Friday, November 18, 2011

Chalmers organizes exhibition in Alaska; Wade might not play

Mario Chalmers has organized an exhibition basketball game to be played in his native Anchorage, Alaska, on Dec. 1.

48_chalmersmarioIn other words, MARIO CHALMERS has organized, arguably, the most logistically challenging exhibition game of this long offseason. Congrats to him. I mean, never mind getting to Alaska. Being there this time of year is miserable. The low tonight in Anchorage is two degrees.

Chalmers has commitments from some of his buddies around the league and Carlos Boozer (the other Alaskan). No doubt a good time will be had by all when Chalmers gets together with Michael Beasley,  Daequan Cook and James Harden.

Chris Bosh and Dexter Pittman will play in the game but Dwyane Wade told Chalmers he might not make it because of his responsibility as a parent. Sounds like a good excuse to me to get out of going to Alaska in December.

On Thursday, Wade did say that he might consider playing overseas if the season is lost. (He said this in August as well.) I seriously doubt Wade will ever play in a league overseas but I'm assuming he'll be bringing his boys if he does so.

KSC-Create

PICTURED: Sources confirm that this Heat dancer will not be playing overseas or going to Alaska.

-joe

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Take 6 From Vegas

Day Six from the Las Vegas Summer League was an active one for the Heat ... way back in Miami. Joel-Block

The Heat officially added three more players to the roster when it announced that swingman Mike Miller, forward Joel Anthony and draft pick Dexter Pittman were signed to contracts. That brings the Heat's roster to eight players (Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Miller, Anthony and Pittman). Two more are expected on the way as soon as Saturday - center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and forward Juwan Howard.

And to think that there were league executives who doubted the Heat's ability to fill out a roster around Wade, James and Bosh. If we've all learned one thing this offseason, it's don't bet against the Heat. But some of the moves are questionable. You can certainly question whether Miller or Anthony should have received five-year deals.

Miller will be 35 when his deal is up. So will Udonis Haslem. By that time, Wade, Bosh and James would probably need an infusion of youth and athleticism on the roster as they push toward the end of their contracts. And here's the ultimate irony. Anthony could be the only player among Heat veterans to have received a raise from last season. He tripled his salary in his new deal with the Heat, which gave him a about $18 million.

Yes, $18 million for Joel Anthony. More power to him. Dude made a nice come up. The Heat apparently had to outbid a few teams with cap space to re-sign Anthony. Miami made his a $1.1 million qualifying offer last month. And the offers just kept rising from there. For this price, meet the Miami Heat's starting center.

SUMMER GROOVE ROSTER: Obtained an unofficial copy of the Summer Groove roster for Sunday's game, and some of the names might intrigue you. Aaron Afflalo, Brandon Bass, Caron Butler, Daequan ZoFighting Cook, Samuel Dalembert, Tim Hardaway, Mike James, Ty Lawson, Darius Miles, Alonzo Mourning, Mo Peterson, Quentin Richardson, Rajon Rondo, DaJuan Summers, CJ Watson and Dorell Wright.

Depending on how well Timmy Hardaway makes out Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena, he might jump into that long line of old-school vets angling for a vet's minimum contract with the Heat. I've said all along that Miami should simply round out its depth at point guard and center by adding Zo and Timmy to the roster. Heck, why not.

HEAT SMOKING IN VEGAS PLAY: The Heat improved to 3-1 Friday night in the Las Vegas Summer League with a 78-58 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Shavlik Randolph led Miami with 18 points, and guards Kenny Hasbrouck and Weyinmi Efejuku combined for 27 points and nine assists. Miami was without Pittman for the second straight game because of a left toe injury. But Pittman's hand was just fine - he was healthy enough to sign that three-year contract earlier in the day that pretty much guarantees his spot on the roster.

Pittman hopes to play in Saturday's summer league finale against the Cavaliers. We hear ESPN is negotiating with Pittman to do an hour-long special leading to his decision to play or not. After all, it is Heat-Cavs. And you can't have Heat-Cavs without drama.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vegas-bound Beas? The Odds of That

Despite the controversy and trade rumors that continuously swirl around Michael Beasley, the polarizing Beas-V-Hawks former No. 2 overall draft pick doesn't sound as if he's played his final game with the Miami Heat just yet.

Speaking at an adidas promotional event in Spain, Beasley was quoted in a Hoopshype blog posted Monday morning saying he hopes to stay in Miami and plans to play in next month's summer league.

The Heat will send a team of new draft picks (center Dexter Pittman, forward Jarvis Varnado) last year's draft pick (guard Pat Beverley) and lower-level free agents who seek invitations to October training camp.

In many ways, Beasley is playing for his Heat future at the present, too.

Having said privately for months that he hopes to get one more shot to make things right with the Heat after two seasons of inconsistent play, locker room immaturity and uncomfortable off-the-court issues, Beasley's willing to take an unusual step to prove it.

"I'm going to play summer league. Pretty much don't stop," Beasley said in the interview from Spain. "I haven't had any vacation. I just went straight to working out. I feel I can do a lot to improve my game to help the team and take us further in the playoffs."

