Saturday, February 19, 2011

All-Star start

Couple of notes from Friday's player availability...

--Kevin Durant said he doesn't consider himself in the running for MVP this season.

Durant "I don't think I have a chance. My year to try to win it was last year," he said.

Last week, I thought LeBron James was at the top of the MVP race, with Dwight Howard following him and Derrick Rose right there as well. Now, I think Rose has once again elevated himself to the top because his performance against the Spurs is sticking in the minds of people. But I still believe, as long as LBJ outperforms Rose in the couple games the Heat and Bulls have left, he'll come out on top.

--Good to see Dorell Wright in the All-Star setting, especially because it's in his hometown of Los Angeles. It's not quite the All-Star Game, but the fact he has shot three-pointers well enough to get in the three-point contest says a lot about the work he has put in over the first six years of his career.

Dwyane Wade is particularly proud of his good friend.

"I’m happy for D-Wright being able to go to Golden State and showcase his talent," Wade said. "I couldn’t be prouder for him. Everything happens for a reason. I look forward to him going out here and representing his family and himself well."

--Joe Johnson said that if Carmelo Anthony "New York is going to be a monster. I think everybody knows that."

Well, not necessarily. If the Knicks give up Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton for Carmelo and Chauncey Billups, that team still won't crack the top five in the East. And in the long run, the Knicks would be better off with Felton. Here's the only reason I think the Knicks are going to push to make this trade rather than wait for free agency to sign him.

If Carmelo ends up not signing the extension and then losing as much as $20 million because of the new collective bargaining agreement, 'Melo might just be upset at the Knicks for not getting it done at the deadline and costing him money. Then he might look at a team like the Clippers and go there, essentially to stick it to the Knicks.

--And for those who were wondering if it was Jason Jackson who Ray Allen was talking to in that exchange during the interviews, no it wasn't. I'm pretty sure Jax wouldn't let that go.

(This exchange:

    Ray Allen, arguably the nicest, most thoughtful player in the NBA, was in the middle of answering questions when a perfectly reasonable Heat-related question was asked by a Heat employee wearing a Heat polo and carrying microphone with the Heat logo on it.

“I don’t understand your question,” Allen said. “You have a Heat shirt on.”

He might have smiled as he said it, but he didn’t answer the question. Think he would’ve had the same response if it someone wearing a Hawks or a Knicks jersey? Doubtful.)

 

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Comeback ability

Yet another way you can tell a team is championship caliber is when it can make comebacks like this one Saturday night, and make it look reasonably easy.

There never was any concern, it felt like, even as the Heat was down 20 points in the first half. It was simply a matter of switching back to the style the team had been playing so well before the Houston game (that was a shootout win, not a Heat defensive win).

So the Heat kept the Warriors to 12 points in the third, and you knew then that it was over. Yes, it builds bad habits if you believe you can do that any time you want, but it's unavoidable in an 82-game season. Remember the Heat's 25-point comeback win against the Celtics in 2006? That was almost the mentality of that team because of Shaq, turn it on when necessary. And we all know how that season turned out.

This team doesn't have that luxury yet, but it's good to know it's there when necessary.

While it's great to see Dorell Wright play well for the Warriors, it's too easy to say he couldn't done that here. First, he wouldn't be getting the minutes. And second, even though he does just about everything Mike Miller does, but is younger and more athletic, Wright would've had a totally different mindset had he come back here. He would have been, yet again, restrained, in his mind. And that wouldn't necessarily allow him to play as freely as he is in Golden State. It might not have been the best thing for the Heat that he's playing this well out there, but it's the best thing for Dorell that he ended up elsewhere, particularly in that system.

As for LeBron' James' comments about the MVP possibilities going "out the window" once he and Dwyane Wade decided to play together, it's hard not to agree with him. Bron 3

Even if this team wins 60-plus games, has the best record in the league and James averages in the neighborhood of 24 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, there's still going to be a strong argument for someone else. Whether it's Kevin Durant because his scoring would be higher and his help less talented, or Dwight Howard because of his defensive presence, or Dirk Nowitzki if he comes back healthy and leads the Mavericks to 60 wins. Not saying it's fair, but it's sort of the nature of the voting process. The idea that LeBron has too much help will hurt him if it's even a close race -- especially if there are multiple legitimate candidates (don't want to leave out Amare Stoudemire, Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant).

