Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stuff about tonight's game vs. Bobcats

TONIGHT'S GAME: Heat (19-6) at Charlotte Bobcats (7-20).

TIME: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte.

TV: Sun Sports (Eric Reid, Tony Fiorentino, Jason Jackson)

Radio: AM 790/104.3 FM & The Heat Radio Network (Mike Inglis)

Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM (José Pañeda)

SERIES: Miami leads 21-10. The Heat has won eight consecutive games against the Bobcats since March 9, 2010, and won the three meetings last season by an average of 21.0 points. Four of the Heat’s five victories during its winning streak are by double digits.

SCOUTING REPORT: Following its Christmas Day win over Oklahoma City in a rematch of last year’s Finals, the Heat opens a four-game road trip that will be played over six days. The Heat will try to sweep a set of back-to-back games for the first time this season and improve upon its 5-4 road mark that includes a 1-2 mark against Eastern Conference foes. The Heat is 3-0 on the second night of a back-to-back so far this season.

The Bobcats have lost 15 consecutive games following a 7-5 start. Charlotte has the third-worst record in the East ahead of Cleveland (6-23) and Washington (3-22). The Bobcats, however, are catching the Heat on a short turnaround and will try to pull off an upset similar to the Wizards’ 105-101 win over Miami Dec. 4 at Washington.

The Heat, which enters the game half a game ahead of the Knicks (20-8) for the conference’s top spot, is outscoring its opponents by an average of 15.6 points during its five-game winning streak. Although its three-game streak of making at least 10 three-pointers came to an end against the Thunder, the Heat still made 8 threes in 28 attempts. The Bobcats are allowing a league-worst 105.0 points this season. Charlotte was giving up 99.6 points during its first 12 games, but has allowed 109.4 since. Kemba Walker has been a bright spot averaging 18.3 points, but injuries to key players such as Ben Gordon and Gerald Henderson have been disruptive.

Following his 29-point performances against the Thunder, LeBron James has scored at least 20 points in the Heat's first 25 games of the season. James' personal streak dates back to end of last season. James has scored at least 20 points in 30 straight regular-season games. Including the playoffs, he has scored at least 20 points in 46 games. His 30th consecutive 20-plus point game set a new franchise record.

The Heat continues to play great defense during the winning streak, forcing an average of 17.4 turnovers. The Heat has held its last eight opponents under 100 points.

Dwyane Wade has been a factor on defense and efficient, shooting 59.8 percent (61 of 102) over the past seven games.

BOSH VS. BOBCATS

Chris Bosh returned to the lineup against the Thunder after missing the Jazz game with the flu. He's been especially good against the Bobcats during his career. Bosh is averaging 24.0 points per game against Charlotte lifetime – his best against any opponent.

 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Saturday, October 06, 2012

VIDEO: Miami Heat interviews following Saturday's practice

Hey everybody,

I went to the Heat's final practice before opening the preseason Sunday against the Hawks.

Here are interviews with Erik Spoelstra, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Each talked about starting the preseason Sunday against the Hawks and a little bit about the team's upcoming trip to China.

Enjoy,

Andre Fernandez

 

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Seems To Be Heat Nit-Pickin' Time

It's simple math. So let's just face it, accept it, embrace it and move on to the more favorable matchups.  Joel-Block

The Heat will lose most battles this season at point guard and center. Hold up. Scratch that. Let me rephrase this. Unless Dwyane Wade plays a more prominent role at point guard, the Heat will lose most battles this season at point guard and center.

Granted. The debate should start - and end - there. And that's no disrespect to the Heat's candidates at point guard and center. Most are hard-working, respectable, established veterans at varying stages of their careers.

But it doesn't matter if the starter at the point is Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo, Eddie House, Kenny Hasbrouck or Pat Beverly. Nine times out of 10, you're going to prefer the opposing team's starting point guard over Miami's when you break down that matchup going into games.

The same can be said at the center spot, regardless as to whether it's Big Z, Jamaal Magloire, Joel Anthony, Shavlik Randolph or rookie Dexter Pittman. So what do you do if you're the Miami Heat?

You play to your strengths.

And what do you do if you're a Miami Heat fan worried about some of the criticism from the national media, who have labeled Miami as "soft" or "inadequate" in the middle? You turn the channel/station or you change the subject.

Because the plain truth is simple. The Heat won't ask its point guards and centers to do much other than limit mistakes, pass the ball, rebound, block shots, defend, and knock down the easy looks.