The Heat confirmed Monday that Beasley wasn't just blowing smoke. He was one of a handful of players team president Pat Riley has been trying to encourage to play in the Las Vegas Summer League, with the Heat opening its five-game schedule July 11.

Beasley and Chalmers are the only Heat players under guaranteed contracts for the 2010-11 season. But that is expected to soon change with free agency starting on Thursday. Miami had also been trying to get Daequan Cook to play summer league before he was traded last week along with the No. 18 pick in the draft to help create more salary-cap space.

Beasley and Chalmers remain development projects entering their third seasons in the league. So summer league is probably a good thing for both. Beasley has average about 15 points and 7 boards through his first two seasons, but still has several more levels to go before he becomes the player the Heat needs.

The problem is, he doesn't have long to get there - and he might have to go elsewhere to finally arrive. If you take Riley at his word last week, when he said Beasley wouldn't be dealt just to create more cap space and that the team hopes to build around him, there is reason for Beasley supporters to be encouraged.

But in times like these - amid the free agency frenzy and desperate push to rebuild teams into title contenders on the fly - it's tough to believe anything anyone says. Riley included. Beasley, too.

For the record, I'm not one who believes the Heat is just plain better off without Beasley. Right now, he's just not the No. 2 option to Dwyane Wade that many hoped he would be as soon as he stepped into the league. But I see no problem sliding Beasley to a third, fourth or fifth option on the team.

If Mike Beasley is your fourth-best player after a free agency overhaul, then that says something about the depth of your team. In that role, he's essentially the Heat's mid-level option, with that $5 million salary he's due next season. Look at it like that, and Beas can be seen as a bargain and much less a burden.

For his part, Beasley hopes to join a Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire next season in Miami - not be replaced by one of them. He also believes Wade will stay in Miami because Wade "already has laid his foundation."

Regarding his own personal development, Beasley suggested his is often overly criticized, although he admits to making plenty of mistakes.

"Everybody makes mistakes and I feel like sometimes mine have been magnified," Beasley, 21, said. "I feel like I'm expected to act older than what I am. I'm not saying that's a reason to do some of the things I've done. But, you know, I'm like everybody else. I make mistakes, learn from them and move on."

Sort through the public support of Beasley and the recent behind-the-scenes bartering for his services on the trade front, and the question still lingers.

Mike Beasley apparently is headed to Vegas.

But what are the odds his next game will be as a member of the Miami Heat - even with the watered down version that gathers in the coming days for mini-camp in advance of summer league play?

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Done Dealin'? Doubt It

After its decision to move out of the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft, the Heat is now faced with quite a Pat Riley1 dilemma.

How, just how, will the Heat entertain its fans at tonight's draft party at AmericanAirlines Arena for the first two-plus hours of activity in the first round.

From what I gather, the Heat has no plans to cancel that party - one that will double as a WeWantWade revival, complete with T-shirt tosses, prize giveaways and a chance to make a personalized video tribute that could be sent to Wade among the efforts to get him to re-sign when free agency opens July 1.

Wednesday's trade that sent Daequan Cook and the No. 18 overall pick to Oklahoma City for the 32nd pick in the second round was a win-win for both teams - despite how lopsided it might appear on the surface.

Miami gets the additional cap space it covets by parting with Cook's $2.1 million salary for next season as well as the $1.2 million the Heat would have had to guarantee the 18th pick of the draft. So that's an additional $3.3 million that can go toward the Bosh-Boozer-Amare-Johnson-Gay free agency fund.

The Heat could add another $900,000 to that fund if Joel Anthony decides to opt out of his contract, with a decision on that clause due today from the shot-blocking center. And Michael Beasley and James Jones also remain in play for potential draft-day trades. Look for Memphis, Oklahoma City, Portland, Sacramento and Washington to be among the more active teams that could end up partnering with the Heat in some sort of transaction.

BeasleyDraft So in essence, the draft continues to be what it was always meant to be for the Heat: A means by which to enhance its flexibility in free agency.

And don't think the dealing is done just because Dae-Dae had departed.

Pat Riley and Co. will make at least one more trade before the day is done - even if only to part with one of the now four second-round picks it has at Nos. 32, 41, 42 and 48. The Heat still has a few targets within its reach early in the second round.

Oklahoma State's James Anderson, the Big 12's leading scorer last season and Washington catalyst Quincy Pondexter could be had in that range if the Heat looks to get help on the perimeter.

Maryland's Greivis Vasquez and Nevada's Armon Johnson could be there between the 30th and 42nd pick if Miami is in the mood for a point guard project.

And although VCU's Larry Sanders, FSU's Solomon Alabi and Marshall's Hassan Whiteside should be long gone by the second round, the likes of Tulsa's Jerome Jordan and Texas' Dexter Pittman might still be on the board under the category of Big Man Help.

So stay tuned. A busy week for the Heat will likely get even busier as the day unfolds. Miami is known for its late-arriving crowds for Heat games.

For once, there's actually a legitimate reason to show up a bit fashionably late for tonight's party. 

