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.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eddie's Back in the (Heat) House

Eddie's back again. No, not Eddie Jones. Been there, done that. And did it again. Eddie House (Knicks)

This time, it's Eddie House's turn for a Heat reunion. House agreed with the Heat Thursday on a two-year deal worth the veterans' minimum. The deal is worth a total of $2.8 million over two seasons, with the second season at House's option.

Agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed the deal just minutes before the start of our weekly Heat chat. As we do every week at this time, I try to answer your Heat questions. Or, at least try to provide an entertaining way to waste your time as we search for the answers.

Here's another sample of the hot questions this week...

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1187 (Page 1 of 41)

Q: Just read SI "How it all went down," it was more like "How could LBJ do it." I can't understand all this stuff over "The Decision," he made, as if he owed more to the cav's. Since when did a player owe anything to a franchise? As if he can't make up his own mind, he spent 7 yrs. W/ the Cav's getting them further than they have ever been & that's not enough for the doubters. So my question is, what will it take for all the hate to stop, 3-4-5, or 6 championships? Thanks & I love your work.

Answered 07/29/10 14:00:04 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Appreciate the love. And there's much too much being made of "how it all went down." The bottom line is simple. None of it would have gone down had Bosh not come to Miami first. My thought has always been that once Bosh and Wade were on board, LeBron had the easiest choice. The Heat were going to be fine regardless of what James decided to do.

Q: Not Larry Hughes PLEASE??? Hughes offense cost Cleveland the finals. His ORtg vs. DRtg, playoff Offensive Rating = 8 to 10 points lower. A-I, Iverson if he will take a 7th or 8th man role??? J-Will OR sign Jarvis Varnado, with Bosh, Lebron and Wade all scoring in the paint, we can't have too many shot blockers in the middle can we???

Answered 07/29/10 13:57:44 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Good, passionate plea from you. That's a real Heat fan.

Q: I agree with your points of the Heat getting a little more younger and athletic in the 'bigs'. Also agree that the last few roster spots should go to younger talent with specific criteria (hitting open jumper being the most important). I believe either Howard or Magloire will be released to make room for a younger, athletic player (maybe even a Kwame Brown or a summer league guy). Secondly, I believe either Hansbrouck or Lucas III (or both) will be on our roster AND might be better fits that either Arroyo or Chalmers in the starting lineup. YOUR THOUGHTS?

Answered 07/29/10 13:57:00 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Your logic is solid. But I'm willing to wait and see how things develop in camp before making any bold predictions. There's just too much that can happen between now and the end of training camp. I don't think the Heat would have signed these guys just to get rid of them.

Q: Hey brother! I read your forum everyday; I am serving in the US Air Force; so its good to hear good news... I just wanted to know who you think will ultimately be the last two ppl signed for the Miami Heat?... Thanks.

Answered 07/29/10 13:55:32 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Eddie House is one. The other spot remains up for grabs, which might be the case going into training camp. And thanks for following us.

Q: Hey Mr. Wallace how r things going. I wanted to ask since the Heat need a 3rd point guard, do you think Jon Scheyer could make the team he ran point at Duke and is a willing defender and a great shooter. Do you also think the hard-working De'Sean Butler could make the team. Thank You.

Answered 07/29/10 13:54:42 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I know the Heat likes Jon. It was a shame his summer league ended with the eye injury. There's a good chance he'll be invited back for training camp. Beyond that, he'd have to beat out some decent vets to earn a spot.

Q: Hey Mr. Wallace, I am not really a fan of Tracy McGrady, but I must sacrifice my personal conflict for the best interest of the Heat, I feel that Mr. McGrady would provide solid points coming off the bench. However, there are also huge questions surrounding his age and ability to stay healthy, that's obvious ever since... But I feel that He would be a tremendous benefit to Heat. As for his age, he's only 31 and can make up for any physical shortcomings with veteran experience... What is your logic behind acquiring T-Mac?? and What's his asking price? Thank you, Mr. Wallace

Answered 07/29/10 13:53:12 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Well, if his asking price is anything above the veterans' minimum at this point, it's far too rich for the Heat's taste.

