Friday, October 28, 2011

LeBron uses Twitter to recruit Steve Nash, Jamal Crawford

Savvy move on Thursday by LeBron James, who used his Twitter account to jokingly? recruit Jamal Crawford and Steve Nash to the Heat. The NBA's tampering rules do not apply during the current NBA lockout, so players can do pretty much whatever the heck they want.

LeBron first sent Crawford this message: "Would love to see @JCrossover in a Heat uni! What u guys say?"

Nashnose(2)LeBron then sent this message to Steve Nash: "Maybe @SteveNash in a Heat uni. So we can help each other get our first ring."

Crawford will be a free agent when the lockout ends but he's likely too expensive for the Heat. Nash is under contract this season for about $11.7 million. It's the final year of Nash's contract, so he could bought out. Um, yeah ...

The Heat has a qualifying offer of $1.09 million on current guard Mario Chalmers once the lockout ends, which, hopefully, will be very soon. Chalmers likely improved his value on the open market during last season's playoffs.

-joe

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Different cast?

It's impossible to play an entire roster and still be productive in the preseason, so it's likely that Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Juwan Howard, Eddie House and other who didn't get in Tuesday's preseason opener will play in Friday night's game against the Thunder in Kansas City. There's always the chance that those particularly guys get held out Friday, though, and play Saturday instead in San Antonio.

With back-to-back games -- especially after watching Wade go down with the hamstring injury -- chances of key players playing significant minutes in back-to-back games are quite miniscule.

I'd like to see some of House alongside LeBron, because from what we saw in practices during the training camp in Hurlburt Field, they love kicking out to House, and House loves knocking down open shots (on a side note, it would be interesting to catch up with Elizabeth Riley, daughter of Pat and creator of the "Free Eddie House" campaign back in his first go-around with the Heat, now that House has had a healthy career that includes a championship ring).

I think folks are especially intrigued by Dexter Pittman, who looks like he's about 15-20 pounds away from being a real force in the league. I'm going to go out on an early limb here and say he can be a starting center in the league in two years.

Random end note: Saw where David Stern said the league is anticipating its most successful year ever. It would be something of an awkward position for owners if that happens, wouldn't it? If the league has its best season ever, which would have to mean fiscally, wouldn't that give the players tons of leverage in collective bargaining negotiations next offseason? They'd be able to say that the system is perfect as is, including free agency. Maybe contract lengths could still be an issue, but if you start implementing hard caps and discouraging star player movement, then something like what Miami has just done might never happen again. And it clearly excites people, even if it's in the short term.
 Just a thought.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Decision on Dampier?

Two meetings with two teams in two conferences over the span of three days. Dampier

That, apparently, has been free agent center Erick Dampier's itinerary this week as the 6-11 veteran big man plots the course to his next destination, with training camps opening league-wide next week.

Dampier, 35, has exited meetings with both the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat this week without signing a contract as of Wednesday evening. Although there were indications out of Houston that Dampier was expected to make a decision by Thursday, a source said Wednesday night that nothing was imminent.

The Heat and Rockets are believed to be frontrunners among a group of teams that, at one point or another, had included Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix. Houston reportedly offered Dampier a two-year deal worth about $4 million. The best the Heat can counter with is the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million a year.

That means the equation is pretty much simple for Dampier. He's faced with a $600,000 question, assuming the Heat made a firm offer. Miami, obviously, appears much closer to a championship team than Houston. Add in the fact that Dampier is 35, and it's easy to see that time might not be on his side when it comes to how many potential title runs he has ahead of him.

Houston clearly has a defined role for Dampier, with Yao Ming returning from a foot injury and limited to about 24 minutes a game this season. So, in other words, Dampier would seem to be more needed in Houston, yet more of a luxury in Miami.

The Heat seems sold on Joel Anthony after investing a five-year, $18 million contract in his services. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamaal Magloire will be counted on to be one-year stop-gap type options at the position. And Pat Riley has gone out of his way to praise the merits of Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and Juwan Howard as fill-in options at center if needed.

From all indications I've received, Dampier has been favoring Miami since he realized his days in Charlotte were numbered. But this could all be decided by which team wants him more.

Perhaps Heat team president Pat Riley will address the situation when he meets with the media Thursday at noon. The team, however, was certain to mention in its press release that Riley was not expected to announce any trade or player signing.

Perhaps that changes overnight. Or, the Heat heads into next week's camp convinced it's set at center.

(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.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

10 Questions Facing Heat (Pt. 1, Updated)

With training camp set to open in less than two weeks, the Miami Heat seems to be generating more WadeJamesBosh questions than the team is answering these days.

So as the countdown to the Sept. 27 start of camp continues, now might be as good a time as ever to reveal our top 10 questions facing the Heat. We'll examine these questions in descending order - tackling Nos. 10 through 6 today, and, barring any major developments, Nos. 5 through 1 on Thursday.