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Answers to Thursday's Heat Q&A

Q: I think Bosh is more than likely somewhere else with a better sign and trade opportunity as opposed to the Heat. If that is the case, I personally would prefer a Boozer/Joe Johnson combination than just getting Amare or Amare with Johnson. What do you think? Also, do we have the cap space, or can we attain it through a Beasley trade, to get a Brendan Haywood, Earl Barron, or bring JO back at a discounted rate to be our center?

Answered 06/17/10 14:33:27 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I'd take Haywood, but I'd rather keep Beasley than let him walk for a reunion with either Earl Barron or Jermaine O'Neal. And I'm with you on the Boozer, Johnson pairing, although you'd then certainly need a center presence, which, I guess, would bring J.O. into the equation again.

Q: Great work Mike. Look into your crystal ball and tell me who you see Lebron, Bosh, Stoudemire, J.Johnson, and Boozer signing with?

Answered 06/17/10 14:31:32 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Not sure I can afford crystal in this economy. But I'll look into the knockoff I got from the Opa-Locka flea market last week and tell you that ... LeBron will be back in Cleveland. Stoudemire will be in Miami or Chicago. Bosh will be in Chicago or Miami. Joe Johnson will be in New York. And Boozer will join Johnson in New York. But don't put too much stock in that ball. It was $2 bucks and doesn't have a return policy.

Q: Is Ricky Williams Smoking Ganja again? Or, just Mr. Ross? They both are predicting the Dolphins are going to the Super Bowl next season. Do you think the Dolphins are capable of playing in the Super Bowl next season?

Answered 06/17/10 14:28:24 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You've reached the wrong Q&A. Press "0" for Jeff Darlington, Dolphins beat writer.

Q: Hi Michael, if Lebron and Wade team up and say Bosh decides to go for LAL who would be a better choice Boozer, Amare (most like not since he wants max contract) and I think Scola is available? Tnx.

Answered 06/17/10 14:27:13 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: In that scenario, I'd have to go with Boozer because he'd be cheaper and plus he's a better spot-up shooter than Amare. Playing alongside attack-the-basket players such as LeBron and Wade would create plenty of open looks for kick-out, mid-range jumpers. That's Boozer's game, in addition to his rebounding.

Q: hey mike when july 1 is here how long do u think it will take before the fireworks begin and in your expert opinion what do u think is a realistic scenario for the heat also if we can't build the team with sign and trade and we have to sign free agent directly which will prevent us to go over the 56 millions cap this year isn't it better to keep beasley for one more years and see how it works around 2 stars and then go all out in the next free agency when mr arisson will be able to go over the cap and finish to build a championship team cause i don't know how much over the lakers and celtics are but it doesn't looks like u can make it to the final round with a cheap salary team by the way when was the last time that a team won the champs and stayed under salary cap rule if it ever happen ? thank you for your time

Answered 06/17/10 14:25:37 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I really wish I had the answers. But I don't. I have educated and slightly-informed opinions. But Pat Riley is better than just about anyone in the league at keeping things close to the vest, despite being in on just about every available player. My guess is that Miami will end up with either Bosh or Stoudemire, make a strong play for Gay, look for a veteran pg in a trade, use at least two of its four draft picks to fill out roster spots and convince a proven league vet or two to come on board for a shot to contend in the East and unseat Boston and a weakened Orlando/Cleveland/Atlanta for a shot at the Finals.

Q: Just read somewhere that not only is Amare here but Rudy Gay is here with him working out this summer. Can you envision the Heat signing Amare and sign-and-trading Beasley/Cook for Gay? I think Gay, Wade, and Amare would be a great core if the Heat cannot land LBJ/Bosh.

Answered 06/17/10 14:22:56 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: That certainly would be the most explosive 2, 3, 4 trio in the league in my opinion. But I'm not sure the Grizzlies will allow Gay to walk this summer. If Gay doesn't want to be there, which I'm told he doesn't and wants out, he might have to take the one-year qualifying offer and then wait for unrestricted free agency next year - or a trade at the Feb. deadline.

Q: Good day mate! At least Amare was honest that he is NOT signing any contract that is not a maximum deal. 1st question is do you think he deserves one? Because I don't think so, I'd rather have Boozer if Amare's asking for a max. 2nd question is do you believe what these max-contract deserving FA's (LbJ, Bosh, etc.) whenever they say that winning is the most important thing and getting that max isn't that important to them? Do you really believe they would sign anything under the max?

Answered 06/17/10 14:20:30 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I don't think any of the top five free agents (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Stoudemire, Dirk) is signing for anything less than the max. I think there are only about 7 max slots available throughout the league at this point. Boozer, Johnson, Gay - those guys might have to settle for less than the max, even though there might be money out there.

Q: It seems as if Bosh to Miami is gaining some steam since he and D-Wade had dinner together. At the end of free agency, do you think Wade convinces Bosh and Johnson to join the Heat? If they do, would be a be top 2 team in the east?

Answered 06/17/10 14:17:21 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I'm not sure I'd go that far just because they had dinner together. Heck, Wade attended a tennis tournament with Star Jones a couple years back, but that didn't mean they kicked off a commitment. I believe the Heat would face more competition and difficulties getting Bosh than they would Stoudemire. As far as Johnson is concerned, it's just a matter of how much he's willing to win and at what cost in terms of a less-than-max salary from Miami.