Q: who could the heat possibly sign at the point guard position??

Answered 07/29/10 13:52:23 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There's a good chance Eddie House might be the guy.

Q: Hi Mike , I know the Heat is out of money this summer but ,is there any chance that they could run for Chris Paul via trade by February ?

Answered 07/29/10 13:51:44 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: So who would you give up to do that? Wade, LeBron or Bosh?

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0v61Gu1Jp

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another Hindsight Hack Job

Chris Bosh repeatedly made it a point during his transition to the Miami Heat to publicly thank fans, former Bosh-suit teammates and executives on his way out of Toronto.

Although it had long been clear that Bosh was the most likely of the major free agents to jump ship and leave his franchise, there at least seemed to be a willingness from Bosh and the Raptors front office to work together on a divorce that would satisfy the needs of both sides.

Still, all along, there seemed to be a disconnect between what was said publicly between Bosh and Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo and what actually was felt behind closed doors.

Apparently, those doors have blown open now. And if Bosh and LeBron James share anything in common beyond their move to the Heat and the championship aspirations and criticism that came with it, it's the backlash from the front-offices of their former teams.

The Toronto Sun reported in Tuesday's editions some rather scathing comments from Colangelo, who headed down a similar path Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took in questioning LeBron's competitiveness at the end of the season.

According to quotes taken from Colangelo's interview with a local sports talk show, the Sun reported that Colangelo not only took slightly-veiled shots at Bosh's recovery from injuries, but also his desire to mesh with the pieces the Raptors tried to place around him in recent years.

Bosh had been dealing with a number of nagging injuries over the second half of the season.

"Despite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games ... I’m not even questioning Chris’ injury. I’m telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn’t there and he chose not to play,” Colangelo said.

“The fact that our season was spiraling downward and we were hoping he’d come back sooner and we were also dealing with a few other things at that point ... we were really struggling there.”

At that point, the Raptors were in the midst of tumbling from fifth place in the Eastern Conference playoff  race to completely out of the postseason picture. Bosh also sustained a facial fracture in the final days of the regular season that knocked him out of the remaining games.

“Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn’t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn’t the same guy. I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it,” Colangelo said.

Now, apparently, no one is willing to hold back.

“I never felt we were quite in the game (in terms of signing Bosh to a new contract). There was too much out there, too much built up for him to take an easy out here, and he decided to do that.”

If the comments are reported accurately, it's safe to say that Colangelo didn't quite go Gilbert in torching Bosh after he bolted for Miami. But Colangelo also didn't stray to far from that territory.

Bosh-Heat Repeatedly lost in all of this is the fact that Bosh, James and Wade had every right as free agents to do what they did. Still, the criticism and questioning of their character was inevitable.

Having said that, I'm not sure Bosh can be blamed for Hedo Turkoglu flaming out the moment he arrived in Toronto. And you'd have a hard time naming any other player on that roster who would clearly start on any teams that made the playoffs in the East last season.

On the flip side, I've always felt Toronto gets a bad rap from star players who seem to despise going there or playing there for any length of time. The crowd support is great, the passion for basketball is respectable and Colangelo has been daring and aggressive in trying to make things work there.

But now, there's only more fuel for the Heat's fire. As if the team didn't generate enough already with its controversially successful offseason.

If Colangelo feels that Bosh never really gave the Raptors a chance in his free agency, and didn't do enough to salvage the season down the stretch, he's got the insight and right to justify his case.

But it's also difficult to challenge Bosh on some level, considering he did push through some of those injuries and still put together a career season in his final one with the Raptors. He never publicly demanded a trade, never openly ripped his teammates and I can't remember him bashing the coaching staff or any of Colangelo's decisions that didn't necessarily work out.

