Monday, September 26, 2016

Pat Riley says his email to Dwyane Wade is in his saved drafts: "I just have to hit send."

If you are wondering if and when Pat Riley may finally be sending that long carefully crafted email to Dwyane Wade know that it looks the 12-time All-Star will be receiving it soon.

Wade-Riley"I have finished it. I really have finished it," Riley said Monday in a conversation with a handful of Heat beat reporters. "I have it in my saved drafts. I just have to hit send. That's all. I will. I love Dwyane."

Wade, who left to the Bulls this summer when the Heat didn't necessarily meet his financial demands, told us two weeks ago when he was in South Florida for his final community event before leaving for Chicago that he still hadn't received the email from Riley.

What will the letter to Wade ultimately say?

"I don't know if you can put these two words together -- metaphoric hyperbole," Riley said. "He's going to have to read through the lines. But then he'll get the point at the end."

Riley, 71, insisted Monday the story of Wade and him not seeing eye-to-eye is a bit overblown. He said he wasn't involved in any of the negotiations with Wade for the last two years and ultimately Wade was saying no to the Heat, not him.

"In 13 years being with him, I can't remember any time in any one summer where we talked or I bumped into him," Riley said. "I never bothered our players during the Big 3 era. They only had two or three months off.

"The only time I would ever get in touch with a player in my entire career was always around Aug. 1 when your biological clock gets ticking and I would give them a friendly reminder. As head coach I used to send them three letters. That's Spo's job now. But I would just remind them to start thinking about getting ready. That was the only contact I ever had with them."

Riley reiterated what he said back in July that he does ultimately regret not contacting Wade before he decided to sign with the Bulls.

"I don't think a lot of people understand I was not involved in those negotiations at all for two years," Riley said. "I was involved with [his agent] only in 2014. And we couldn't come to a deal. So, it was turned over to the boss -- as it should be.

"The kind of standing that Dwyane had, he had the right to talk to the owner. And, that's the way it went for the two years. I had talked to his agents, people that I needed to talk to. But as far as during that time, during free agency, the draft, summer league, no I did not make a call to him. That was being handled. As I said, I was floored by the decision. I wish I would have [called]."

Wade and the Bulls make their only visit to AmericanAirlines Arena on Nov. 10. 

Riley: "I've had thoughts of moving on, but I woke up this morning and I was just excited."

Pat Riley has been with the Miami Heat for 21 years and while it's abundantly clear the franchise is heading toward another rebuild with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade's run with the team now all but over, the 71-year-old made it clear Monday he isn't ready to step away from his duties on Biscayne Boulevard just yet. 

"Yeah, I've had thoughts the last couple years of moving on. I really have," Riley said Monday morning in a meeting with a handfuul of beat reporters. "But I woke up this morning and I was just excited. I'm not excited about the dilemma with Chris [Bosh]. But I'm excited about another season, another build, another group of young guys that have been coming in here since Aug. 1. I'm excited about Spo."

Riley, who has been in the NBA nearly 50 years, has built what he considers six different teams with the Heat. There was the Alonzo Mourning-Tim Hardaway squad, the one with Wade, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Eddie Jones and Udonis Haslem, the team with Shaquille O'Neal and Wade, the team after Shaq left, the Big Three and the squad Riley tried to put together with Luol Deng, Goran Dragic, Wade and Bosh to contend, but played only three months together.

This new era of Heat basketball, Riley said, with Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson and Dragic excites him for various reasons. One, he'll get to see Spoelstra, his disciple, take a young, fast team and try to mold it the way he wants to. Two, the Heat has an opportunity to find new stars to lead the franchise forward.

"This is not his greatest challenge by the way," Riley said of Spoelstra. "This is far and away from his greatest challenge. His greatest challenge was the four years of the Big 3, putting them together, getting them to the Finals, winning championships. This is a challenge for him, but one I know he's excited about.