Q: So the New York Times published a article saying that Ray Allen wants to come to miami. It says that he knows Chris Bosh will sign too. So all the cap space for Ray Allen, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade? Is it really worth it to spend it on them? What would be the line up? Would dwayne wade switch to point guard?

Answered 06/17/10 14:14:31 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: It was the New York Daily News that published the rumor as part of a weekly NBA gossip column. Here's a tip. Only believe 1 percent of half of the rumors you hear about NBA free agency.

Q: will stoudemire go with the heat

Answered 06/17/10 14:12:12 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The fact that Amare is here now working out, has established an offseason residence here and went as far as to get those MRIs at a clinic that just happened to service other Heat players certainly leads one to believe that something is in the works come July 1.

Q: trade Beasley,Jones,Cook with #1 pick to the pacers for Roy Hibbert and T J Ford. Then trade Ford to the warriors for Correy Maggette. Sign Steve Blake as the point guard. Starting 5: Blake,Wade,Maggette,Bosh,Hibbert bench: Chalmers,Raja Bell,Henry,Haslem,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Or Trade Beasley,Jones,Cook and #1 pick to the hornets for Darren Collison and Okafor. Resign Wright. Starting 5: Collison,Wade,D Wright,Bosh,Okafor bench:Chalmers,Raja Bell,Henry,Haslem,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Mike..

Answered 06/17/10 14:10:43 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There you go. Spin again.

Q: Hi Pat-riley! i know that you have been busy to try to improve our team this summer. but my point view is : whoever at the power foward ,rudy gay at small forward,wade,whoever at the point guard or mario charmers and the center spot draft pick or O'Neil. reserve at the bench wright,haslem,patrick,draft pick at center,richardson,beasley or another draft pick.

Answered 06/17/10 14:09:45 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You've got the wrong email if you're trying to reach Pat with another roster request. Try priley@whyinhellwouldItaketheseemailsfromfans.com

Q: Hey Mike, another question, is there any chance or way that Riley can bring Ricky Rubio here? I tend to think that he's not going to play in Minnesota and Minnesota is not going crazy for him, so can Riley work out a trade? If so, can he get him out of his European contract to get him here? I guess I'm asking if a) can this be done, and b) do you think it is a good PG option? Rubio looks like he's got good vision, can get the ball in the post and has a nice shot/range if Wade kicks out to him. What do you think?

Answered 06/17/10 14:07:22 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I won't be sold on Rubio until I see him getting it done in the NBA, against superior athleticism and quickness on a night in and night out basis. That's not to disrespect what he's doing overseas, but I need to see more than a few highlights. I believe Riley would rather go with a more proven vet at the point guard position. Even though J-Will and Payton drove Riley crazy with their attitudes and actions at times, there was a trust factor there that hasn't existed at that position since the championship team disbanded.

Q: After resigning Wade and Bosh trade Beasley,Cook,Jones to hornets for Collison and Okafor. Keep Collison and seeing as the pacers are interested in Okafor trade Okafor for Hibbert and Troy Murphy. Imagine having Murphy to backup Bosh. starting 5:Collison,Wade,D Wright,Bosh,Hibbert bench:Chalmers,Raja Bell,Gordan Hayward,Murphy,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Mike...

Answered 06/17/10 14:04:39 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I like. I like. But the question you have to ask is this: why would New Orleans need Beasley, Cook and Jones when they have David West, James Posey and Peja filling those exact same roles already?

Q: Hi Michael, hope u'r welle this week, as usual, under the florida sun... i have two questions for you today... first one : what choice would you do if you were in charge in the organisation, for the draft(choices which for you, would have the best sense)? second question: admitting bosh wants to come and Pat riley wants bosh to wear a heat jersey... it looks like a S&T is not so easy to do... so what is your thought about a three or four team deal to get every one happy?thanks for all...and take care. "bonjour de la france!"

Answered 06/17/10 14:03:07 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: If I'm Miami, I simply take the best player available, regardless of position, with the NO. 18 pick. The Heat has needs at every position, considering only two players are under guaranteed contract right now moving forward. Depth was an issue with this team the past few seasons. Having said that, I'd go with a Big with the first-round pick, either Whiteside or solomon kid from Florida State.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0r8XucaC1

Friday, April 30, 2010

Target Bosh, Take Hedo, Too

Well, that certainly didn't take long. Heat_Raptors_Bosh

Still two months away from the official start of free agency, there's significant early chatter already underway if the latest ESPN insider report is to be believed. At the very least, it's believable.

There has long been a league-wide consensus building that Chris Bosh is the most likely top-tier free agent to change addresses this summer. If that holds true, Toronto would be more than wise to hitch last summer's big move - or mistake - in Hedo Turkoglu to potential sign-and-trade scenarios for Bosh.

Turkoglu still has four seasons and some $43 million remaining on the contract he signed last season with the Raptors, who held high hopes that Hedo would be the complementary piece Bosh needed to get Toronto back in contention in the East.

