who am I making this decision for?” Once I realized I was making this decision for me, I wanted to be selfish for once. You put yourself in a position where you’re always sacrificing for other people—and not bad sacrifices, great sacrifices, we won championships and did a lot of amazing things—but you're always doing things for the good of others as well. This time I said, “You know what? It’s okay to be selfish.” And it started going through my mind, “Go home, go to Chicago. Do what you’ve always wanted to do.” And I just said it out loud. When I said it out loud that’s when it became real. My agent was like, “Are you sure? Are you sure this is what you want to do?” From there it just became about the business side, the Bulls obviously had to do certain things to get me here. I was waiting by the phone for like an hour, it was the longest hour ever. Then the media gets a hold of it, my phone starts blowing up, and I was like, “Whoa, this is happening.” But all in all, I was happy. I was happy with my decision to do what I wanted to do."

RN: It seems like there was a breakdown in communication when LeBron left Miami, when you left, and now with Chris Bosh. Is there any awkwardness there between you and the organization because of how those things went down?

Wade: "I have a lot of people in that organization I’m still in communication with because they’re friends or they’re family. You know, it’s a business hat that people have to put on. And I’m a businessman so I understand it. From a standpoint of relationships that I’ve built, the real relationships will stand the test of anything. At the top of the chain, they have a business to run. And it’s their job to run it any way they want to. My business is myself and it’s my job to look out for me. I had 13 great years in Miami. I have no ill will toward the organization. I wish them nothing but success in their future. But right now, it’s what’s best for me. It’s unfortunate that a lot of stuff played out in media, whether it was right or it was wrong, but at the end of the day, like I said, I have no ill will. They drafted me, they gave me an opportunity to live my dream out. I thank them for putting me on that platform to go out and try to be great."

RN: Will you ever play another game for the Miami Heat?

Wade: "I don’t know. I never thought I would not be there. At this point in my career, I’ve been asked that, and it’s not a focus of mine. I’m happy where I am. I gave Miami everything I had for 13 years. The years I have left, hopefully I can give as much to Chicago. You never know what the future holds so you never want to say yes or no. Anything is possible. But, I’m cool right now. I’m good."

The Hot Five: What's real and what isn't with the Heat?

My take on a series of hot-button Heat-related topics following Miami's 107-77 win over the Orlando Magic and with two games left in the preseason:

Q: Is the Heat really interested in trading Goran Dragic to Sacramento for Rudy Gay

Goran DragicThe immediate answer is no. The long term answer could be yes. From everything I've heard consistently throughout this summer, Pat Riley, 71, doesn't want to sit on his hands and watch the Heat fade into irrelevance. And despite the surplus of available top-end free agents next summer, he knows landing a big fish won't be easy for this Heat team without an established franchise player like he had before in Dwyane Wade. So, Riley is very much looking to make a trade or two to net a whale and begin pushing the Heat toward another championship run. That said, he doesn't have many assets right now having traded away most of the Heat's picks already to build the Big 3 and then to acquire Dragic. 

So, could he trade Dragic? Absolutely. Making a deal with Sacramento for Gay, who could opt of his contract next summer, would free up an additional $14 million in cap space for Riley to work with, potentially giving the Heat more than $50 million to use overall if Chris Bosh's contract is also wiped off the books. In the end, that could be enough to land two whales.

But in this instance (and from what I've been told over and over again since the summer) Riley wants to see what he has with Dragic pushing the pace and a young, supporting cast around him. If the Heat comes out of the gate and flops after 20 games (Riley has referred to 20 games as his barometer in the past), then trading Dragic for Gay (or to another team with draft picks and a player with an equal expiring contract) would make sense. But if Miami finds something unique here -- small ball with athleticism and a dominant center -- that is competitive and on the path toward a championship, then Riley probably won't blow it up. Instead, he could tinker and just find one whale in free agency this summer to replace Bosh.

Q: What can we honestly take away from the Heat's 4-2 preseason start?