"He can go to the drawing board, start moving pieces around, cultivate his own philosophy with this team and I think that's important. That's what the growth of a coach goes through. That's what happens. Players have a tendency to teach you new things and new ways to approach things.

"He's done a lot of work this summer on being able to approach these group of players because he's known pretty much known since mid July the team he's going to have. It's going to be exciting for him."

But how much longer does Riley have? How much longer does he want to stick around? What ultimately does he want to leave the Heat with before stepping away?

"You always get pulled back in," Riley said. "Every single time I've always thought about [my wife] Chris and I just moving on, there's always something else that pulls you back in. What I mean it pulls you back in because if you left at that time everybody says he's running away. I think there's a time when you can do that. But you have to win a championship in order to do that and I've never done that.

"But after 50 years of being around the NBA I think you can leave at any time on your terms whenever you want to do it. But there's a couple things that have to happen as far as I'm concerned.

"I'm not the only leader in this front office. The smartest guy in that room is over there is Andy Elisburg. He's the smartest guy in the room and without him we wouldn't be anywhere. But he's not the smartest guy on the court. So, we have a ying-yang, Andy and I.

"Nick [Arison] as the CEO is an entirely different personality, but he's been here so long and he's in on all the decision making and basically right now when we sit in meetings Nick will sit and listen and then all of a sudden he'll say something and I'll say 'Wow, I didn't think of that in that way.' So, there' a lot of wisdom Nick has. I think a lot of that comes from his father. His father is in the meeting and Spo is in the meeting, too. So, there's five of us right now that are sort of in the decision making process as we move forward.

"What needs to happen, to answer your question, is what's going to be the [line of] succession. I think that's important. I want to make sure that Micky is comfortable with everything before I make that decision. We've had a discussion about that. And when you're 71 years old you have a right to talk about that with you boss.

"I'm not going to leave this damn thing until we have the right people running it. I think I could right now and there would still be the right people running it. But I think we're one person short probably. The one that knows as much as that game out there as he does about this stuff right here."

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Chris Bosh responds to failed physical and releases second installment of Rebuilt

Late Friday night, in light of the news of his failed physical with the Miami Heat, Chris Bosh released a statement to his fans on social media.

In it, he hinted that despite the setback and recurrence of clotting in his body, that he was in no way considering retirement yet. In fact, he sounded like a man that wouldn't give up his fight just yet.

"What's going on everybody?" Bosh said before providing a short preview of Episode 2 of his self-directed documentary Rebuilt.

"I had the intention of releasing Episode 2 with Uninterrupted, Bosh Rebuilt today under the assumption I would be cleared to go for camp," he continued. "Unfortunately, that is not the case. But that does not stop me from trying to share my creative side with you guys and hoping that you want to come along in the journey with me. Just because the journey has ups and downs doesn't means I will stop sharing with you guys. I will just continue to share despite what's going on.

"Little setbacks happen, but that doesn't change my intentions and what I want to accomplish. So, I hope you continue to watch. I hope you continue to just take in my journey and just come along with me with the ups and downs. So, it's a down moment right now. But everything is going to be alright."

On Saturday afternoon, Bosh released Episode 2 of Rebuilt. 

"Sometimes you just have to be broken down to rebuild yourself and come back better than ever," Bosh began saying in the clip. "We began to do our own research. We began to find articles. We began to find papers. We began to find other doctors who were not only forward thinking, but were specialists who could help and have dealt with athletes before. So, we decided to get smarter and just really hit the ground and just dig out as many clues as possible and we were able to find a few gems.

"The doctors I work with [say] its more so a matter of procedure. They have the formula. They take the blood. They study it. On blood thinners, off blood thinners. They get all the data possible to put their formula into it and customize it for me. It's not like I'm the first guy ever to do this. This is no experimental drug. This is a drug that people are very familiar with and numerous amounts of athletes have done this before me, which they some have been playing for years. So, it's not a matter of if I'm going to play again -- it's when.