Instead, after a decent first half, they completed the biggest collapse of any team in playoff position when they dropped from fifth to ninth in the standings - and out of the playoffs. The Raptors literally blew up in Bosh's face this season.

So here's the question Heat president Pat Riley might soon have to ponder. Clearly, Bosh is the Heat's top free agent target (I still consider LeBron James as a free agent pipe dream, although dreams do come true). But would Miami be willing to take on Turkoglu if it meant acquiring Bosh?

Of course Riley would. The question is does Miami have enough pieces to outbid other suitors the Raptors would line up for such a deal. Houston was mentioned in ESPN's report, with some sort of deal built around big man Jordan Hill that would expand to include the likes of Shane Battier, Luis Scola or another wing.

Miami would have to get a third team involved that is either under the cap or would be willing to take on Jermaine O'Neal as part of the sign-and-trade deal. And O'Neal, a veteran who can still produce when healthy, would fit well in Houston, which would need a backup or insurance for Yao Ming moving forward.

So the Heat would essentially send out O'Neal (to Houston) and Michael Beasley, Daequan Cook and James Jones to Toronto. And the Heat could sweeten the deal by giving Toronto back that conditional first-round pick Miami acquired in the O'Neal trade last year. And the Heat also has a spare Canadian to throw in, too (Joel Anthony or Jamaal Magloire).

Toronto would get back expiring contracts, significant cap space and a chance to start over. That's far more than it would get if Bosh simply bolted to Miami on his own, which he clearly could do if he didn't like any of the Raptors other potential trade partners.

Turkoglu And remember, Turkoglu was one of the three top 2009 free agents Riley floated the mid-level offer to last summer in long-shot hopes one would bite and take less money to play alongside Dwyane Wade. The other two were Lamar Odom and Ron Artest.

So that would leave the Heat with a 2-3-4 trio of Wade, Turkoglu and Bosh. And did we mention that Wade and Bosh have the same agent? On top of every thing else, doing this deal (and another smaller one) by sign-and-trade would also give the Heat the ability to exceed the salary cap to resign a few of its own free agents and also use of the mid-level exception to pursue a point guard or center.

The Heat managed to win 47 games this season with Wade working with much less. A Miami Big 3 of Wade, Hedo and Bosh would place the newcomers in their proper roles. For all of Bosh's talent, he's very much Nowitzki-like in the fact that he's better served as a No. 2 option instead of having to carry a team.

And that also pushes Hedo back to the third-option role that made him the league's most improved player while with Orlando. There were near disastrous results when he was upgraded to the No. 2 in Toronto.

This free agency makeover doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out process after all. It could be as simple as Bosh (plus Hedo) and Bang. Over. 

For Miami, this would very much make sense.

The question is, will all parties involved make it happen?

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Game 5 Breakdown: Celtics 96, Heat 86

BOSTON - On to the offseason, which is the season that really mattered most in the Heat's quest to Game5-main contend.

The Celtics commenced that rebuilding process for Miami with a 96-86 victory over the Heat to take the first-round series 4-1. Boston moves on to make perhaps one last run at a championship with its current unit.

The Heat moves on to the makeover that should surround Wade with the kind of star-studded help he needed but failed to get during this first-round series. One thing is clear after Wade delivered another amazing game only to watch in go down the drain: The Heat better get this man some help quickly this summer.

That's two seasons of Wade's prime now that he won't get back - last year's MVP candidacy that ended in a 43-win season and a first-round exit in the playoffs, and this year's 47-win campaign that was closed out thoroughly by the Celtics. If you saw nothing else this series, you witnessed just how much a supporting cast can mean to a team.

What if Wade had a shooter like Ray Allen? What if he had a swingman - even one past his prime - like Paul Pierce who can take over the scoring load for a quarter or two to relieve Wade of such heavy lifting?

Boston surrounded Pierce with Allen and Garnett two years ago - while Pierce still had some productive seasons left. At 28, Wade is going to need that kind of roster boost to take capitalize on his prime.

With 13 free agents on the roster, there will certainly be massive change this summer for Miami. Now, it's Pat Riley's turn to do the heavy lifting. That process started with Tuesday night's loss. It continues with Wednesday morning's exit interviews.

And then comes the real recruiting work to put that $24 million in salary cap space to work.

D. WADE'S DOINGS: Wade capped a remarkable series by scoring 31 points, dishing 10 assists and grabbing eight boards in 46 minutes. He showed the league - and all of its pending free agents - what it would be like to play with him in what amounted into a silent recruiting pitch. Make no mistake: Boston might not be what it was two years ago, but it remains one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Celtics threw two defenders at Wade when he had the ball and even when he didn't. They dared the refs to call defensive three seconds on every possession. Still, Wade managed to do enough to rally the Heat from that 21-point deficit to four. But Wade clearly expended all he had in the comeback. At a time when he needed a lift from teammates. There wasn't enough help beyond Mario Chalmers. Wade closed the series averaging 33.2 points, 6.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds on 56.4 percent shooting.

TURNING POINT: That came when the Heat sliced a 21-point lead to four early in the fourth quarter. But Game5-second Glen "Big Baby, Ticket Stub" Davis answered by converting a three-point play on a spinning layup and free throw with 9:29 left to push the lead to 79-72. The Heat didn't get any closer.