That thought process may change, though, if the Heat has an absolutely monster second half, and LeBron appears to be the primary catalyst. In that respect, it's good this conversation started now, so it can be in the minds of voters as the season progresses, as opposed to completely dismissing the possibility, the way LeBron believes they have already.

Now, the curveball in this whole thing, of course, is Dwyane. If he has many more 40-point nights and distances himself in the scoring category from LeBron, then he'll make a case for himself, but more likely ruin the chances for both of them. It doesn't make much sense, but it's all about perception anyway.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Your Questions? Our Answers

You've got Heat questions. I've got answers. Or at least as close to them as possible. Or, maybe not.  Game5-Rio

But here's a sample of the questions and answers from our weekly Heat Q&A. From Allen Iverson to Shaq. From LeBron to Pat.

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1137 (Page 1 of 39)

Q: As a former resident of Miami for thirty years, I don't understand, if LeBron James was a free agent why did he have to sign with Cleveland and then they traded him to the Heat for two first and two second round choices?? This just does not make sense to me. Unless the Denver Post got it wrong, thats where I got the information. Thank you in advance. N. Smith

Answered 07/22/10 14:13:08 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: LeBron wanted to get a sixth season on his contract, and the Cavs wanted to get something for losing him. So that trade was the compromise.

Q: My friends call me Keith, you can call me John.... MW, should we be concerned about our BIGS is looks like most are 6'9", only Z is our only one over 7' and from what I hear he's not a great rebounder? Bell was a big miss, if we lose out on Barnes who else is out there for our Artest type, should this be a concern....

Answered 07/22/10 14:11:55 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There's always Yakhouba Diawara.

Q: Wuzzzz up, Mike..... Can we all stop the, "This is Wade's team" who cares lets just kick some butt.... Why Howard over someone like Kwame, don't we already have enough 6'9" type guys?

Answered 07/22/10 14:10:50 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: It's everyone's team. But Wade has to be the ring leader. And he will probably be announced last in the starting lineup. As far as Howard over Kwame, the difference is that Juwan was fine with coming for the vets min. Kwame still believes he's worth far more.

Q: Will Tracie mcgrady and AI end up on the Heat or Stackhouse?

Answered 07/22/10 14:09:36 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: My guess is none of the above. But I could be wrong. I've been so before.

Q: Is there any truth to rumor the Heat were looking to trade Rio for Rudy Fernandez and if so is that trade still a viable option?

Answered 07/22/10 14:09:05 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The Heat had discussions with Portland on a number of levels. I think Beasley and Mario came into play. But at this point, I don't see such a trade going down unless Miami has another starting-caliber PG on the way.

Q: Hey Mike! I had to let the excitement die down before joining your forum. First I have to give good Pat his prop's for getting LBJ and Bosh. For a minute I was ready to run him out of town. But I hav a problem with bad Pat. Was bad Pat behind the decision to sign Mike Miller and sign him to a 5year deal? This sounds like the bad Pat that choose beasley over mayo. Why not resign DWright?Although i'm happy because he's playing in my area. DWright would've been the perfect compliment for the big3. I could envision a wade,bosh,wright,lbj,ilgasus or anthony lineup. That would've reminder me of the bulls lineup with jordan,pippen,harper,rodman and the other guy. In wright,wade and james they would've given you dynamic wing players that can guard multiple position and is long and athletic. With that lineup you don't need a starting point. And what's up with the suppose signing of juwan howard? The same guy who turned his back on you back in the 90's. I just hope that all this attention does'nt go to the heat especially bad pat's head. We have'nt won nothing yet. And please whatever they do. Do not bring back Shaq!!!!!!!!!!!

Answered 07/22/10 14:08:08 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The five-year deals for Miller, Joel and Udonis are the only things you can question about Pat at this point. But I think, to some degree, you had to get the deals done against competition from other teams that had more money. So the Heat compromised by offering max years.