"I'm in the gym everyday. I'm taking care of my body every day. That gives me the confidence to know that I can go out there and do my job. I'm one of the best players in the league. Whether I've been in the hospital or been in different situations it doesn't matter. I can still play the game."

Bosh of course recorded these clips weeks ago -- before he knew he had failed the physical and there was recurrence of clotting in his lung.

"If I felt that my husband's life and health was at risk -- we're a family of five children," Bosh's wife, Adrienne, said in the clip. "I wouldn't have been in agreement with my husband going onto a court if I didn't feel it was OK or thought that he was safe. There's nobody more concerned with our family's well being and leading our family and being here for me and being for our kids than him."

The episode ends with the announcement of Bosh not being cleared by the Heat to return to the court. 

Bosh then provides the following audio clip.

"I've done what I need to do. I've educated myself enough to know sometimes you just have to take things into your own hands," he said. "And, that's one of the messages I would implore all the young guys -- especially in sports out there -- is that you can take control of your own situation. If you feel that you need to put yourself in the best position possible to succeed, whatever that means, you need to make certain moves to do it, you can do it. If I don't get cleared, that's what I'll do."

It's unclear if Bosh will definitely fight the Heat on this matter moving forward. All we know for sure is he hasn't been cleared by the team and his career with the Heat is likely over. Miami can release him after Feb. 9, the anniversary of his last game, and then the remaining portion of his salary that would count against the salary cap would be wiped off the books.

That's of course if Bosh doesn't sign with another team and play in at least 25 games. After that point, his salary would go back against the Heat's cap.

If you would like to see Episode 2 of Rebuilt go to the Uninterrupted.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Heat sign former D-League All-Star Keith Benson

The Heat signed former NBA D-League All-Star center Keith Benson to the roster on Friday, increasing the roster total to a maximum 20 players.

Benson spent last season with the Heat's D League affiliate, 2016 league champion Sioux Falls Skyforce, appearing in 49 games (23 starts) and averaging 13.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.57 blocks and 23.8 minutes while shooting 57.3 percent from the field. Benson appeared in all seven postseason games on the Skyforce’s path to the title averaging 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.14 blocks and 17.8 minutes while shooting 59.2 percent from the field.

Benson has now played in 93 career NBA Development League games (60 starts) and averaged 13.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.58 blocks and 24.9 minutes while shooting 52.9 percent from the field. He was previously signed by the HEAT on August 25, 2015, appearing in five preseason games averaging 5.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 11.8 minutes before being waived on October 24, 2015. Additionally, Benson has appeared in three career NBA regular season games, all with Golden State, totaling three rebounds in nine minutes of action and has spent time playing professionally in Belarus, China, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy and the Philippines.

Benson was originally drafted in the second round (48th overall) in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Battier: "I feel for Chris [Bosh]; I feel for the Heat"

Shane Battier hosted his fifth annual Battioke event Thursday night to raise money for the Battier Take Charge Foundation and shared his feelings regarding former teammate Chris Bosh and ongoing battle with the Miami Heat to return to the court.

Battier's comments were certainly interesting.

"I feel for Chris; I feel for the Heat," Battier said. "Obviously as his friend I'm worried about Chris' health first and foremost. Basketball is a bonus at this point. I know in his heart of hearts he wants to play. There are certain legalities that are an issue here on both sides. And I think the time has not been right to address those. In training camp they'll be addressed. But just as a friend of both the Heat and Chris it's been tough to watch."

Battier said he can see both sides of the argument.

"There's an emotional side, there's a business side, no one is wrong here," Battier said. "I think it's going to come down to the interpretation of the law."

Bosh, who had a second bout with blood clots last season, has been undergoing a battery of tests this week with Heat doctors and has yet to be cleared to return to the court. 

The Heat open training camp Tuesday in the Bahamas and host media day on Monday. 