Erik Spoelstra has been adamant that we can't really read too much into preseason results since teams are usually working through issues and rotations and teams are often sitting their best players to keep them healthy for when the games really count. That said, the Heat's win at San Antonio last Friday was impressive even with LaMarcus Aldridge out. Miami's starters and regular rotation players held the Spurs -- with Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker -- to 39 percent shooting through three quarters and had a 20-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

What's real about this Heat team is its depth at guard, versatility at power forward and improved three-point shooting.

Miami is shooting 40.1 percent from beyond the arc this preseason and has reached double figures in three-pointers made in five of its six games. After being one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league last year, the Heat is finally playing like everyone else in the league is and it's helping stretch the floor for Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, who have told me repeatedly this preseason they can't believe how much space they have to work with. 

It's completely different than it was just a few months ago when the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors packed the paint against the Heat in the playoffs and dared Miami to shoot.

What's also real? Nobody is being selfish right now. I asked Dion Waiters (whose reputation for selfishness before coming to the Heat was well-established) Tuesday if it's important for him to start.

His response: "I can't answer that right now," he said. "At the end of the day, it's not about Dion right now." 

Go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor.

Q: Speaking of Dion Waiters, will he be the starting shooting guard for the Heat this season?

Probably in the season opener and the first few games of the season, but once he returns from injury I expect Josh Richardson to move into that role.

Dion WaitersPart of what Spoelstra has done this preseason by having Waiters come off the bench in the Heat's first three games and then start the last three is have him buy into the notion he can be effective as a starter or as a sixth man. For much of the early part of his career, Waiters was hung up on issues like starting or being relegated to the bench. His attitude often reflected where he was in the pecking order with the Cavs and Thunder.

Spoelstra is erasing that notion, making him buy into the team concept and telling him it will eventually pay off for him when he can opt of his contract next summer and earn a bigger pay day. Waiters is doing his own part too. He acknowledged before camp even began he wanted to play for a team that could deliver tough love and tap into his talents.

Just listen to Spoelstra's response following Tuesday's game when I asked him which Waiters he likes better -- the starter or the sixth man.

"Right now what I've told him is to continue to try to get better and commit to the things that are important to us and I think he’s really been making an effort to do that," Spoelstra said. "He's been making a lot of multiple efforts defensively. He’s making an impact on that side of the floor. He’s being aggressive, but letting the game come to him, making the game easier for other people on the other side of the floor. It's three games of [starting], but again, don't look at any of these lineups too much. Guys are out. I'm just looking at whatever we can with the guys that are available.”

That last part makes me feel like he's speaking code for -- don't pay attention to the lineups because Richardson will be back soon.

Q: Is Tyler Johnson really evolving into a reliable point guard? 

It's early. Very early. But it's clear Johnson isn't the same hot mess at point guard he was last season when Spoelstra threw him to wolves in January when Dragic went down with a calf injury and Miami badly needed point guard help.

Tyler JohnsonJohnson has 14 assists and only one turnover this preseason and he says the game is finally beginning to slow down for him a little bit when he's at the point. Spoelstra has had a big hand in that, making sure Johnson was running the point in practice regularly since camp began and making it Johnson's focus this summer.

"You can drill it was much as you want, but until you're in the situation -- I need these reps, these game reps," Johnson said. "In practice it's good for me to get a feel for what guy's tendencies are. But in the game, using my voice and being able to get guys in the right position and just knowing where I need to be is probably the biggest difference."

With guard the real strength of this Heat team, the ideal situation for the team is for Johnson to thrive as a backup point guard, scoring and sharing the playmaking duties with Waiters, basically continuing what the starting lineup does with Dragic and Richardson. And Johnson has no problem coming off the bench -- even after signing that $50 million deal this summer.

"I definitely feel comfortable coming off the bench," he said Tuesday. "It gives me a chance to see the game; see how things are going, and then I can come in and kind of add my own. If I need to inject energy or if I need to speed up the pace a little bit, I can do that."

Having Johnson be a legitimate starting caliber point guard not only makes his four-year, $50 million contract worthwhile for the Heat, but it also makes trading Dragic away easier. 