10. Where will Miami hold training camp? The team was as tight-lipped about this subject as it's ever been about any trade or surprising personnel move in the works. That was until it announced Wednesday night that camp will be held from Sept. 28-Oct. 3 at Eglin Air Force Base in Ft. Walton Beach. What we know is that the Heat has sent a few staffers out to stake out sites that would serve the purpose of limiting distractions, getting the players out of any comfort zone and accommodating mounting media demands. Mission accomplished. It's a noble move by the Heat. If the Lakers and Warriors can train in Hawaii, the Heat could easily have made reservations in the Bahamas. Guess we all better get ready for basketball's version of boot camp.

9. Is one more veteran on the way? With a handful of once-prominent veterans still looking for NBA work - and some angling for a spot with the Heat - Pat Riley is deciding whether to enter camp with the 18 players, including 11 newcomers, he has under partial or fully-guaranteed contracts or determining whether to add another player to the mix. What we know is that center Erik Dampier is available and intrigued by the Heat. But he also knows it's a business and, after losing $13 million overnight upon his release from Charlotte, Dampier might first seek a bigger payday than the $1.3 million Miami can offer at the vet's min. Allen Iverson, Flip Murray, Jerry Stackhouse, Larry Hughes and Earl Watson are still out there, too.

8. What tempo best fits this team? It would be hard to find three better athletes at their positions in the Showtime Lakers league than Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. The best way to keep them all involved is to play an up-tempo style, one far more similar to Pat Riley's 1980s Lakers than his 1990s half-court, slug-it-out Knicks. What we know is that opposing teams want to neutralize the Heat with a zone and force Miami's stars to settle for jumpers. The worst thing for this team would be for Dwyane to sit on the wing waiting to see what LeBron is going to do in a halfcourt set - or vice versa. Let these guys loose.

7.Will legal issues facing Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade impact camp? Unless Haslem pleads to a reduced charge, his felony drug possession case will hang over this team entering camp in a major way. A plea could also land Haslem a league suspension of some sort. What we know is that Miami is accustomed to dealing with distractions. But a player facing a felony is above and beyond anything else it has been hit with in recent years. Wade's custody battle for his two young sons in Chicago could play out for another week - or another month. What we know is that Riley is confident both players will be on the court when camp practices start on Sept. 28.

6. Will Pat Riley get the itch to return to the bench? Barring an unforeseen health problem - or a surprising Riley marriage, the birth of some children and a desire to spend more time with that new family - Erik Spoelstra will coach the Heat. And that means Pat Riley will remain in his role solely as team president and patriarch of the franchise. What we know is that Riley wants no part of coaching a Tuesday night game at Milwaukee in February. Or the 3 a.m. return from road trips. He's put in 30-plus years of that stuff. The man still has one of the best minds in the game. And the strategy sessions, motivational methods and actual game-night coaching would be a breeze for him at age 65. But he's assembled a group of players who should be able to coach themselves to at least the conference Finals. Besides, Pat seems quite comfortable from his perch, doing his Rick Ross thing - absorbing the envy of the league and selectively bashing back at those who took shots at Miami.

(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.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Heat Awaits D-day for Dampier

If you listen to the latest sales job by Heat president Pat Riley, his pitch is that Miami will be just fine this Act_erick_dampier season at what arguably is the team's weakest position.

Riley sees a potential oasis where most folks see a pivotal position as stable as quicksand.

Sure, the Heat has about 28 feet of bodies committed to the center spot in the likes of 7-3 Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 6-9 Joel Anthony, 6-11 Jamaal Magloire and 6-10 Dexter Pittman. Each has either unique size or gifts. None is close to being the complete package that would make him the clear-cut anchor at the position.

And that's why Monday is the start of an intriguing period for the Heat. With training camp looming in a matter of days, there could soon be one big man on the market who has enough intangibles to garner a high level of Heat interest. Monday essentially opens the official bidding for the services of Erick Dampier.

Today marks the end of the 60-day period from which Dampier was dealt by Dallas to Charlotte, which can now trade the veteran center and his gold-mine of a $13 million, non-guaranteed contract. Dampier is highly likely to be released by any team that trades for him, meaning he'd end up a free-agent available at a drastically reduced price.

Here's where the Heat comes in, depending on how drastic a reduction Dampier is willing to accept.

Despite four bodies at center, the Heat still has questions at the position. Unfortunately, Riley only has the veteran's minimum of $1.3 million to offer - and Dampier already reportedly has turned down more than that in some preliminary discussions on a new deal with Charlotte.

But this is Miami. And there's known to be mutual interest. In fact, Dampier has already told at least one long-time associate in his Jackson, Miss. hometown that Miami would be at the top of his list if he's released. Dampier's camp also indicated that to the Bobcats, who are convinced he's likely headed for Miami if Charlotte can't find a trade partner.

But the Heat is not in position to trade for him, with only Mario Chalmers and rookies available to send.

Even at this advanced stage of his career, Dampier, 34, is still a productive rebounder and shot-blocker. And he's far from a liability on offense. That combination, alone, would - or should - put him ahead in the pecking order the Heat has right now. Otherwise, the Heat would have to explore the alternative options at center. The ones Riley laid out during his recent conference call previewing the Heat's training camp.