So even if Miami doesn't stack up at center and point guard with the likes of Boston, Orlando, Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers, those teams have to answer for the areas where the Heat will dominate on most nights. And that's shooting guard, small forward and power forward. That's Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Make no mistake. This is nit-picking time. And there will be plenty of pundits out there who will take pride in nit-picking the Heat's areas of weakness. But it's silly to point out those shortcomings and not take into account the clear areas of strength on this roster.

Mario-magic When taking into account the starting five, there isn't a 2-3-4 trio in the league I'd pick over the Heat's. And that includes Boston (Allen, Pierce, Garnett), Orlando (Carter, Richardson, Lewis) or L.A. (Kobe, Artest, Gasol). The question is chemistry, and how quickly the Heat can build it this season.

But all three of those teams - Boston, Orlando and L.A. - have a clear advantage at point guard and center. On paper, if the Heat plays to its strengths, it should come out one spot ahead most nights in the battle of the starting fives. And whatever shortcomings Miami has with that first group must be made up for by its bench.

But there's no need to panic in nit-picking time, although this subject was a key topic in this week's Heat live chat. Here's a sample of Thursday's Q&A session.

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1315 (Page 1 of 45)

Q: Are we going to have any issue with the center position because boston and L.A. now that boston has shaq.

Answered 09/02/10 14:02:01 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There very well could be some major problems at center for the Heat. Boston, the Lakers and Orlando will dominate that position. But as I mentioned earlier - and often - the Heat has to compensate for some shortcomings by dominating at shooting guard, small forward and power forward. The bench also has to step up. This won't be a cakewalk. Point guard and center are major question marks.

Q: Hey Mike, So who is James Posey of our Heat? Every great champions needs someone that do what he does. Can you name someone who you would like the Heat to get? Do you think these names will be good fit? (Carney, Damien Wilkins,Mardy Collins,Dev. George,Willie Green,Bobby Simmons,J.Hayes)?

Answered 09/02/10 14:00:31 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Some of those names would be great fits. I like Damien Wilkins. Always have, for what he can give you on both ends of the court. Not sure how hard the Heat is looking for outside help at this point. Pat might stand pat with what he has right now, with 18 players on the roster heading into training camp.

Q: hey mike, love your blogs. there are a lot of regular bloggers who comment everyday. we had a little community going during the doldrums of the j.o & q-rich season, and it would be nice to get some love. how about scanning the comments section and doing some q & a with your regulars next time?

Answered 09/02/10 13:58:23 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Will do. I'm not afraid to jump on there in the comments section and throw a few blows. Once I get back after Labor Day, it's on. Thanks for the support.

Q: Why is Pat Riley so greedy, and why does the HEAT HAVE TO BUY A cHAMPIONSHIP THEIR NOT GOING TO WIN? The Chicago Bulls are going to win it all, they got Class!!!!!!!

Answered 09/02/10 13:56:58 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: We'll see. Pat played his cards right this summer.

Q: There is plenty of talk (from haters) about the Heat's weaknesses. No defensive stopper, no point, no center. Most of it seems irrelevant when you look at the talent at our 2,3,4. I consider D Wade and LBJ "stoppers" especially when not carrying the full load of the offense and considering Spo will not deviate from his(actually Riley's)defense first mentality. What would do you think our biggest weakness/weaknesses will be? Also, how do you feel about Bosh's defense?

Answered 09/02/10 13:56:16 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Wade can erase one of those weaknesses if he decides to take on a prominent role at point guard. Besides that, the only other apparent hole on the roster is at center, where the Heat has four bodies there, but no one who capable of filling every need. Big Z is a shooter and big body. Jamaal Magloire is a rebounder and banger. Joel is a shot-blocker. None is a true post-up presence at this stage on the offensive end. Bosh has the athleticism and skill to be a very good defender. He won't have to wear himself out on the offensive end every night, because he has two other very capable scorers in Wade and LeBron. That should make him a more committed defender.

Q: You say the Heat need an athletic swingman who can defend. I know Miller can rebound and pass as well as shoot but how about his defense? Statistically the Heat were a very good defensive team last year. Why shouldn't LeBron in place of Richardson, Bosh in place of Beasley and Miller in place of Arroyo (with Wade at point) be an even better defensive team? Thanks.

Answered 09/02/10 13:53:02 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Mike Miller is known more for his varying hairstyles than his defense. And he'll tell you that as well. But the Heat will ask him to be a solid system defender, meaning that he must be in the right place at the right time and guide his opposing player into help situations. The Heat swore up and down that Jason Kapono was a great system defender and three-point shooter. This team has the potential to be very special on the defensive end, for no other reason than Wade, LeBron and Bosh won't be asked to all score 35 a night for the team to win games.