Bosh, an 11-time All-Star, will release the second installment of his self-directed documentary on his battle with the Heat and potential return to the court on Friday at 11 a.m. on



Anthony Carter joins Heat's D-League staff; De La Grana rejoins Heat staff as assistant

Former NBA point guard Anthony Carter, who began his career with the Heat and hit the game-winning shot in Miami's Game 3 victory over the New York Knicks in the 2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals, has joined the Heat's NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, as an assistant coach for the upcoming season.

Carter, who spent 14 seasons in the NBA with six different teams including his first four with the Heat, joins the Skyforce coaching staff after serving as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings during the 2015-16 season. Prior to his time with the Kings, Carter was an assistant coach for the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League for two seasons, helping them to a 32-18 record in his second season with the team, good enough for first place in their division.

Carter will serve under Nevada Smith, who takes over as head coach of the Skyforce for Dan Craig. Smith formerly served as the head coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he led the team to an overall record of 57-43 in two seasons spanning from 2013-15. 

Spoelstra's new assistants this coming season -- replacing Keith Smart and David Fizdale (Memphis Grizzlies) -- will be Craig and Octavio De La Grana, who served as a Craig assistant last year with the Skyforce.

Juwan Howard and Chris Quinn were on the staff last season. De La Grana is entering his 11th season with the Heat having previously served as coach at Florida Christian and Westminster Christian High Schools in Miami.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Udonis Haslem says he's going to 'damn sure try' to make sure he and Dwyane Wade finish their careers together

There was a moment Saturday morning during Dwyane Wade's final good-bye event here in Coconut Grove that you genuinely felt the love the 12-time All-Star has for Udonis Haslem.

"UD has been by my side for 13 years. Listen you know how we are. We are macho men. So we don't say a lot of stuff to each other that we say to others. But I love that man," Wade said at his first annual six-mile CommUNITY Bike Ride event in Coconut Grove.

"One of the hardest things about me leaving this city was that I wasn't going to be playing with UD anymore, that I wasn't going to be in the same locker room with him. That was the hardest decision for me.

"Like we always say 'Blood couldn't make us any closer.' I appreciate this guy for all the fines he took for sticking up for me. If I scored 20,000 points I'll give him 10,000 for the screens he set for me to get there. I did the rest. But he did the beginning part of it. This is just mutual respect. This is a brother. I made a promise to him that we were going to finish our career together. As of now, I didn't hold up my end of the bargain. So I've got to make it up to him eventually. But this is my brother man. And I love this guy."

Haslem was the only former Heat teammate at Saturday's event -- the last Wade will have in Miami before heading to Chicago to begin playing with the Bulls. While Heat fans are still heartbroken over Wade's departure, it's clear Wade hasn't completely gotten over the breakup either.

More than anything, though, he's going to miss the city, his multi-million dollar water front home and Haslem, who broke into the league with him back in 2003.

"You know that song there's level to this, there's going to be levels to this," Wade said. "It's not an overnight thing. I talked to Chicago and they understand that. I'm trying to get adjusted to it. I've been in one NBA city for 13 years in my career. It's different. But I'm a guy who is a fast learner. I am going back to familiar territory in the sense of my family is in Chicago. But it's going to be different. But I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life and it starts in a bout a week and a half. I'm excited. It's my 14th year in my career. That's one thing I always told myself: as long as I'm excited to keep playing this game and I'm excited to go in the gym and work out and keep doing all the things I need to do I'm going to keep going. I have excitement and I just want to keep going."

Wade wants to keep going for now. So does Haslem. And if there's a chance they could reunite one day they'd both love it.

"Sometimes people say that blood is thicker than water. But with me and this guy it's not about blood. It's about the blood we put in, the sacrifices we put in and everything we went through together," said Haslem, who spent a lot of time with Wade this summer, traveling to as far as China with him.

"I really can't say much. One thing is when you have a real relationship with somebody you support them through thick and thin. He's done a lot for this city, he's done a lot of me, so we appreciate him. No matter where he is and where he goes we'll continue to support him because we're family."