"I can't wait for all of this to sort of work out," Riley said, before lauding Anthony's athleticism and shot-blocking, Big Z's shooting and size and Magloire's rugged defense. "But when people look at the center position, they probably look at those three guys and say, 'It's not good enough.' "

Riley believes Chris Bosh, Juwan Howard and Udonis Haslem - all natural power forwards - have shown enough over their careers to step in and fill some voids at center. Especially from an offensive standpoint. None would - or should - be asked to man the center spot for extended stretches.

"So, I think we probably have more versatility at the center position than, I think, anybody in the league, to manage that position with versatility, with savvy, different kind of players," Riley insisted, before mentioning the Lakers, Celtics and Magic as teams that have a clear edge on Miami in the middle. "But we feel we have enough up front to match up with any of these guys."

At the time of those statements, it was difficult to tell whether Riley was working harder to convince himself or his audience of the Heat's optimism at center - as is. Dampier's arrival - via free agency by way of a trade from Charlotte and/or his subsequent release - would render Riley's reasoning a bit more of a reality.

(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, September 11, 2010

Larger Than Life ... Or Zo, At Least

The fact that LeBron James brought a larger-than-life image to the Miami Heat when he decided to take  LeBron-Heat his  "talents to South Beach" came as no surprise to his new organization.

But seeing how LeBron stacks up - literally - around AmericanAirlines Arena these days was enough to leave Heat president Pat Riley astonished. And if you've been around Poker-face Pat long enough, you'd understand just how difficult it is to leave this man awestruck.

LeBron might not actually be bigger than life. But he's apparently just as large as Alonzo Mourning - both in image and mass - according to Riley.

During his conference call with select local beat writers entering the weekend, Riley could do nothing but gush over the physical presence of LeBron when he arrived at the arena for a recent workout.

"We just weighed him the other day, and we were even more surprised than other people," Riley said. "He's 6-9, two hundred and - no, 6-9 and 333 pounds, and six percent body fat. He's got a power forward's body. He's standing next to Zo the other day, and he's the same size as Zo. Same length. And there's a guy that's probably going to play point guard for us, but is also going to play (power forward)."

That "Zo" is the same Alonzo Mourning who was listed at 6-10 and 261 pounds during his playing days. It's almost sick to imagine someone his size and weight pushing the ball at point guard. But that's what seems to be in store for the Heat.

Riley, of course, was kidding about James weighing 333 pounds. We think. You'd be getting into Shaq territory then. But there's no doubt that LeBron is built like the Incredible Hulk of the hardwood. He's a guy you can put at any position and create a highly favorable mismatch.

At guard, LeBron is too big and powerful to defend.

At forward, James is too skilled for defenders to contend.

And at center, he wouldn't even have to pretend.

Bron-Bron (or is it Bam-Bam) is strong enough to bang defensively for limited stretches, and can practically do whatever he wants in the post against most centers outside of Los Angeles, Orlando and Boston.

So Riley isn't just dreaming big, he's seeing big - right in front of his eyes.

LeBron's presence is impacting the organization in numerous other ways, too. Importing LeBron is unlike incorporating any other player in the NBA. He's his own entity as an employment stimulus package.

The Heat is making room on its training staff for LeBron's conditioning guy. The team also is beefing up its security structure, which will include LeBron's personal overseer. And there's even discussions to bulk up the organization's public relations and marketing departments because of the demands associated with this man, his team and what this new-look Big 3 of Wade, Bosh and Bron represents.

Riley has agreed to similar arrangements in the past, most notably bring in Shaq's personal support team and also adding Tim Grover, Wade's fitness guru of choice, as a consultant.

"We're going to beef up the security part of this thing, because we feel like there might be a lot of attention with our guys," Riley said. "We have to staff up in some areas."

WadeOlympics Riley joked he also must alter his personal moniker for Dwyane Wade. During Wade's remarkable run to an Olympic Gold medal two years ago, followed by an MVP-worthy season in 2008-09, Riley used to text Wade with the message: B.I.W.

"(Wade) asked me what that meant one night," Riley said. "And I said, 'Best in the World.' But I just can't say that randomly anymore. When you're talking about conceivably the best player in the world, we can have a debate with Dwyane also."

LeBron has yet to get through his first practice with the Heat. But his larger-than-life presence alone already has carved out territory alongside the greatest players in franchise history.

(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.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Riley Fires Back at Heat Critics

The start of the Miami Heat's 2010-11 training camp is still a couple of weeks away. PatRiley

But team president Pat Riley was in intense playoff mode Friday while finally firing back at those who took painful shots at his team's free agency coup to lure LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade.

Speaking to select local beat writers during a 42-minute conference call, Riley addressed several issues facing the team entering the Sept. 27 start of training camp at AmericanAirlines Arena. But none of the subjects he addressed revealed more of his true feelings than his response to TNT's Charles Barkley, Orlando GM Otis Smith and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.