Q: Hey Mike Just wanted your take of Jim Jones. I thought we had him on our roster, how come no one talks about him. Is he gonna be part of the rotation or not? Thanx

Answered 09/02/10 13:49:19 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I'm confused. Are we talking Jim Jones, the rapper? Or James Jones, the shooter? James is on the roster. He re-signed this summer. But he hasn't been much of a factor since the Heat landed him a few seasons ago. Perhaps this will be his season to shine, considering the open looks that will be available playing alongside Dwyane, Bosh and LeBron. James hasn't had much of a chance to stick in the rotation.

Q: SUP MIKE! I DON'T HAVE A QUESTION, I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH I RESPECTED THE WAY YOU HANDLED THE QUESTION THAT I ASKED YOU EARLIER IN THE WEEK ABOUT THE RADIO INTERVIEW YOU DID, I ASKED YOU NOT TO BE A COWARD AND YOU DIDN'T LET ME DOWN MAN, I STILL DON'T AGREE WITH YOU BUT I RESPECT YOUR OPINION, KEEP IT REAL HOMIE!

Answered 09/02/10 13:47:11 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I certainly try to. Thanks. But what's up with the caps, dude? You getting your Dan Gilbert on or something?

Q: Has da'sean butler healed from his knee surgery?

Answered 09/02/10 13:45:36 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: No. He still has a significant way to go. But the hope is that he will be available to do something during the preseason, whether it's on-court conditioning and practice or even play limited minutes in a few games. But ACL surgeries take a year. And his just happened less than six months ago.

Q: Hi Michael: What's good? Big fan. Let's talk x's and o's. Besides besides wanting to push the ball and playing great D, how will their half court offense look like? Is it going to be that same boring hi pick n' roll or will Spo take turns running plays for the Big 3? I personally think this team would be more effective running some sort of motion offense, (eg. Princeton, triangle)so that everyone touches the ball. What would you think they should do and what will they do? Thanks and keep up the good work.

Answered 09/02/10 13:43:58 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I've gone on record before, saying that this team needs to get out and run. There's too many athletes, shooters and playmakers in this group to slow it down every trip down the court. Riley has been a genius at adapting style to the talent he has available. But this Heat team should be more like the Lakers of the 1980s than the Knicks or Heat of the 1990s and 2000s. If half-court play is a must, I'm sure there will be sets to exploit mismatches and force teams to either double on Wade or LeBron. You can't double them both. That's why I've always said that Chris Bosh will be the most critical player on this team. He will certainly benefit from the attention you must pay to LeBron and Dwyane, no matter what style Miami plays.

Q: in your opinion how do the Heat stack up against the Lakers as we are right now and also, besides the Magic and the Celtics, what other teams in the east can cause problems for us. finally what kind of record do you think the Heat will have by seasons end?

Answered 09/02/10 13:39:57 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Orlando, Boston and the Lakers are the only teams out there, on paper, in the Heat's class. Denver, when its on its game, has the firepower to give Miami some issues and Atlanta and Chicago could be interesting in terms of matchups. But those teams aren't in the same class as the Heat, Lakers, Celtics and Magic. Barring a crazy rash of injuries, this Heat team should win at least 63 games. But more important than the regular-season record will be the postseason performance. And anything short of trips to the conference and NBA Finals would be a major problem.

Q: i think Hasbrouck is better then chalmers and arroyo do you think there any chance he would be the starting Pg for the heat this season?

Answered 09/02/10 13:36:29 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Nope. Kenny is a good kid and hard-working player. But he's more likely to get cut than he is to make the team, let alone hit the jackpot and start at PG. Then again, this Heat team has been pretty good this summer at hitting the jackpot.

Q: Why is your page so full of old stuff? No fresh stuff to read like the SunSentinel. Your paper needs new writers who will furnish interesting reading. Miami is going to be the #1 team to read about. If you can't stand the Heat then get out of the kitchen.

Answered 09/02/10 13:34:33 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Thanks for your thoughts. Forgive me for taking a vacation, getting away from it a bit during a slow period and trying to spend some rare down time with family. Perhaps that's a foreign concept to some. Training camp opens later this month. The coverage will pick up again, just as it did when we traversed the country during the season and the most thrilling July free agency period in NBA history.

Q: Hey Mike, why do ESPN's Chris BrouFraud keep saying that Miami's front court is "soft". I understand that Haslem and Anthony are undersized, but I didn't know they were "soft"?! Do you think the Heat can hold up against Boston, LA, Magic...?