Q: Has Rodney McGruder pushed his way into contention for the Heat's final roster spot?

It looks that way.

When I asked Erik Spoelstra on Monday if the battle for the 15th and final roster spot was between veteran point guard Beno Udrih and 23-year-old defensive dynamo Briante Weber he told me it wasn't. At the time I thought it was just coach speak to avoid the issue.

But on Tuesday it was McGruder -- and not Weber or Udrih -- who made his way into the game first off the bench. In fact, McGruder came in with 2:38 left in the opening quarter for Dion Waiters and ended up playing 23 minutes. He scored eight points and had two assists without a turnover. He finished plus-29 for the game.

Udrih, meanwhile, didn't play even though he was healthy. And Weber played 13 minutes, entering late in the third quarter. He had five points, three assists and four turnovers.

"I thought Rodney was so rock solid," Spoelstra said afterward. "I don't even know what his stat line was, but he does so many things to help you win on both ends of the court. He really plays with a focused intensity. [That's] tough to teach."

That sounds like a ringing endorsement. But before we get carried away, McGruder is shooting 39.5 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from three-point range and has played 17.1 minutes -- most of which has come on nights when the regulars are on the bench or when they've sat out entirely.

Weber, meanwhile, leads the NBA in steals (17) this preseason. Although he's made nearly as many turnovers (14) as assists (16), he gives the Heat something it doesn't have otherwise on the roster -- a top-notch defender on opposing point guards. The Heat, meanwhile, has a lot of combo guards. 

And although Udrih hasn't played much at all this preseason, Spoelstra values what he brings as a steady hand to the offense as a true backup point guard.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hassan Whiteside to miss Tuesday's game vs. Magic after the death of his great grandmother

Hassan Whiteside will not play Tuesday night against the Orlando Magic and has returned home to North Carolina to be with his family following the death of his great grandmother. 

Hassan Whiteside"He's going through some tough times. But we're there for him," teammate Goran Dragic said Monday. "I can't wait to see him back."

Whiteside will rejoin the Heat on Thursday when the team plays at Charlotte, coach Erik Spoelstra said. 

Miami will also likely be without forwards Justise Winslow (back) and Luke Babbitt (groin) when it faces the Magic at 7:30 p.m. AmericanAirlines Arena Tuesday.

Spoelstra said Winslow would be a game-time decision and that Babbitt would get the night off for precautionary reasons after going through shoot-around on Tuesday. Winslow is the only Heat player that has started all five games this preseason.

"If it was his decision he would play," Spoelstra said of Babbitt. "But we want to give it another night."

Spoelstra said he feels like he's seen enough of the Heat through it's first five preseason games to not have to worry so much about studying rotations and instead can put health and well-being at the forefront of concerns.

Miami opens the season Oct. 26 in Orlando and wraps up the preseason with back-to-back games Thursday at Charlotte and at home Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers.  

"I think we're still going to move forward with the plan that we've had," Spoelstra said. "It also depends on who is available. I'd like to get guys as many reps to build that continuity. But I don't I feel like I need to have an official dress rehearsal. I just want to continue to have us look at things and move forward. Three games will be good for us."

Monday, October 17, 2016

Babbitt still dealing with tight groin; J-Rich progressing, but a return for the season opener unlikely

Coach Erik Spoelstra has gone with Derrick Williams as his starting power forward for the last three preseason games, but he made it clear Monday he's still not ready to give the former No. 2 overall pick the starting job just yet.

Luke Babbitt"I'm not really at that point right now," Spoelstra said. "We're developing him and his minutes and his confidence right now until he understands our system. But I did like the way he played this weekend. To be frank, I may have gone back to Luke [Babbitt] on Saturday if he was healthy to give that another look as well."

Babbitt, who started the Heat's preseason opener and is an enticing option for Spoelstra because of his dangerous three-point shooting touch, missed last weekend's back-to-back games in San Antonio and Louisville with a tight right groin.