All three had plenty to say about the Heat and some of its players after James and Bosh shook up the NBA's landscape and joined forces with Wade in Miami. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and several current and former players also launched shots at how this version of the Heat came together.

Big 3 Hype  "I think all these people should get a life. I really do." Riley said of the general, league-wide backlash aimed at the Heat. "Most of it has been silly, absolutely silly. But I understand. We live in a different world now. I can't even relate to it. I take a little bit of umbrage to some of the things that came from people in our game that all of a sudden have become the moral conscious or moral authority on the decision every team or some individual might make."

And that set the stage for some pretty direct points from Riley.

He was a bit offended by Smith, the Orlando GM, who raised questions about LeBron's competitiveness for deciding to leave a solid title contender in Cleveland to latch on with Wade and Bosh in Miami.

"When Otis Smith made a point about LeBron's competitiveness because he didn't stay in Cleveland, I thought it was an absolutely stupid remark," Riley said Friday. "He never made any kind of comment like  that when he signed (forward) Rashard Lewis, and brought him down from Seattle to a $128 million Pat and Stan contract."

And then there were the comments from Van Gundy, a former Heat head coach and Riley understudy before his controversial departure from Miami in 2005. It was Stan Van Gundy who was quoted in referring to Bosh as a "lapdog" to Wade in Miami.

"I don't know what happened to some of these guys along the way," Riley said.

But the best came when Riley turned his attention to Barkley, who referred to James' treatment of Cleveland and the decision to go to Miami as "punk moves." Barkley also didn't like the way the Heat celebrated the signings by putting on a fireworks show and rock concert-type performance at the arena in July.

"Charles Barkley, to me, went way over the top. Way, way, way over the top," Riley said. "For some reason (the media) and the network he works for has given this guy literary license to say whatever he  wants to say whenever he wants to say it. I think Charles is the only guy in the league who can get away Barkley with what he gets away with ... and we all let him get away with it again. I can guarantee a couple of guys don't like that, being called that. LeBron isn't that. Dwyane is surely not that, and neither is Chris."

So now, it's really on.

"There have been a number of things written all summer long about the three guys we signed," Riley said. "But in the end, they're the ones, all three of them, that showed a world-class personality. They took the hit, and now, they're ready to compete. They've been mentally tough with all these kind of things."

(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.)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

How The Heat's East Shakes Out

With less than three weeks remaining before the start of Heat training camp, one of the focuses today was Bulls Heat Main on where Miami will finish in a much stronger Eastern Conference mix.

I've got the Heat finishing atop the standings when all 82 are played. I'm not sure that 72 victories are in store for this team, though. The Heat will have quite a fight on its hands to challenge the Bulls record set during the 1996 season. That Tuesday night game in Milwaukee in February is no longer the gimme it might have been. That Friday tilt in Charlotte, as we've seen in the past, is much tougher than it used to be.

The bottom-feeders in the East are no longer chump-change. New Jersey won't be flirting with disaster this time around. And even the depleted Cleveland and Toronto squads will be highly motivated, albeit far less talented, when the Heat rolls into town.

Having said all of that, I was asked during today's live Heat chat how I saw the East breaking down. Honestly, I haven't yet given it much thought. When the Heat was a middle-of-the-pack team the past two seasons, it was sort of necessary to see where it might fall in the conference pecking order well in advance of the start of the season.

But with this team expected to be no lower than second in the conference, it doesn't matter as much what takes place below the top three or four teams in the East race. But for the record, I've got Miami ending up first with somewhere between 64 and 68 victories. From there, it's Boston, Orlando and Chicago.

Beyond that, it's anyone's guess. Here's the best of the best of today's Heat chat.

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1331 (Page 1 of 45)

Q: We all know Anderson Varejao thrived in Cleveland playing alongside Lebron, getting a rich contract along the way. Who among those currently in the roster do you think/see would mesh well with Lebron in the same manner this season? Who fits that "high-energy" bench player mold?

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

A: It would have to be a guy like Udonis Haslem. The Heat has several bodies at the power forward and center spot, but there's not a lot of youth, energy and athleticism at those spots. So the choices are limited. But this type of roster and these type of double-team-commanding players would seem to benefit a step-out-shooting, rebound-hauling presence like Haslem the most among those in the mix.

Q: We can go back and forth on this but the reality is that the heat are presently hurting in the point guard/center position. While am not taking away d heat arsenal on other position, I will like to advise the miami front office to still take a second look on A.I and patiently await d Erick Dampiers waiver from the bobcat. Am even surprise that d heat is not signing one of their own "SILER" he was more of an enforcer and defensive oriented than PITTMAN.

Answered 09/09/10 14:03:34 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I think the Heat is fairly confident in manning the point guard and center spots by committee. You'd like to be able to morph Eddie, Mario and Carlos into one guy. The same can be said of Jamaal, Joel and Big Z. But that's not a luxury the Heat has. When you load up with stars the way Miami has, you have to sacrifice elsewhere. But you need some supporting cast guys to rise to the challenge and play better than expected.