WINNING/LOSING EDGE: The Celtics' balance offset the Heat's one-man band. Beyond that, Boston shot 58.3 percent from three-point (7 of 12) range compared with 25 percent from the Heat (5 of 20). The Celtics also outscored Miami 12-2 in fastbreak/transition points.

HEAD-SCRATCHER: After seeing how this series played out, who should be invited back for next season? Jermaine O'Neal came up small at a time when the Heat needed him the most. Udonis Haslem couldn't hit a shot or free throw for most of the series, although he was aggressive on the boards. Neither Carlos Arroyo or Mario Chalmers offered much in the way of resistance to Rajon Rondo. Michael Beasley was outplayed by Glen Davis, not to mention Kevin Garnett. Four of Miami's five starters are free agents. The fifth - Beasley - might be the first one out of town, depending on what the Heat can fetch for him. There were times when you simply had to feel for Wade, who kept swinging and swinging and swinging. And while Pierce could look to Ray and  Ray could find Garnett and Garnett got relief from Rondo, there was really nowhere else for Wade to turn when he needed someone to take over for a spell. Credit the Heat for fighting hard. Pat Riley got what he wanted out of this team, an improved record from last season and a return trip to the playoffs. Beyond that, this was all about the summer of 2010. Well now it's here.

KEY CONTRIBUTION: Mario Chalmers was the only other Heat player to score in double figures. His Game5-Rio 20-point contribution was his playoff career high. He was 6 of 13 from the field, 3 of 8 on threes, 5 of 6 from the free-throw line. Chalmers got 14 of those points in the second half, as the Heat battled back from that 21-point deficit. Everyone else was severely limited. Haslem, who had been playing through one sore ankle, injured the other Tuesday. Quentin Richardson aggravated his bruised left hand and had little left out there. Jermaine O'Neal was consistent in his lack of contribution. Beasley was benched after a rough first half that saw miss all three of his field goals, commit three turnovers and struggle defensively. So, in other words, Chalmers wins by default here. 

NEXT UP: Exit Interviews - Wednesday, AmericanAirlines Arena

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Game 4 Breakdown: Heat 101, Celtics 92

Where there's a will, there's a Wade. Game4-main

And there was no doubt about it. It was in Dwyane Wade's will that the Heat lives to fight at least another day in the playoffs.

Setting all kind of franchise playoff records, Wade scored a season-high 46 points, including 30 in the second half, to spark the Heat to a 101-92 victory over the Celtics at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat staved off elimination and pulled to within 3-1 in the best-of-7 series.

Miami squandered all of an 18-point lead in the first half and ended up using a 25-7 run of its own to rally back in the fourth quarter to overcome the Celtics and force Game 5 in Boston on Tuesday.

Before the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra challenged his team to reveal its character. The Heat showed that it was in no mood to get swept this time and relive the feelings fans felt three years ago when the Chicago Bulls completed that four-game sweep in Miami.

There's another fight in this feisty Heat team.

"We got one down," guard Mario Chalmers said. "Now, we've got three more to go."

D. WADE'S DOINGS: What didn't Wade do? Perhaps sell concessions. Maybe sweep the floor and lock the gym up after the game. Then again, with his postgame workout habits, there's a good chance Wade crept back into AmericanAirlines Arena to take a few more shots. He was that hot. Why stop at 46 points? Wade set franchise playoff records for points (46), points in a half (30 in the second) and field goals made (16) on the way to delivering another of his magical postseason performances. Whatever happened to that dehydration he was supposed to be battling after Game 3? He showed no signs of that Sunday. He was simply on fire. Wade was 16 of 24 from the field, 5 of 7 from three-point range and 9 of 14 from the line. At one point late in the third quarter, he went on a streak and scored 11 consecutive Heat points. That set the tone for Miami to pull ahead by as many as 11 points late in the fourth. This, is what it's going to take from Wade in Game 5 on Tuesday to bring this series back to Miami on Thursday.

TURNING POINT: After trailing by seven late in the third quarter, Miami used a 25-7 run that began in the third and carried it to an 11-point lead in the fourth. That was enough cushion, barely, to hold off the Game4-Second Celtics. Wade wasn't a one-man show during that stretch. He got a significant boost from a group of reserves that included Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Dorell Wright and Joel Anthony. Still, I'd argue that Michael Beasley's putback to extend the lead to 98-92 with 1:27 left might have been as big as any single bucket of the game.

WINNING/LOSING EDGE: The Heat turned the tide on the Celtics this time. Miami outrebounded Boston 43-35 and also scored 28 points off 16 Celtics turnovers. This time, Miami was the team capitalizing off the miscues instead of committing them.