Bosh quietly chose to walk away when he had the option to do so.

Apparently, that silent treatment was deafening to some in Toronto.

And now, Colangelo is speaking up for the other franchise, the other city scorned in this Heat coup.

(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, July 22, 2010

Your Questions? Our Answers

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

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

Most Recently Answered Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: There's always Yakhouba Diawara.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 15, 2010

O'Neal-itis + More (Vegas, Day 4)

A lot of chatter in Vegas regarding the Heat's two former O'Neals - Shaq and Jermaine.  J

Both have made headlines in recent days. Jermaine O'Neal was introduced to the media on Wednesday in Boston, where he indicated he turned down an opportunity to return and play with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Some of the comments O'Neal made raised quite a few eyebrows.

There was this ...

"I could have re-signed back with those guys," O'Neal said in his press conference. "It comes down to personalities and style of play, and I thought Boston had all of that for me. It came down to winning now and not worrying about chemistry."

What Jermaine didn't come right out and say was that he had absolutely no chemistry with Bosh when the two were in Toronto. For that matter, Jermaine also didn't have much of a rhythm with Wade in Miami, either.

O'Neal favored the Big 3 that already has won a championship together over one that's forming in Miami. "Being part of something great is what matters to me," O'Neal said. "Obviously, those guys (Garnett, Allen, Pierce, Rondo), they have a ring already. They want another one. They know what it takes to get one."

It will be interesting to see how Jermaine's comments are interpreted by Wade, Bosh and James.

And then there's the other O'Neal. Shaquille. Word is he's looking for Brendan Haywood and Marcus Camby-type money in free agency. But there isn't a team in the league - and perhaps on the planet - that would pay Shaq anything close to $10 million a year.

And there might not be any teams out there willing to give him the full mid-level amount of about $5.8 million in first-year salary. But there are a handful of teams that would toss him a portion of the mid-level or the $2 million veteran's exception.

  Shaq Let's make one thing very clear here: Miami isn't one of those teams. There is absolutely no interest in a Shaq reunion from the Heat's side. Even if the burned bridges didn't exist, it just wouldn't be a good fit.

The last thing the Heat needs is a lane-clogging, ball-hogging presence in the paint. The first thing Shaq would want is his share of touches to feel involved in the process.

The one thing Shaq remains - and always will be - is an attraction. That's why fan-starved Atlanta makes sense. That's why New Orleans (returning to the state where Shaq played his college ball) might work.

One league official tossed out one very intriguing potential destination for Shaq: Los Angeles. No, not the Lakers. The Clippers. Imagine that.

LOCKOUT CONCERN: Heat fans better take every opportunity to watch Wade, LeBron and Bosh this Three Kings season. Because the way the things appear to be headed, this could be a one-and-done-for-awhile show.

In an interview Wednesday with Yahoo! Sports, players union executive Billy Hunter insists the league is headed for a lockout when the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2010-11 season. A day earlier, commissioner David Stern said, "we're not as far apart" as people make it seem. Sounds like Hunter disagrees.

"We can't be caught blindsided," Hunter said in the interview. "We have to prepare for a lockout. That's what I'm expecting."

Scare tactic? Perhaps. But this battle will loom heavily over what could be an extraordinary season.

RECRUITING SEASON: As it looks to fill out its final roster spots at the  veterans' minimum, the Heat officially has shifted from recruiter to being recruited. Former Heat point guard Mike James is the latest in a line of vets who'd like to latch onto the Heat's thrill ride guided by Wade, James and Bosh.

Speaking at Wednesday's golf event in advance of The Summer Groove in Miami, James said he's been in contact with the Heat, contact he initiated. "I'm 35 years old, but I'm in the best shape I've ever been in," James said. "I want to be able to help these young guys get better. But I can still hit a jump shot and I can still stop somebody on the other end."