Q: Hey micheal what is your opinion on tattoos in the NBA and do u have one.Also Lebron has a tradition of getting a new tattoo before the post season every year I think he should get a crown on the back of his neck on top of his name James so that would make the king James even cooler

Answered 09/09/10 14:00:47 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: No, I don't have any tattoos. Never really seriously considered getting one. They don't tend to show up too well on us chocolate-ly-blessed guys:)My only concern what these guys are going to feel like when they turn 60 or 70 and are still inked up like that.

Q: Hi Mike, In Kobe's recent interview, he said that he would never do what Lebron did, leaving his team to go play with another superstar (although his trade request a few years ago seems to contradict that). My question is, do you think that Kobe would have swallowed his ego enough to do what Wade did, sacrificing salary, spotlight, stats and credit for winning, by recruiting talents the caliber of Lebron and Bosh? My gut says no, especially with what happened when he played with Shaq. What do you think?

Answered 09/09/10 13:57:44 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I think the Kobe we see now is a bit different from the Kobe that fell into that ego war with Shaq. Of course, it took Kobe a few years to answer his critics in terms of being able to win one without Shap. I didn't see Kobe's interview you're talking about. But if that is indeed the context of his statements, then it is a bit hypocritical. I would give Kobe a slight pass, though, because I don't think he would have demanded a trade if the Lakers posted the best record in the league and got as far as Cleveland did the last two years. In that event, I believe Kobe would demand that the Lakers do something to bring in more help.

Q: Hey Mike, i know the Heat are missing a big piece at center. But we do have big Z, along with joel anthony who i think is one of the best shot blocking center's in the league. But i wouldn't sleep on dexter pittman either. Do you think the Heat even with the big 3 and a solid supporting cast, couldn't win a title within the next 2 years?

Answered 09/09/10 13:54:48 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: If they don't, it would be considered by many, including this team, as a failure. I'm not among those who say the Heat has to win it all in Year 1. But I think they have to have some hardware to show for all of this hype, hoopla and expectations by Year 2.

Q: What is the spill over effect when a team like this is put together? Specifically, what change or effect does it have on local writers covering the Heat, or even guys like Eric Reid and Tony F? Because I have notice that people tend to remember not just players on multiple championship teams, but also writers and commentators.

Answered 09/09/10 13:53:34 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Great question. Those of us who are around the team daily, both home and on the road, will have a chance to chronicle the type of stories that might only come around once or twice in a career. With more attention paid to this team, it also increases the exposure a lot of us can receive beyond the local level. In many ways, we'll simply find ourselves holding on for the ride.

Q: Hey Mike, can I have your HONEST opinion? 2011 NBA playoffs Seeds 1 - 8. (I Have: 1. Miami 2. Boston 3. Orlando 4. Milwaukee 5. Chicago 6. Atlanta 7. Charlotte 8. Washington)

Answered 09/09/10 13:51:21 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I think the top three are locks. I'd move Chicago up to fourth, Atlanta to fifth, Milwaukee to sixth, Charlotte to seventh and I can see New York, New Jersey, Detroit, Indiana and Cleveland fighting for that final spot. I feel like I'm forgetting someone. But that's how I see it.

Q: do you see the heat signing any other players before the start of the season?

Answered 09/09/10 13:49:06 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Riley might be inclined eventually to invite a veteran or two such as an Iverson, Stackhouse, Larry Hughes or Flip Murray if there is a shortage of guards because of lingering injuries. But I don't see Pat rushing to do anything like that at this point unless it becomes necessary.


Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0z3bkLqIN

(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.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Would Force Riley To The Bench?

That's the most intriguing question posed this week during our Thursday live Heat chat. If Riley-Press I've said it once, I've suggested it a million times.

Take Pat Riley for his word.

And then take it with a grain of salt.

So where does that leave you? Confused, confounded and never quite comfortable. And that's exactly where Pat likes you to be, which is what has made him one of the most rugged, respected and resourceful executives in league history.

But I do take him at his word that his coaching days are over, when it comes to regular-season NBA coaching, that is. Would he step in and try to rescue this team - and salvage Micky Arison's $330 million investment in Wade, Bosh and LeBron - at the first or second sign of adversity?

Absolutely.

And who would blame him? But that's neither the plan nor the preferred method of operation. Erik Spoelstra will get plenty of room to do his thing with this team. At least that appears to be the case.

Spoelstra can afford to lose a game or two or three. He could even survive a few doses of uncomfortable moments with LeBron James (Chris Bosh is a go-with-the-flow-guy in this equation, so no worries there).

But Spo can not afford to lose Dwyane Wade's support and confidence. Then, and likely only then, would Pat be forced off his perch in the president's suite at AmericanAirlines Arena and swoop to the bench.

As an aside, I return from vacation the day after Labor Day and will update the blog daily as we begin our countdown to Heat training camp, which opens with media day on Sept. 27. Until then, here's another sample dose of this week's live chat ...

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1290 (Page 1 of 44)

Q: Don't you think in a couple years we are gonna have to shop for new role players because big z,j howard, mike miller, carlos arroyo and eddie house are at the end of there careers looking for one shot at a championship.Then were gonna be back at square one looking for more role players.