Answered 09/02/10 13:30:12 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Pound for pound? No. But the Heat would win matchups at shooting guard, small forward and power forward on just about every night during the season. Miami certainly has the talent to overcome whatever weaknesses the critics point to.


Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0yOf363d2

(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.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Las Vegas Recap (Day 3)

After seeing Juwan Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas commit to joining the Heat for the Big Z chance to win a ring alongside Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, it's amazing how many other old-time NBA players had a pep in their step Tuesday night.

Chris Webber still looks in shape. So does Steve Smith. Heck, may as well throw Kevin McHale down on the low block and see what he's got left. I'm sure he can still pump-fake and up-and-under his way to the free throw line to knock down a few.

These days, almost everybody seems willing to jump on board with the Heat. Ilgauskas confirmed his commitment earlier Tuesday when he said he loved Cleveland, but the best path to a championship runs through Miami and alongside good friend LeBron James.

So counting Ilgauskas, the Heat has either signed or is on the verge of signing James, Bosh, Wade, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Howard and Mike Miller. There's also the qualifying offer out there for Joel Anthony.

Miller's situation created quite a buzz among league people in the two gyms being used for the Las Vegas Summer League. The fact that he remained unsigned as of Tuesday night led to speculation that Miller might be having second thoughts. At least two teams have reached out to him again to see if he would reconsider signing with the Heat.

Miller even reached out to people Tuesday to make it clear that a deal is not yet done in Miami. The hangup, however, doesn't appear to be Miller having any sort of cold feet. Instead, it seems to be a technicality that deals with the completion of physical exams and trade paperwork.

Part of this goes back to Michael Beasley, who has yet to arrive in Minnesota to complete his physical with the T-Wolves. Everyone assumes he will pass the physical, but Beasley had root canal surgery recently and was unable to fly the past couple of days. If Beasley is unable to pass his physical for whatever reason, there's a chance the trade can be rescinded, meaning Mike and his $4.9 million salary for next season would fall back onto the Heat's books.

And that would essentially mean no space for Mike Miller. The T-Wolves expect Beasley to arrive either Wednesday or Thursday to be formally introduced to the media. So this saga could drag on a day or two. The Heat doesn't want another Tyson Chandler situation to come of this. Chandler was dealt two seasons ago from New Orleans to Oklahoma City, arrived in OKC and failed the physical because of a toe injury. He was then sent back to New Orleans.

- The Heat's summer league team fell to 1-1 with Tuesday's 72-69 loss to Golden State. It was a painful setback for a number of reasons. First and foremost was the fact that former Heat camp prospect Brian Jon Scheyer Chase nailed the game-winning shot on a 34-foot 3-point dagger with 12 seconds left.

Two summers ago, Chase was one of the better point guards in camp. But he got caught up in a numbers crunch because the Heat had more money and time invested in Chris Quinn. Another former Heat short-timer, Kasib Powell, had 16 points for the Warriors. Miami was led by Kenny Hasbrouck for the second time in as many games. He had 14 points. Center Garret Siler had 10 points and six rebounds.

It was another struggle for second-round pick Dexter Pittman, who is being groomed to be a rotation player with the Heat this season. But Pittman was in early foul trouble and closed with seven points, four rebounds and four turnovers in 18 minutes.

The Heat lost former Duke guard Jon Scheyer in the second quarter to a lacerated right eyelid. Scheyer was taken to UMC Trauma Center for treatment and did not return. He received five stitches and was released. His status for the Heat's remaining three games has not yet been determined. The Heat plays again Wednesday night against Detroit at 10:30 p.m.

(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

Landing LeBron

Pat Riley did it. Give the man credit. He placed his bets - and hit the jackpot. LeBron pointing

The Heat has the framework in place to build the NBA's next dynasty. The Heat got a clean sweep by landing the three top free agents on the market.

D-Wade. LeBron. C-Bosh. Or, should it be LeBron, D-Wade and C-Bosh? Doesn't matter. All three insist it won't be about egos and in what order they fall in line. There will be enough to share.

Especially when it comes time to hand out those championship rings in the coming years. Credit Chris Bosh for being the first domino to fall. His commitment on Tuesday night freed Wade up to make his return. After that, the duo put pressure on James to form the trilogy.

Here are some key quotes from LeBron during his hour-long ESPN special Thursday night.

(On the stress and strain of free agency) "This process has been everything I thought it would be and more. I have enjoyed it. It's been a real humbling experience to be in this position."