HEAT MOVES TO 2-1: Guard Weyinmi Efejuku scored 19 points and center Garret Siler put together his second consecutive strong performance with 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks to lead  the Heat to a 92-83 victory against Detroit on Wednesday in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Siler, a 6-11, 304-pound prospect, was undrafted out of Augusta State last year. But he has been the biggest surprise through three games of action. Siler has outplayed Heat second-round pick Dexter Pittman, and has averaged 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 76.9 percent from the field in his last two games. Pittman, Jarvis Varnado and Shavlik Randolph were held out Wednesday.

Siler, however, held his own against lottery pick Greg Monroe. "He was just one of the those guys that people saw potential in early, and some people didn't see it in me early," Siler said of his matchup with Monroe, who finished with 20 points and six boards. "You don't want to go out there with a chip on your shoulder. But you want to prove your own worth out there against some of these guys."

The Heat plays its fourth game Friday against Milwaukee.

MEDIA ROOM HUMOR: True story. Question: "So no Bosh jersey burnings in Toronto after his free agency announcement?" Response: "Nah. We knew a long time ago he wasn't coming back."

(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.)

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.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Las Vegas Recap (Day 2)

Highlights from Day 2 of the Heat experience at the Las Vegas Summer League ... Three Kings

- The biggest news of the day? The Three Kings will get to do their championship chase thing in Miami.

Of course that was the expected. But NBA commissioner David Stern had to give the league's owners a chance to voice their displeasure with the Heat landing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade in Miami. As expected, talk of potential tampering dominated the early stages of the owners' meetings at The Palms Hotel. But Stern emerged from the meeting declaring that no team formally filed charges and that there would be no investigation for tampering or collusion. Consider it case closed.

But Stern did leave the door open for the owners' Labor Relations committee to look into possible tweaks to the free agency format and how to better monitor the rules and spirit of the process. The plain and simple truth is this: You can't keep players from talking among themselves about future plans. As Stern said: "Those three players were within their rights to talk to one another."

Stern also sternly expressed his displeasure with comments made by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson in the aftermath of LeBron's departure from Cleveland. Gilbert was fined $100,000, and Stern said he had a long talk with Jackson on Monday morning about Jackson's "slave" remarks. The commish also was far from thrilled with LeBron's way of announcing his decision on the ESPN hour-long telecast. "The Decision was ill conceived, badly produced and poorly executed," Stern said.

- There's the Big 3 and, now, the Gator 2. Udonis Haslem's decision to turn down more lucrative offers from Haslem Dunking New Jersey, Dallas and Denver to re-sign with the Heat on Monday gives Miami significant depth and experience at the power forward spot. The all-but-officially-completed addition of swingman Mike Miller also gives the Heat a needed shooter on the perimeter. Pat Riley just continues to come up with Aces in this free agency process. There appeared to be no way the Heat would be able to carve out enough salary cap space to re-sign Haslem, let alone Mike Miller. But the former UF Gators took less than market value to get it done here.

Miller was a Heat target years ago during his prime years in Memphis. Now that Haslem and Miller are in Miami, the Heat can now focus on picking up two or three players at the veterans minimum. There are center options out there in Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire, Brad Miller and Kwame Brown. The Heat simply needs a banger down low to eat up rebounds, block a few shots and use six fouls. There's also a need for help at point guard, with Derek Fisher pulling a Lamar Odom by turning the Heat down Monday to re-sign with the Lakers. Among those still available are Keyon Dooling, Jason Williams, Earl Watson and, dare we say it, Allen Iverson.

- The Heat's summer league squad didn't have a game scheduled Monday, but that didn't keep them off the court. The team went through practice Monday morning in advance of Tuesday's game against Golden State at 10:30 et. A look back at the stat sheet from Sunday's game revealed a solid second-half performance from guard Jon Scheyer, who filled the stat sheet with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. There were the four turnovers. But he also nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth and also drilled four consecutive free throws to close out the 77-72 victory over New Orleans.