HEAD-SCRATCHER: As strange as it sounds, Miami could be up 3-1 in this series. The Heat should at least be 2-2. But it just couldn't handle the prosperity of a 14-point second-half lead in Game 1. It also lost on a buzzer-beater at home in Game 3. Miami had had its opportunities in this series. The Game 1 loss in Boston might ultimately come back to haunt the Heat in this series. That single game changed the course of this series. One half of bad basketball, in a sense. The Heat faces a tremendous uphill climb against these Celtics, who are deeper, more experiences and have been mentally stronger to this point. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Miami can steal Game 5 in Boston. Do that, and history is within its grasp, as unlikely as it seems, with the series coming back to Miami for Game 6. At the end of the day, Miami is in this position because it squandered a couple of opportunities along the way. But credit the Heat for fighting through adversity and avoiding what would have been an embarrassing sweep on its home court.

KEY CONTRIBUTION: Quentin Richardson did his thing on both ends of the court when he got his Game4-Q minutes. His start was huge. He scored 20 points, the second-high playoff total of his career. He knocked down four three-pointers to tie his postseason career high. Most importantly, he scored the first eight points of the game for Miami en route to a 13-point first quarter, his highest scoring quarter since he joined the Heat. His seven made field goals also tied his postseason career high. Richardson's mouth has made a bigger impact on this series than his game. He started to change that with Sunday's performance. Richardson emerged from Sunday's game with a split on the ring finger of his left hand. The team called it a hand contusion. Richardson said the injury wouldn't keep him out of Game 5.

NEXT UP: Heat at Boston Celtics, 7 p.m. Tuesday - TD Garden.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Playing the Percentages

If the Heat can't find a way to stave off playoff elimination in Game 4 on Sunday, the Boston Celtics will New Wade advance to the second round of the playoffs and commence the offseason of all offseason in Miami.

For those in attendance at AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday, you might want to keep a copy of the game program. By Sunday evening, it could very well become a souvenir.

Down 0-3 to the Celtics, this could very well be the last stand for this version of the Miami Heat. There will be plenty of offseason changes. So why put off the inevitable. Let's play the percentages now.

No, not those. We already know that no team in NBA history has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series. I'm talking about playing the other percentages - the ones with far greater value. The return-of-the-roster percentages.

It's an unscientific take, one based more on common sense and dollars-and-cents.

RAFER ALSTON - 0%: A desperate reach for mid-season point guard depth had disastrous results. Skip quit on the Heat long before Miami had a chance to dispose of him.

JOEL ANTHONY - 90%: Not sure there's much of a market for Joel should he opt out his contract. The Heat would welcome back the shot-blocking franchise-made prospect as relatively cheap labor.

CARLOS ARROYO - 50%: Arroyo has two things going for him here. Owner Micky Arison is fond of him and his Hispanic ties, and he'd be open to taking a reserve role at a spot the Heat will certainly look to upgrade.

MICHAEL BEASLEY - 55%: If trading Michael Beasley opens the door to land Amare, Bosh, LeBron or BeasleyDraft even an unrestricted free agent such as Rudy Gay, Pat Riley will cut bait and make it happen. Otherwise, with Beasley still on his rookie-scale deal, it'll be cheaper to keep him and give him one last shot to shine here.

MARIO CHALMERS - 40%: After two years in the league and two years of so-called development, Rio still doesn't have a natural position. I can't see Miami bringing Rio and Arroyo back as backups. Chalmers has another year on his deal. But it's a low-cost expense.

DAEQUAN COOK - 18%: His time is up here. The former 3-point champion has run out shots at a rotation role. Look for Cook to be packaged with another player or draft picks to create cap space.

YAKHOUBA DIAWARA - 2%: Nice guy. Great attitude. His contract is up. Never became the defensive stopper/perimeter shooter off the bench Riley envisioned.

KENNY HASBROUCK - 10%: His chances to stick took a big hit when that DUI emerged from February, weeks before he was signed by the team as a developmental project. Hasbrouck better have a hell of a summer in his quest for the third PG spot.

UDONIS HASLEM - 67%: Projections of additional cap space cleared the way for Haslem to be brought Haslem Upset back. It might take a while, because he certainly wants to see his value around the league. There's mutual respect there, even though both sides will look into upgrades.

JAMES JONES - 20%: Much like with Diawara, Riley is going to have to admit he made a mistake here. The Heat have to look into buying out Jones and creating about $2.5 million in the transaction. Perhaps Jones even re-signs for the vet's minimum late in the summer to stay with his hometown team. Maybe not.

JAMAAL MAGLOIRE - 63%: The league will be short on available centers. With Bosh or Stoudemire in a featured role at power forward, Anthony's shot-blocking, Magloire's rebounding and banging and their minimum salary slots might have to be enough.

JERMAINE O'NEAL - 5%: A mutual parting will be best for both. Despite his struggles in the playoffs, J.O. will benefit from a light crop of free agent centers, where his competition on the market doesn't extend beyond Shaq, Big Z, Brendan Haywood and Brad Miller. Even at mid-level prices, the Heat won't bite.

SHAVLIK RANDOLPH - 58%: A low-budget big man with some NBA experience. His chances increase if the Heat isn't forced to take back filler in some sort of summer blockbuster trade.

QUENTIN RICHARDSON - 15%: Richardson served his purpose. No other team would have given him a starting job. And he delivered at times when the Heat had nowhere else to turn. His contract is up, and unless he takes a massive, massive pay cut, he's gone - unless his guy Dwyane Wade says otherwise.