Q: Dear Mr. Wallace, I'm a coach on the small island of Curacao and a huge Miami Heat Fan. I see these days on the news, that everybody is talking about the Heat needing someone to start at point guard. I think the Heat can start LB(Lebron James) at point, because he can handle the ball and has the ability to pass the ball. He has also been compare to Magic Johnson in the past, as he(Magic) played that position for LA. Also the Chicago Bulls played in the 90's after they send BJ Armstrong away without a true point guard. Now that they have sign Mike Miller and luring Zydrunas Ilgauskas, they can have the following starting five in my opinion: PG Lebron James, SG Dwyane Wade, SF Mike Miller, PF Chris Bosh and C Zydrunas Ilgauskas. What do you think about that?

Answered 07/22/10 14:06:27 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I think LeBron does have some point guard instincts. But I wouldn't put him on Magic's level in a PG sense just yet. My projected starting five is a bit different. I think Miller comes off the bench. I think Mario starts at PG and Joel starts at center.

Q: CAN WE PLEASE GET THE WORD OUT TO GIVE STEVE FRANCIS A TRYOUT sorry for screaming but if Penny is an option why not franchise He has gotten paid so Im sure he would take the minimum to redeem his career and hes far younger than Penny! PLEASE

Answered 07/22/10 14:04:53 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You just did. Still don't think anyone heard you, though.

Q: Looking at our bench we only have one player with possible firepower--Mike Miller. The rest is a mix of solid old and young guys all who aren't known for scoring. If a humbled Allen Iverson is serious about just wanting to be a bench player don't you have to look into it? He's still an expert at drawing fouls. Imagine having Wade, Lebron, and Bosh check into the game again with the other team already in the penalty!

Answered 07/22/10 14:03:58 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: A year ago, it would have made some sense. But after the way things went down in Memphis and Philly, I'm not sure if I'd take that gamble with Iverson. It's far greater risk than potential reward. And I'm an A-I guy. Always have been.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0uR7QyE4v

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

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.)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Action Heating Up

In a span of minutes, several reports have come out about the latest moves regarding the Heat. Some are LeBron-Wade mere speculation. Some are the real deal. Either way, the Heat is prepared to strike quickly regardless of what happens with LeBron.

We try to separate the fact from fiction. 

LEBRON WATCH: The buzz continues to get stronger and stronger that LeBron will announce he's heading to the Heat to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. While ESPN is reporting that some of James' other suitors - New Jersey, New York, Cleveland and Chicago - are conceding defeat, the Heat isn't anywhere near celebrating victory just yet. There's a quiet confidence around the franchise right now - especially after any potential money issues were cleared with news that the salary-cap was about $2 million more than expected. The Heat is holding off on Bosh-Wade press conference for now until they determine whether a third seat at the table is needed for James.

BEASLEY TRADE?: Michael Beasley will have to be moved for this deal to work out with the Heat. There is one report out there that Houston, Miami, Toronto and Charlotte are working on a four-team deal in which Beasley will end up in Charlotte, Chandler will go to Houston, Toronto will get a few spare pieces and the Heat will get the coveted cap relief from Beasley's $5 million contract to clear space for James and others. At the same time, there's news out there that the Heat has offered Mike Miller a five-year contract for about $30 million. So either Wade, Bron and Bosh are serious about each taking less money to get more help. Or there are conflicting reports about the Heat shedding salary cap space while at the same time clogging it up with the offer to Beas All-Star Dunk Miller. You can look at the Miller situation two ways: It's a sign that the Heat is confident in the LeBron deal. Or, Miami knows something else and is ready to move forward with plans to round out the roster should James head elsewhere.

BOSH ARRIVAL: The newest member of the Heat arrived at MIA early Thursday afternoon. Chris Bosh initially said he planned to spend a few more days in Dallas with family and would come early if the Heat needed him. Well, I guess Pat Riley called and asked Bosh to get here. The sooner the Heat can get Bosh in front of its fan base, the better. And Bosh's arrival sort of dispels those rumors that he was headed to Connecticut to be with LeBron for that announcement tonight. Both Bosh and Wade are hopeful that LeBron comes, but they also sound like they're ready to move on to other roster targets to build as strong of a supporting cast as they can before all the goods are off the market.