"I feel confident, and that's something the Heat is known for, giving guys a chance," said Scheyer, who Beasley-Headdown was undrafted out of Duke. "I'm going to just keep giving everything I have and that's all I can control."

- The Heat officially finalized the trade that sent Michael Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, to Minnesota for two future second round picks. Let's repeat that. The second overall pick was traded for two second-round picks. It isn't quite a LeBron-type come up for Minnesota. But the T-Wolves got a big-time something for absolutely nothing. The Timberwolves have a team here competing in summer league, but it's too late to add Beasley to the roster. Instead, Beasley, who was already in Minnesota in advance of the trade being complete, plans to remain there to work out at the T-Wolves facility.

(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.)

Heat 77, Hornets 72 (Summer League)

If it seemed at times Sunday like forward Shavlik Randolph was a man among boys, well, he essentially SPO-Coach was.

When it comes to NBA experience, Randolph's five seasons in the league easily trumped everyone else on the court at Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus.

Randolph had 18 points and the Heat also got a game-high 24 points from guard Kenny Hasbrouck in a 77-72 victory against the Hornets in the Las Vegas Summer League debut for both teams.

The results in these five games over seven days aren't necessarily the most important thing for the Heat. The far greater competition is for the handful of roster spots that are likely to be available, with the limited salary-cap space the Heat has after landing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

"It's obvious that Miami is the place you want to be right now," Randolph said. "I wanted to do this here to continue to familiarize myself with the system and do everything to stick around."

Among the highlights from the Heat's summer league action ...

- Before Sunday's game even started, coach Erik Spoelstra was the most popular man in a gym full of league executives. Everyone wanted to talk to him about his plans for working the Heat's Three Kings this season. Spoelstra sat down with NBA TV analyst Kevin McHale before the game to offer his thoughts.

Spoelstra on the Heat's roster needs: "We need a little more depth at the point guard position and probably up front. We like shot-blockers, and I like active guys back there who can erase some mistakes at the rim."

- The first thing you notice about the Heat's summer league squad is the size and athleticism of big men Jarvis Varnado and Dexter Pittman. With the way Pittman moves, it's hard to believe this guy was once flirting with 400 pounds before he trimmed down at Texas. His conditioning improved even more in the past two weeks of summer league training camp in Miami.

Pittman struggled to get shots to fall amid an 0 of 4 night from the field. But he had the most impressive move of the night. He caught the ball in the low post with his back to the basket. In one swift motion, he faked inside, turned baseline and powered in a dunk that draw a loud reaction from the crowd. The move didn't count because of a shot-clock violation. But it certainly was an NBA-quality move.

Varnado, the NCAA's career leader in blocked shots, had a 3-to-1, foul-to-block ratio. The reaction time and athleticism is just far greater at the NBA level. Even in summer league. But Varnado had the Heat's coaching staff applauding after his chin-at-the-rim dunk on a baseline cut in the third quarter.

- Patrick Beverley and Kenny Hasbrouck started in the backcourt for the Heat, with Beverley initially cast at point guard. But Hasbrouck seems to have the early edge in command at the position. He's more confident in his ball handling and ability to get where he wants to on the court. With Mario Chalmers likely to take one of the PG spots, and with the Heat looking for veteran help at the position as well, the third and final roster spot at the position - assuming the Heat carries three - could be determined by this summer league battle.

- The Heat is also in the market for shooters to put around James, Wade and Bosh. That's one of the reasons former Duke standout Jon Scheyer latched onto the Heat's summer league squad. Scheyer missed three of his first four shots, but did make a couple of impressive plays.

His driving layup and free-throw on a conventional three-point play put the Heat ahead 31-29 in the second quarter. Scheyer then came right back and dished a nice past in transition to fellow Duke alum Randolph on a play that led to another Heat score. Scheyer also nailed the three-pointer with 30 seconds left that put the Heat ahead 71-69. He finished with 11 points. One other thing Scheyer has going for him: He played in the same AAU program and for the same coach that produced Dwyane Wade.

(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.)


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