Answered 08/26/10 13:58:05 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: But as we saw this offseason, finding them - and getting them to come on the cheap to play with Wade, Bosh and James - won't be much of a problem. The role players beyond Haslem and Mike Miller, will likely change every year or two with this team. As long as the core is intact, the Heat should regroup and quickly.

Q: CONSIDERING I DON'T GET RESPONSES FROM IRA IM GUESSING YOU MIGHT HELP ME. MY QUESTION IS.. IS RILEY TO THE BECNH A DONE DEAL ALREADY AND HELL WAIT UNTIL HE HAS AN EXPLANATION... ID HATE FOR ERIK TO GO BUT IF U WANT A CHAMPIONSHIP U NEED VETS AND ID SAY PAT IS EXPERIENCED. IF IT HAPPENS IS THERE A CHANCE WE'D KEEP SPO AS A DEFENSIVE SPECIALIST. HES BETTER ONE ON ONE THEN AS HEAD COACH. I THINK WHAT WE DID TO STAN WAS MEANT TO BE BUT WE SHOULDA KEPT HIM ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OF HIS TALENT.

Answered 08/26/10 13:56:01 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: All we can go by is what Pat Riley says. And he's made it clear that he has no intention to return to the bench to coach this team. He's fine where he is, guiding the franchise from the role of team president. Erik Spoelstra will be the coach ... until he's not. We'll see how strong those offseason stances are when - or if - adversity strikes this team. But there are no indications that Riley will swoop in and land on the bench. Having said that, if he does, Spoelstra likely won't stick around. He's too young, bright and respected in the league to be out of work for long.

Q: hi michael i been a heat fan for like ever now !! they need to get a speed push the ball pg asap and that can shoot where do they go too????

Answered 08/26/10 13:52:48 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: My vote? Dwyane Wade.

Q: I'm the biggest heat fan and i love us now but let say 4-5years from now wade will be 34/35.Even jordan top out at 36 n went down after. is it fair to say that we will have 2 era one as the superfriends and one as lebron team and do you think riley also maybe pitch that to lebron.in the way he still can lead a team are be look at as leading a team to a championship

Answered 08/26/10 13:52:23 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Wade will be well into his 30s by the time his six-year contract expires. Bosh and LeBron will be right around 31. But I don't think anyone is thinking that far down the line just yet. There will be too much pressure to win now. If that group wins a title or three by then, the question will be whether to keep them together at the end of those deals or trade one of them while they still have some max value and start the reloading/rebuilding process. But that's a headache, of course, for another year.

Q: Hello Mr. Wallace. How come there's no coverage on NBA players such as Arroyo (who's with the Heat), Barea (Mavericks), and Balkman (with Nuggets) representing Puerto Rico in the upcoming 2010 FIBA World Championship? There seems to be a bias with the USA Team. After all, these players are NBA players who deserve the coverage because they are representing their country respectively. I'm just saying, when Carlos was with Utah and single-handedly managed the USA Team in 2004 (funny that team had Wade, Bosh, and Lebron as members I might add), the Jazz had excellent coverage, Orlando did the same for Carlos in 2006/07. What's up with the Miami Herald? Are these players not good enough for some media coverage? Thank you for what you do, keep it real!

Answered 08/26/10 13:49:28 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You make great points. Obviously, the coverage will be slanted toward the U.S. team. But there's always room to check on the players who play for the market's NBA team.

Q: I don't know much about Da'Sean Butler, aside that he apparently has a lot of potential. If he made the roster this year, would he be able to crack the rotation once healthy? Or is that something that wouldn't happen until maybe next season?

Answered 08/26/10 13:46:46 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: From a talent standpoint, he's as complete a swingman, when healthy, as the Heat has on the roster aside from LeBron and Mike Miller. But he hasn't done anything at this level yet, obviously. I don't think he'd crack the rotation this season. I also think there's still some significant time left in his rehab from knee surgery.

Q: Wade gives his team as much as Lebron and Kobe does and is as Jordanesque as those two, except Wade's shorter than all of these players including Jordan. That means Wade does more with less. Given he didn't start in the 2008 olympics, he quietly took over games and was the teams leading scorer. Now I hear Wade isn't even in the top 3 players. He's now behind Carmelo and Durant and how the olympic team needs Durant, who's bricking a lot lately, and Derrick Rose more...how much better Lebron is though none of these players have won a championship. Only Kobe has and Kobe has always had more talented teams than Wade. My question is who's pushing this perspective in the media to doubt Wade's greatness? He's already won a gold medal as the lead scorer amongst the NBA's best, had higher shooting percentages than both Kobe and Lebron for multiple years, took home MVP honors in both the finals and the Allstar game, won a scoring title, and won a championship...To me, that sounds like a resume of a great player.

Answered 08/26/10 13:44:14 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: It is a resume of greatness. Keep in mind that these perspectives and opinions are just that. There are a lot of doubters and private agendas out there. Wade is a top 3 player in the league. I've got, based on sheer talent, Kobe, Wade and LeBron - in no certain order.