(On when he made his decision) "I think I decided this morning. But it was day to day. I'd wake up one morning and it's this team, wake up one morning and it's that team. This morning, I woke up and had a great conversation with my mom. And I knew."

(On what led to decision) "The major factor (was) the best opportunity to win now and to win in the future also."

(On opportunity to play with Wade and Bosh) "It was hard to turn down. You have two great players there already. You add me, it's going to be a good team."

(On who will coach this team) "Erik Spoelstra will be the coach. Pat said that. Erik had a great mentor in Pat. I respect Coach Spoelstra and everything he's going to do."

(On toughest decision of career) "It was tough. Very tough. You feel like you let a lot of people down. You raised a lot of expectations also. You have to do what's best for you. I feel like this is going to give me the best opportunity to win.

(How hard it was to leave Cleveland) "I never wanted to leave Cleveland. My heart will always be in that area. It's not about leaving Cleveland. It's about joining forces (with Wade and Bosh)."

(On disappointment after seeing Cleveland fans burning jersey) "This is tough. Very tough. You feel like you let a lot of people down."

(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 01, 2010

Bunches of (Free Agent) Hunches

Forget the Fourth of July. The First of July is here and the fireworks will soon begin in the biggest free LeBron-Wade agency market in NBA history.

D.Wade is a free man. LeBron is the most sought-after player on the market. Chris Bosh is tweeting like crazy without saying much of anything definitive.

And the Heat's executive power force of team prez Pat Riley, VP Nick Arison, Heat legend Alonzo Mourning and coach Erik Spoelstra is jetting from coast to coast to meet with the team's top targets.

Before we get any further, let me first recommend that you follow me on twitter, which is the quickest way to get our updates amid the free agency frenzy. Just click the link at the bottom of this post and we're all set.

As we reach the midway point of the first day of free agency, I've got a bunch of hunches after some of the initial developments across the country.

Hunch One - The Heat made one of its first recruiting pitches to Amare Stoudemire out in Los Angeles just after midnight. But we've learned that the sides emerged from the amicable, hour-long session without the Heat offering Amare a contract. That's a clear indication that the Heat, despite its aggressive pursuit of Amare at the February trade deadline, is taking a Bosh-and-see approach in its quest for post help. Bosh tweeted this morning that he received proposals from the Heat, Rockets, Raptors and Bulls. Perhaps there are legitimate concerns about Amare's knees. Remember, we reported last month about his visit to a South Miami clinic to have his knees examined. That clinic, coincidentally, is also used by the Heat.

Hunch Two - My feeling all along has been that LeBron James would find it too hard to walk away from Cleveland when all is said and done. The imminent hiring of Byron Scott might be the best thing the Cavs could have done to help convince James to stay. Not only does Scott bring credentials as a former championship player, he also has led the Nets and Hornets as far into the playoffs as those franchises have been in a long, long time. One key nugget to keep in mind. Scott was really, really close to Chris Paul as coach of the Hornets. James and Paul are good buddies. This might encourage Paul to push for a trade to Cleveland, which has a few attractive pieces to send back to New Orleans for its troubles. Mo Williams (native of nearby Jackson, Miss.) and All-Star forward Antawn Jamison could be a start.

Hunch Three - If Stoudemire somehow walks away from Phoenix, look for the Suns to consider pushing for Carlos Boozer as a potential replacement. Boozer could easily fill the production void Amare would leave behind. Not sure how much salary-cap space the Suns would have to make room for Boozer. But it's clear that Boozer would be a much cheaper option than Stoudemire - although you'd get the same production. We learned in February that the Suns were willing to take Boozer from Utah in that failed three-way trade with Miami that would have sent Stoudemire to the Heat. Utah backed off because it didn't like the pieces it would have gotten back for parting with Boozer at the time.

Hunch Four - As hard as it might be for Dwyane Wade to open his mind up to considering other options in Wade-Olympics free agency than returning to the Heat, he's going to seriously listen to the Bulls, Nets and Knicks. Those teams could offer as much or more for him than Miami could in terms of surrounding him with impressive talent. The Heat has a clean slate as far as its roster is concerned. But the Bulls have Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng along with their cap space. The Nets have Devin Harris and Brook Lopez in addition to space for two max stars. On paper, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers don't really stack up to those other parts. New York simply has cap space and Broadway appeal. But Wade has tremendous respect for Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, who was on the coaching staff of Team USA's gold medal squad in Beijing.

Well, those are my hunches for now. More to come as the madness continues.

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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vegas-bound Beas? The Odds of That

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Beasley apparently is headed to Vegas.

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

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

Thursday, June 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

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