DWYANE WADE: - 99.3%: Despite the 50-50 act he's playing by publicly leaving his options open and doing everything but outright committing to the Heat, Wade will be back. But Riley better be aggressive in getting Bosh or Stoudemire here in a hurry. Riley won the public power play last summer. Wade is in total control this time around.

DORELL WRIGHT: 20%: Say what you will about Dorell, but he's 24 years old coming off his most productive season and would only be looking for a slight raise on that near $3 million salary. Yet, that SPO-Coaching will be too steep for the Heat, unless Miami slips to free-agency Plans D, E or F.

COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: 89%: Unless LeBron James demands Riley return to the bench, or owner Micky Arison starts asking questions or Spoelstra senses uneasiness in the front-office and steps aside, he will be back next season. Still, the last time Riley had this much on the line, Stan Van Gundy suddenly felt homesick. In other words, Spoelstra is safe.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Game 3 Breakdown: Celtics 100, Heat 98

For the Heat, it became painfully obvious Friday night. Game3-Main1

Boston is just better. Much better. Some teams simply have your number. That number reached 15 for Boston, as in 14 victories the last 15 times it faced the Heat.

Paul Pierce delivered a dagger as time expired in Friday's 100-98 victory to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the Heat in the best-of-7 first-round series that could very well be over on Sunday.

It's a case of Boston having too much firepower, too many options and too much mental toughness to withstand anything the Heat has thrown their way this season.

Miami fought this time. But it wasn't enough. The Heat ran out of gas at the finish and Wade lost his legs. Now, the Heat is in an overwhelming position. No team in NBA history has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a series.

At this point, if Miami can somehow avoid being swept, it would be a major accomplishment. Pierce had 32 points, Ray Allen added 25, Rajon Rondo chipped in 17 points and eight assists and Kevin Garnett returned from suspension to deliver 16 points and eight rebounds.

D. WADE'S DOINGS: Question his decision to pull up for that long jumper with 13 seconds left in a tie game. But Wade was trying to make one last shot to get the Heat over the hump. He didn't have the legs to do it. Wade missed that jumper and then was overwhelmed by a severe cramp in his left calf, the same calf he strained a few months back. He was ailing for the final four minutes of the fourth quarter. He was basically playing on one leg. Still, Wade pushed the Heat with 34 points, eight assists, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He was 14 of 26 from the field, but 3 of 11 from three-point range. He settled for that jumper one too many times. But it's hard to question Wade's shot selection, because he's made too many difficult ones to rescue the Heat. Wade insists he'll have enough left to play Sunday. But there was a defeated look in his eyes as well as those of his teammates.

TURNING POINT: There were plenty of twists and turns in this one. In fact, there were 14 ties and 14 lead changes. Then, Paul Pierce got the ball at the top of the key, waited for 10 of the final 11 seconds to tick Game3-Main off the clock and then launched his three over Dorell Wright. Swish. Game. And, barring a miracle, series. The question, at the time, was whether Miami should have fouled to force Boston to reset with as little time as possible. But ask yourself this: How much would that have really mattered the way Boston has played?

WINNING/LOSING EDGE: The Heat had another game in which careless mistakes cost it dearly. The Heat, which finished the season ranked fourth in the league in limiting turnovers, had 18 on Friday that led to 24 points for the Celtics. Through three games in this series, Miami has committed 55 turnovers that has led to a combined 77 points for the Celtics.

HEAD-SCRATCHER: What started off as a concern has become an outright disappearing act for the Heat. Jermaine O'Neal has become milk carton material. He's missing. He's lost. He's fallen and can't get up. O'Neal benched for the duration of the fourth quarter, and is in the midst of the worst three-game stretch of his career. O'Neal is 5 of 31 in this series. You expected the Heat to lose the battle at point guard. You expected Dwyane Wade to do enough, with a small contribution from Quentin Richardson or Dorell Wright, to offset Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. But you knew this series was going to be determined by the team that won the power forward/center matchup. Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins have thoroughly dominated Michael Beasley, Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O'Neal. Simple as that. Haslem and Beasley have at least shown a pulse in this series. O'Neal, for whatever reason, has been next to comatose. And it was all good with J.O. just a few weeks ago. Perhaps those knee and ankle injuries took more out of him than anyone thought.

KEY CONTRIBUTION: Dorell Wright and Michael Beasley combined for 31 points on 11 of 15 shooting WRIGHT_DORELL from the field in the loss. Miami needed this type of production from those guys earlier in this series. For the first time, Beasley stepped up and did his part. Also for the first time, Wright led a nice all-around effort from the Heat's bench. Still, it wasn't enough. When this is over, Miami will look back and realize it lost this series in Game 1. Miami had everything going its way in that game through most of the first three quarters. And then the collapse began. But Wright and Beasley played Friday like a pair of young, athletic and talented forwards who would make it tough for anyone to give up on those guys too soon. The problem is these type of performances haven't come often enough for either one of them this season. 

NEXT UP: Boston Celtics at Heat, Sunday 1 p.m. AmericanAirlines Arena

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)


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