Monday, Babbitt participated in some non-contact drills, but said the groin is still not up to par. His goal now is just to try and return before the preseason ends on Friday, when the Heat play the final leg of a three games in four nights stretch against the Philadelphia 76ers.

"I don't think it's really that serious," Babbitt said Monday of his tight groin, an injury he says he's never had before. "It's just real tight and I just want to treat it before it becomes a lingering issue. I didn't go through the full practice today, but my goal would be to get back out there as soon as I can.

"I'm real conscious of wanting to be out there right now, developing a chemistry with the guys. I take this preseason real seriously. I'm doing everything I can to get out there ASAP. At the same time with a tight groin muscle it's something I don't want have lingering into the regular season."

> Spoelstra said guard Josh Richardson, who has been recovering from a partially torn MCL in his right knee since Sept. 9, was "able to get out there and do a decent portion of the non-contact work" Monday.

But it's clear the Heat are not going to push him very hard to be ready for the season opener on Oct. 26. The team prefers he heals correctly and avoids a setback. 

"I think it would be a very optimistic, aggressive schedule," Spoelstra responded when asked if it's realistic to think Richardson could play in the opener. "We want to make sure he's feeling full comfortable, fully conditioned and that he really trusts his leg. He's never been really injured before. So, that's also new to him."

The original diagnosis for Richardson's recovery was six to eight weeks. He said he was hopeful he would be able to make it back in time for the opener, but at the same time didn't know that he would.

Last week Richardson began taking "soft" jump shots. He's said during camp in the Bahamas that once he returns he'll wear a brace on his right knee at least until he's fully confident he's recovered from the injury. 

> Spoelstra said he won't necessarily treat the final week of the preseason any differently in terms of getting guys minutes and establishing rotations. 

"I don't feel that I really need to play a full rotation," he said. "We did as much as we possibly could of that in San Antonio. So, I'll balance that while still trying to evaluate some of the younger guys. And also I want to make sure our guys are feeling really good, healthy and fresh for that first game."

Heat waive forward Stefan Jankovic; sign center Vashil Fernandez

The Heat on Monday made its first roster move of the preseason, waiving rookie forward Stefan Jankovic and adding shot-blocking center Vashil Fernandez to the roster.

Vashil FernandezWhile there's an outside chance Jankovic could be picked up by another NBA team, Monday's move was made to help beef up the franchise's D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

By picking up Fernandez Monday, the Heat can assign both him and Jankovic to the Skyforce's roster since both will have spent the majority of the preseason with the Heat and Miami would own both of their affiliate rights, Heat general manager Andy Elisburg explained. 

The only way the Heat would lose out on either player was if they made an NBA roster for another team after this weekend's round of roster cuts league wide, which is unlikely for two undrafted rookies. 

All NBA teams must trim their rosters to the regular-season limit of 15 by next Monday. Miami currently has 20 players on the roster.

"First of all I'm just thankful to God to get the opportunity," Fernandez said Monday after practice. "I've been working out all summer, and the Heat, I'm grateful they want me to be a part of their program. They love shot-blockers like Hassan [Whiteside] and Alonzo Mourning. I'm just excited to be here and to be able to be a part of this organization, be able to grow and get better each year.

"If the Heat want me to be here and go get some development, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get better to get to the highest level."

The all-time leading shot blocker at Valparaiso, Fernandez (6-10, 260) was the NCAA leader in blocks last season (3.31 per game) and was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row. He averaged 5.6 points (on fewer than five shots a game) and 7.3 rebounds last season as a senior, finishing his career with 289 blocks in four seasons. The 24-year-old Jamaican native will wear number 14 with the Heat.

According to this NCAA feature story on Fernandez, he grew up in a three bedroom house with 15 kids and three adults and he didn't pick up a basketball until he was 17. He also earned master's degrees in international economics and finance and international commerce and policy in college.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said Fernandez worked out with the Heat in September and was a player the organization liked.

Since his workout with the Heat, Fernandez said he's spent the past month at home in Austin, Texas, working out and waiting for an NBA team to call him. Fernandez said he had one pre-draft workout with Portland Trail Blazers and another with the Toronto Raptors he wasn't able to get to because of "a flight situation."