OPTIONS DWINDLING?: Scratch another potential Heat target off the market now, with center Brendan Haywood agreeing to a six-year, $55 million deal to return to Dallas. Haywood met with the Heat in Charlotte last week and was being recruited to play in the post alongside Bosh, so that Bosh could stay at his desired power forward position. If LeBron comes, the Heat won't have the money to make a serious upgrade at center. But if he doesn't, that means the likes of Brad Miller and - dare we say it - Shaquille O'Neal top the list of available free agent centers at this point. So the Heat would likely shift into a recruiting battle of sorts with New York for point guard Raymond Felton and swingmen such as Miller, Josh Howard, Raja Bell and the like.

HASLEM UPDATE: Forward Udonis Haslem said he's received interest from several teams and is weighing his free agency options, including a possible return to the Heat. Speaking on ESPN's First Take show this morning, Haslem said he's interested to see how things are going to play out for the Heat in this LeBron chase. "I'm really excited for the organization, whether I'm back or not," Haslem said. "The power would definitely shift to the East. Those guys have the chance to put together a dynasty that could last the next seven, eight years."

Stay tuned. Again, the best bet to keep up with coverage of the Heat is to follow me on twitter@wallacesports

(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

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another Shaq Smackback

Shaquille O'Neal has done it again. Shaq-Wade-title

No, not help his team win yet another championship. That might not happen in Cleveland after all, with the Cavaliers and LeBron James unable to get a grip on the Celtics.

And no, Shaq didn't do anything to warrant consideration for another two- or three-year contract he insists he'll seek after his current deal expires next month.

What Shaq did yet again was take another snide shot at his former team, years removed from his time with said squad. In a Sports Illustrated cover story that hits the newsstands this week, O'Neal is quoted as saying he can't figure out how his 2005-06 Heat team managed to win a championship that season.

He suggests the team might have been defined as much by Tequila as talent, Patron as production and late nights on South Beach as much as long afternoons on the practice courts at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"I still don't know how we won that championship," O'Neal tells S.I. in a story that chronicles his adjustment from superstar status to supporting cast member. "F&*%ing partied every night in Miami."

Heat president Pat Riley, who took over as coach midway through that season, declined to respond Tuesday night to Shaq's senselessness.

While the revelation probably isn't shocking, considering the distractions that come with playing in this city, it should be a bit disturbing. Shaq didn't necessarily disrespect the Heat as much as he did himself by confirming that joke of a work ethic he's had throughout his career.

If you re-examine that Heat championship team, it's mostly a collection of castaways and characters that only Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders could appreciate.

I didn't cover that Heat team in 2005-06. I came the year after. I essentially caught the hangover that followed in 2006-07. My first game on the beat was that 42-point beatdown on ring ceremony night. Considering how that title defense fizzled, it's amazing how Riley and Dwyane Wade kept that squad together the year before.

Take nothing away from that Heat team. Guys came together, put aside egos just long enough and caught fire at just the right time to deliver the first title in franchise history. But even Riley has admitted in the aftermath that he compromised a piece of his soul - as well as mortgaged part of the franchise's immediate future - for that one shining moment that produced the ultimate bling.

And he'd do it again in a heartbeat - or as quick as you can say: "Bring Back Earl Barron."

During that season - particularly that postseason run - 15 Strong could do no wrong. And for the Heat's sake, you'd have to wish that Shaq was more fond of his time here than he's shown in recent years. You'd hope that the fans would appreciate what he provided during his three-plus seasons.

Heatmain_embedded_prod_affiliate_56 But to know Shaq is to know that he makes nostalgia impossible. Not only do bridges get burned on his way out of town, entire franchises get torched with some of his nonsense.

And I consider myself a Shaq fan. Always have been. Wade led that 2006 team to a title as MVP of the Finals against Dallas. But the Heat wouldn't have been a championship contender without Shaq. He legitimized the franchise on a national level that arguably no other player has. He energized and mobilized a Miami fan base in a way that hasn't been seen since. Be objective enough to admit that.

But his shots at Riley, the medical staff and some of his former teammates on the way out simply have been tasteless and classless. I mean, come on. What have Chris Quinn and Ron Culp ever done to hurt anybody?