So is there a realistic chance Haslem and Wade could be reunited?

"I'm going to damn sure try," Haslem told me. "I mean, I don't know. I guess I've got to wait until next summer to see how that goes. But, I never give up without a fight. So there's ain't no time to start now."

Would Haslem consider leaving the Heat to do so?

"I didn't say that," Haslem said. "I was thinking more him of him coming here. I never said that. I won't ever say that. When I said play with him again, I never said leave.

"He's trying to sell his house down here. I might just buy it and hold it for him."

It's hard to imagine how Wade could end up back in a Heat uniform, though, at this point. He and Pat Riley still haven't communicated since Wade left. And that was more than two months ago.

I asked Wade if he had received that carefully, crafted email Riley said he was going to send him.

"That's the funny thing about phones -- spell check sometimes mess it up," Wade said. "I haven't received it yet. But I'm sure it's coming."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Heat heading to Bahamas for training camp

The Miami Heat is heading back to paradise for training camp.

The team announced Tuesday it will hold its five-day camp beginning Sept. 27 at The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, marking the second time in the last four years the Heat has gone there for training camp. Last year the Heat held its camp at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

The Heat will conduct two-a-day practice sessions in the Grand Ballroom at the Atlantis Conference Center before returning to Miami on Saturday afternoon.

The Heat plays the first of eight preseason games Oct. 4 at Washington and opens the regular season Oct. 26 at Orlando.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Chris Bosh says on Snapchat: "Everybody is always asking me if I'm hooping. Yes, I'm hooping."

The Miami Heat still aren't ready to discuss the state of Chris Bosh's health or if he'll be ready for the start of training camp on Sept. 27. 

But Bosh at least is providing indications he's ready to resume his playing career following a second bout with blood clots last season.

On Monday, the 11-time All-Star posted videos of himself running through basketball drills on his Snapchat account.

He also had a message for his fans: "I know I've been gone for a moment, but now I'm back," Bosh said in one of the clips. "Everybody is always asking me if I'm hooping. Yes, I'm hooping. Absolutely. I'm a hooper."

Bosh has missed the second half of each of the last two seasons after developing blood clots in his legs. While his teammates have said on multiple occassions this summer they expect him to return to the court this coming season, the Heat as an organization hasn't. Monday, when asked again about Bosh, a team spokesman told the Miami Herald: "Sorry, no update yet."

Bosh believes he should be cleared according to a source who spoke to our Barry Jackson. The Heat has said it would like to find a way for Bosh to play and disputes any notion it is trying to clear Bosh off the salary cap. 

Last month when team president Pat Riley was asked about Bosh during a press conference Riley said: "I think we should just wait until August, September. I think we'll have a lot more information then."

Heat owner Micky Arison posted an open letter to the team's fans earlier this month that included Bosh in it. Coach Erik Spoelstra, however, has not mentioned Bosh in any of the videos the team has released when Spoelstra has discussed the upcoming season.

Videos Monday featured Bosh working through mid-range shooting, three-point shooting and dribbling drills.

Several teammates have been voluntarily working out at AmericanAirlines Arena for a couple months. Bosh hasn't appeared in any vidoes the team has posted on social media from those workouts.

The primary concern with Bosh, who is still due $76 million over the next three years, is whether or not he can return to contact situations on blood thinning medication. 

"I think all those things will come in to play and there'll be a discussion," Riley said last month when asked if Bosh could return to the Heat with restrictions on travel and overall workload. "There are many players in different sports that do play with that condition, and they're on and off programs on blood thinners and stuff. But I think when it comes down to a final protocol, or if it gets to a formula in how this has to be done, then that's what we'll deal with."

Bosh hasn't played since Feb. 9. The only way the Heat could petition the league for salary cap relief is if Bosh doesn't play for a full calendar year and if an independent doctor jointly selected by the players association and the league determines Bosh cannot medically continue his career.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

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