"He's a long, athletic, high energy, shot blocking big that we've seemed to have some success with before," Spoelstra said. "We'll take a look at him the next few days."

As for Jankovic, who received a $100,000 guarantee on his partially guaranteed contract as an undrafted rookie out of Hawaii this summer , the Heat remain high on him. Spoelstra said it was just unfortunate the 6-11, 234-pound stretch power forward was slowed by an ankle injury this preseason. Jankovic played only 3 minutes and 40 seconds in Friday's win over the Spurs, missing two shots.

"We spent a lot of time developing him this summer and we wanted to spend as much time as possible in summer league and a couple months after that," Spoelstra said. "It was unfortunate that he sprained his ankle and he wasn't able to participate too much in training camp. But we are encouraged by the development he made before that. Now, comes the next decision and that's really in his hands rights now. But we'd like to continue the relationship with him.

"We hope to continue the relationship with majority of these guys," Spoelstra continued later. "Ideally, with the new collective bargaining agreement we can keep the relationship going with at least a couple of them. We do invest that time. Guys come here for a reason. The relationships we have with a lot of the agents, they see that the staff will commit to [their players] regardless if they even play in the preseason. We've invested a lot of staff time, even this summer with Stefan with the hope we can continue the relationship and that's not a guarantee either way. It does make it tough, but also it's changing now where it's really becoming a developmental minor league. So these guys do see that it's a transition a lot of times, not necessarily a cut."

Friday, October 14, 2016

Whiteside available to meet Heat fans at Sunday ticket center event

Hassan Whiteside will moonlight inside AmericanAirlinesArena’s newly rebranded Tissot Ticket Center at a special Grand Opening event on Sunday.

Whiteside will be stationed inside one of the Center’s windows and will distribute free tickets for the first 100 fans beginning at 12:30 p.m. Fans can line up as early as 11 a.m. for the free ticket distribution. There will be a limit of two wristbands (each wristband redeemable for two tickets) per household.

The afternoon block party style event will also feature appearances by the HEAT Dancers, DJ M-DOT, the Xtreme Team and Burnie and lunch options from a variety of food trucks. Fans will have a chance to win prizes including a specialty Heat Tissot watch and autographed merchandise. Tissot watches will also be available for purchase at The Miami Heat Store By the Bay, which will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dwyane Wade's absence felt in Heat locker room and on the floor

For the last 13 years the Miami Heat has usually gone about it's business at home the same way: Dwyane Wade's locker has been the center of the universe for reporters before and after games, and he's always been the last player introduced to the home crowd.

Tuesday night, the first time the Heat played at home since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Toronto, was the first time in 13 years Wade wasn't around to be in his usual spots.

And it was freaking weird.

"As soon as I came back from Europe I looked around and saw Beno Udrih tag's over there -- I said, OK?" point guard Goran Dragic said when asked if it felt weird not to see Wade in the Heat locker room.

Where it really felt weird for Dragic on Tuesday was "before the game and during the game, on the floor."

While Udrih took Wade's spot in the locker room, Dragic replaced Wade in the player introductions, having his name called last.

"I don't care about that," Dragic said before breaking out into laughter. "For me they can change it and put Whitey [Hassan Whiteside] last. I can go first so I don't sit too much on the bench. Then, I would feel better."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Heat to honor late Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez with moment of silence, shooting shirts with his initials

Back of Jose Fernandez shooting shirtsThe Miami Heat will honor the memory of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a tragic boating accident on Sept. 25, by wearing specially designed shooting shirts with his initials and number on it before their preseason home opener Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

Additionally, there will be a moment of silence to honor Fernandez, a two-time All-Star and one of the game's brightest young stars.

Several South Florida sports teams have observed a moment of silence or worn a special patch or sticker on their helmets to honor Fernandez's memory.

The Miami Hurricanes wore a patch to honor Fernandez on their football helmets two weeks ago in a game at Georgia Tech. 


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