Having said that, you have to wonder if that 2006 team will ever come back together for any anniversaries in the future. That season took a toll on a lot of folks.

Stan Van Gundy, who opened that season as coach before he was forced out/stepped down, has no use for the ring he was given and is still bitter about his experience that year.

Shaq and Wade both had marriages destroyed by seeds planted during that season.

Antoine Walker and Gary Payton both despised Riley on the way out.

Shandon and Derek Anderson haven't been seen since. And one didn't even bother to sign the commemorative basketball that is displayed in trophy cases in honor of each of the 15 on that team.

Wade, Udonis Haslem and Dorell Wright are the lone players who remained with the team through this season, and there's a chance next season's team might only have one or none from that 2006 squad.

When you walk through the arena hallways and look at the floor-to-ceiling championship photos that cover the walls, it seems more like 14 years have passed rather than four. Shaq

But that doesn't mean it's cool to trash and tarnish what was accomplished. Especially when, despite any faults and factions that formed that season, the ultimate goal was reached.

At 7-1, 365 pounds and in the twilight of his career, you'd think Shaq would be a bigger man than this by now. Obviously, he's still got a lot of growing to do.

(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, May 10, 2010

Line Forms at 36th & Biscayne

The number Heat president Pat Riley spat out last week caught many by surprise. Raja Bell

With the Heat perhaps in better shape heading into free agency than any team in the league, with a superstar in Dwyane Wade likely in tow, plus the flexibility to pursue as many as two more mega stars, we all know Miami will be in play for the top stars on the market.

But when Riley spoke during his season-ending news conference with the media, he took the panoramic view of the free agency snapshot.

"There are 210, 220 free agents," Riley said, clearly looking beyond the top-tier group that will include, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Amare' Stoudemire and Joe Johnson. "There's a lot out there. You can build your own team a lot of different ways."

Not only will Riley look to get the most for Micky Arison's money at the start of free agency, next season's Heat team will be defined just as much by what kind of bargain buys are had near the close of market.

And the minimum-salary prospects are already starting to form a line.

Raja Bell, a former Florida International standout and respected perimeter defensive stopper, marked his spot among those who will be lobbying Riley this summer. Bell, whose best days came during his stint as Phoenix's supposed Kobe stopper a few years ago, has bounced around in recent seasons. He last was with Golden State after he was dealt by Charlotte last season.

But Bell, who sustained a season-ending wrist injury, is healthy how and hoping to acquire a spot with the Heat. To that extent, he wants to follow in the footsteps of former FIU teammate Carlos Arroyo, who latched on with the Heat last season and finished the year as the starting point guard.

Bell took to the sports talk radio airwaves Monday, when he appeared on The Jorge Sedano Show on 790 The Ticket, and openly flirted with the Heat.

"Miami is my first choice," said Bell, an unrestricted free agent who spent the latter part of the season attending several Heat games after he was released by the Warriors. "Pat (Riley), if you can use my services, give me a call. I'm right around the corner, 36th and Biscayne, give me a call."

Quentin-standalone Bell would be almost the perfect fit in the Heat's rotation in the role of a relentless perimeter defender Riley as searched for since James Posey departed in free agency several seasons ago. Since then, there's been a stream of less-than-stellar candidates that have included Dorell Wright, Ricky Davis, Penny Hardaway, Luke Jackson, Daequan Cook, Dorell Wright, Jamario Moon, James Jones, Dorell Wright again and Quentin Richardson.

Plenty of names. Very few solid answers. Now, the Heat's roster is an empty canvass. Jobs are here to be had.

At best, Raja Bell is better and more consistent than any of those previous low-budget options. At worst, he's just as good as any in that lot. But none has the defensive swagger and reputation Bell has established in his career.

For now, Bell is simply an out-of-work free agent looking for a job, - somewhere among the middle-of-the-pack of 200-plus free agents Riley referred to the other day.

But Bell made it clear Monday. He's in one of two groups the Heat will deal with this summer. There are those Pat Riley will vehemently recruit.

And there are those like Bell, who will be recruiting Riley for a chance to latch onto something special in the MIA if things go according to Pat's summer plan.

(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.)

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.)


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