Q: What's the latest on Udonis Haslem's situation? Will he be able to play?

Answered 08/26/10 13:41:26 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There is no latest at this point. The sides are negotiating, I'm sure. If this plays out as things currently stand, it will carry right into training camp and possibly the regular season - and a huge cloud would hang over the Heat. Having said that, all sides are probably hoping for a quicker resolution.

Q: Following the Spain - USA game Sunday, commentators suggested Rudy Fernandez (Spain's PG) is likely to be shipped out by Portland after all the fuss he is making. An ESPN analyst thinks he would be a good fit for the Heat given his low $1.2M salary. Agree?

Answered 08/26/10 13:39:49 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: As it stands now, based on league rules, the only players the Heat could send to Portland in such a deal would be Mario Chalmers and/or Dexter Pittman. Would I take Rudy back for those two guys? Certainly, especially if I could convince Wade to play point guard full time. The Heat has had discussions before with Portland this offseason. Not sure if that sort of deal would materialize at this point, though.

Q: I was a little surprised when the first rookie signed was Pittman and for two years. He didn't show real well in Vegas so are the Heat looking for someone with the size to bang on Shaq, Bynum, and Howard? Thanks.

Answered 08/26/10 13:37:12 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I was surprised they signed him that fast as well. But that decision wasn't based on his play in Vegas. He signed a day or two after the team opened summer league play. That signing is based on potential impact. Pittman has surprising athleticism for a kid that size. He also eats up plenty of space and loves to bang. If nothing else, he'll body up against the big boys in the eastern conference .... eventually.

Q: Mr Wallace, how should Miami play against Celtics for the first game? How do you feel concerning the heat defense,for a lot have been said on this team potential on offense? Do you think they might take a look at Dampier as an upgrade for center?thanks a lot

Answered 08/26/10 13:35:25 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: If Dampier is available and the Heat can swing a move or two to make room for him, it can only help. I've said before that he's arguable better than any true center the Heat has on the roster right now. As far as playing style, Miami needs to get out on the open court and utilize the speed and athleticism of the Big 3. I'd like to see this team play more like Magic's Lakers back in the 1980s. Not just against Boston, but against everyone. I think you limit this team's effectiveness by playing half-court, isolation ball.

Q: Listening to all the national sports talk programs, I have heard so many ridiculous reasons as to why this Miami Heat Experiment will not work. The most absurd was the argument that the Big 3 will account for about 70 to 80 points a night, so where will the rest of the offense come from. What is the strangest reason you have heard as to why this team will not work?

Answered 08/26/10 13:32:39 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Strangest thing I've heard? That karma will somehow come back and bite LeBron in the butt and derail the Heat. Doesn't get much stranger or crazier than that, does it?

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0xjimNUV5

(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.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hot Takes on Miami Heat

What do Kwame Brown, DeSean Butler, Spoelstra's handling of the rotation and Heat hate all have in Spo-timeout common? We break them all down in the latest Heat live Q&A session.

Another week, another dose of dynamic questions from you guys regarding the Miami Heat.

Pretty soon, we'll start to see this team provide some answers. But until then, we try to give you as much info based on our insight and access from covering this team. Here's a sample of this week's chat, which wrapped up just a few minutes ago. Click on the link below to read the entire session from Thursday.

And then, jump into the fray next week with your own Heat takes and questions.

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1244 (Page 1 of 42)

Q: Hey Michael, do you think Spoelstra will find enough minutes to go around to get these shooters involved in games. We have arguably the best core of 3 point shooters with Miller, J. Jones and E. House so I would like to see them get the minutes so that we can be an even deadlier squad. Another thing, do you see Coach Spo going maybe 10 deep into the rotation?...Thanks

Answered 08/12/10 14:06:05 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The rotation always has been Spoelstra's biggest challenge. But now, he's got major talent at his disposal and won't have to do as much patchwork with the rotation. I'm almost certain that at least one of those three shooters will be on the court at all times. I'm not sure, however, that you'd want to take the rotation out to 10 players amid a quest for true continuity. I see eight or nine at most: Wade, LeBron, Bosh, Mike Miller, Haslem, Anthony, House, Chalmers and Big Z.

Q: Hey Michael, I would like to see Jerry Stackhouse be put into the equation. What do you think ? He said he would be a role player.

Answered 08/12/10 14:01:48 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I'm sure Jerry Stackhouse would like to see himself thrown into the equation right now, too.

Q: Hi Mike, I just wanted to know how heat are going to win in the final round of the playoffs without a true center and a point guard? i mean they have 3 kings, but don't you think, they should have at least tried to get a center like Shaq or Jermaine or perhaps Brad Miller, Shaq signed for the minimum with boston, so i don't think money was that of a big issue. And again if they would have gone after raja bell or matt barnes, they would bought an insurance policy of keeping wade and lebron out of foul trouble, and defensive presence against kobe.

Answered 08/12/10 14:00:46 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Those are all great points. But I think the Heat is confident in what it has. Sure, one more big body on the front line would be great, as would a true veteran point guard. But that's not the case right now. I still think there's more than enough on the Heat's roster to accomplish what it needs to get done. But keep in mind, Miami still has the flexibility to bring in one more player and can shift its current rotation to play a number of different styles. What if Wade is willing to move to PG now that he has more scoring help? And what if Bosh is willing to take on some center alongside Udonis Haslem at power forward? There is plenty still unsettled about this team's approach. But the options are numerous with what's already here.

Q: So apparently if LA and MIA meet up next June the Heat are doomed because of the Lakers' size, or at least that's the case according to guys like Larry Coon and other ignorant Laker fans. Andrew Bynum's advantage over Joel or Z is the overwhelming matchup that leads to Miami's demise (please pick up the sarcasm Mike). So my question to you- as people examine the matchup of Chalmers-Fisher, Wade-Kobe, Lebron-Ron, Pau-Bosh, and Bynum-Joel/Z, do they just assume that Lebron vs. Artest is really a wash? I realize the Lakers are extremely talented and there's more to it then player by player matchups, but are you honestly telling me that these "experts" prefer the advantage that Bynum gives you over someone like Joel or Z rather than the one that Lebron James gives you over Ron Artest? Call me foolish, but I'll take the LBJ>Ron advantage over the Bynum>Joel/Z advantage any day of the week. You?

Answered 08/12/10 13:57:01 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I think these teams really offset one another in terms of those matchups. I think health/injuries will be a huge factor, as well as homecourt advantage, assuming these two teams advance to the Finals. As I said before, I'm not sure I'm ready to get too deep into the Xs and Os and matchups at this stage, because there's too much ball to be played. But I do think all signs point to that Lakers-Heat matchup in the Finals.

Q: I think if DeShaun Butler recovers from his torn ACL he would be a great pickup. He could have been a top ten pick without the injury. Also, Jon Scheyer should be signed. Smart, three point shooter, defender and can run the point. Your thoughts.

Answered 08/12/10 13:54:06 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Those are two talented young players the Heat really hopes to see healthy one day real soon. Scheyer was knocked out of summer league with an eye injury and Butler is recovering from the knee injury. These two could end up on the Heat's roster in a year or two, once some of the low-cost veterans move on. But the timing might be the biggest factor this season.

Q: whats up Michael? I have a statement more than a question! Because this needs to be said! I hope that all HEAT FANS realize that we have a VERY SPECIAL GEM that comes around only so many years IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS!! And his name is DYWANE WADE !!!!! REALLY THINK ABOUT IT !!! THIS GUY NOT ONLY RESIGN WITH US, BUT IS MAKING LESS MONEY THAN LEBRON AND CHRIS BOSH. And its his team! And to the NBA world, they need to STOP HATING! And give PROPS to D-WADe! Because back in the day NO ONE would've done what D-WADE did for the MIAMI HEAT and their franchise! Jordan said he would've never called up Magic or Larry Bird to team up. Ask him if he would've took less money and shared the spotlight with those superstars? I'm almost certain that he and others wouldn't of !! If it was up to me, i would have a D-WADE APPRECIATION DAY!! Something for HIM and ONLY HIM !! Make not mistake about it!!! ITS STILL ABOUT DYWANE WADE!!!!! HEAT FANS support Lebron and Chris Bosh, but let D-Wade know that we LOVE him and its all about HIM!! LETS GO HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!

Answered 08/12/10 13:51:21 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Statement delivered.

Q: James is an outstanding assist man. At Cleveland he was basically a point forward which on offense left the point guard as a liability. Unless the point guard is a shooter ie Allen Iverson. I think if they bought both to camp to see who would fit the supporting role better.

Answered 08/12/10 13:49:49 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: LeBron and Dwyane will both get plenty of opportunities to handle the ball as the de facto point guard. And yes, the most impressive part of LeBron's season last year came when he took over as the PG during that stretch in Cleveland when both Mo Williams and Delonte West were out with injuries. He basically averaged a triple double.

Q: How come the Miami heat does not want to sign Kwame Brown on the roster? I truly believe that the Miami Heat can win multiple championship by signing Kwame Brown . I know he is not very efficient at producing point but he does not need to. His specialty is defending and rebounding and that what the Miami Heat really need right now. Kwame is strong ,big, tough and mean. He just need the heat to give him the opportunity to show case his potential . He will ankle the Miami Heat defend and provide much need rebound which the Miami does not have. Nobody can touch the Miami Heat if Kwame Brown is a part of the Miami Heat roster.

Answered 08/12/10 13:44:30 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The Wizards became a playoff team AFTER Kwame. The Lakers got back to winning titles AFTER Kwame. And Detroit hasn't done a doggone thing WITH Kwame. So don't overstate Kwame's impact on anyone's roster. Having said that, he is a space-eating 7-footer who can still be a defensive presence. Money is the factor here. Not interest. The Heat is clearly interested. But there's nothing more than the vets' minimum to offer.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0wPsWgiHr

(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.)


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