Monday, October 04, 2010

Top 15, starting five

Funny how people originally thought the Heat's supporting cast around the Big Three would be made up of scrubs, and at this point the roster's deep enough to make the final choice on the 15-man roster rather difficult.

The locks for the roster are obvious: LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Haslem, Miller, Ilgauskas, House, Anthony, Chalmers, Jones, Arroyo, Howard and Magloire.

That's 13, leaving two spots open with about five guys fighting for them.

Dexter Pittman is probably a lock, given that he's a big guy the Heat drafted and they love to develop big guys with potential. Pittman would be a fourth center, yes, but Pittman would likely be stashed on the inactive list every night. Then if Big Z has health issues, there's still depth to deal with the bigger teams like Boston.

Shavlik Randolph and Kenny Hasbrouck, though they were on the team at some point last year, are probably out when you consider that, a) the Heat has enough in the power rotation without Randolph and b) Hasbrouck hasn't even been the best defensive specialist in camp.

That distinction would go to Patrick Beverley, who played point with the red team that featured the Big Three in Friday's scrimmage.

If he makes the roster, though, that would mean Da'Sean Butler, another draft pick, wouldn't. Of course, Butler is working his way back from a torn ACL, but if he really was a coveted player, there's always the fear that if he's cut here, another team could sign him, work him back to health and have a significant contributor in the future. I'm sure with Wade and LeBron on the perimeter, it's not as if the Heat is very concerned about losing a potential role player, but why would the team have signed Butler at all if the plan wasn't to work him back to health themselves? The guess here is they signed him as a show of good faith, so when they do cut him, he'll work his way back to health in Miami then re-sign down the road.

So my guess is Pittman and Beverley get those final roster spots.

But back to the top of the roster... Should be interesting to see who Spoelstra starts against the Pistons on Tuesday. If it were my starting lineup, I'd go with Bron, Wade, Miller, Bosh and Anthony. But based on how LeBron talks about playing the point, I doubt he wants to start there. So it'll likely be Chalmers (or healthiest available point guard), Bron, Wade, Bosh and Anthony. Not a ton of shooting there, especially if it's Arroyo or Beverley starting, and even with Chalmers it's not as if he's threatening enough an outside shooter to keep teams from just packing in the defense. To me, either Miller, House or Jones should be on the floor whenever the combo of Wade and Bron are on the floor. But I guess we'll see where that goes.

 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Decision on Dampier?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Final 5 Questions Facing Heat (Part. 2)

After a brief detour to cover Udonis Haslem's exoneration from that felony drug charge and the Heat's player media availability after Thursday's workouts, we resume the countdown of the top 10 questions facing Miami entering the Sept. 28 start of training camp.

5. How much will the Heat hate motivate? Some members of the national media, NBA analysts and Stan Van Gundy various coaches and players around the league have made this easy for the Heat. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Pat Riley don't have to come up with their own invisible villains now. All they have to do is look at the next game on the schedule, 'Google' that team and search for "criticism of the Heat." And the transcript of motivational potshots will flow. What we know is that even without the naysayers being so public in their so-called hate of the Heat, this team wouldn't have had too much of a problem creating that "Us against the world" mindset. But how much general hate is really out there aimed at the Heat? I'd say much less than the media would like you to believe. This team has plenty of fans in cities outside of Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles and Cleveland. People who support this team outside of Miami just don't tend to make news.

4. Can Miami overcome weaknesses at PG and Center? Yes and No. What we know is that point guard won't be a problem. As a matter of fact, it's safe to assume that the traditional 'point guard' position probably won't exist in the Heat's vocabulary. It will be replaced by 'playmaker' - and the Heat has plenty of them. Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo and Eddie House will specifically be asked to do three things: Limit turnovers, defend their position and knock down open shots. Wade, James and Mike Miller will handle the basketball. They will make the plays. They will handle the decisions. Expect the three of them to combine for around 20 assists a game. By comparison, the Heat averaged 18.9 assists as a team last season. One thing Wade, James and Miller shouldn't have to do is chase a smaller, quicker opposing point guard around the court an entire game. The center spot is another issue. The versatility and flexibility of Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and Juwan Howard should help fill any voids at center, where Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamaal Magloire are the natural candidates. The Heat should hold up relatively well there most of the season. But it's the combined dozen regular-season games - plus the playoffs - against the Lakers, Magic, Celtics and Spurs when Miami's power rotation will be severely tested.

3. How long might chemistry be a concern or issue with the Big 3? If Wade, Bosh and LeBron aren't Bosh-Wade-James-USA already on the same page psychologically and physically by the end of this upcoming boot camp of a preseason stretch on those military bases in the Panhandle, then there might be a problem. But I don't suspect that will be the case. What we know is that these guys have wanted this opportunity to play together for years and are committed to proving to the world that this Super Big 3 concept will work. Considering the fact that Wade has already won a championship here and has that credibility, there is no debating who is the leader of this outfit. Bosh will easily flow into whatever system and expectations are set for him. Because Wade and James are essentially the same player (despite their difference in size), it will take some time for them to work through some potential on-court kinks. An up-tempo offense would help alleviate times when one has the ball and the other is setting up somewhere waiting to get it. In some ways, you can say Wade and James are selfishly unselfish players. That means they both are willing passers, playmakers and facilitators. But they also must have the ball in their hands and be in the middle of the action to be at their best. So that will make this chemistry exhibit interesting.

2. How long is coach Erik Spoelstra's leash? I was completely stumped by a question from a reader in our last Heat Q&A live chat. The person asked something to the extent of how bad of a start must the Heat have this season for Spoelstra's job to be in jeopardy. My initial reaction, somewhat sarcastically, was 0-3. That would mean losses to open the season at Boston and Philadelphia, followed by another setback in the home opener against the fri-enemy Orlando Magic. The Heat would be slaughtered in the national media, and Spoelstra would be under more scrutiny than he's ever faced in his brief coaching career. But what we know is that Spo has the full backing of Riley, owner Micky Arison and, perhaps most important, Dwyane Wade. What we also know is that Riley isn't the type to publicly panic at the first sign of adversity or a losing streak. Yes, history reveals Stan Van Gundy was forced out five years ago when Riley's last collection of championship material sputtered out of the gate before winning a title. But that escape hatch was opened for Van Gundy's departure in large part because of the simmering feuds in the locker room and a lack of trust between Van Gundy, Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning. This current Heat team has the talent to overcome a short losing streak under Spoelstra. But not even all the support from the front-office could help him if, for instance, Wade were to be neutralized and find himself torn between supporting Spoelstra and remaining loyal to an uncomfortable or privately disgruntled LeBron James.

1. Will the Heat win a championship this season? This is the way I see it: If this Heat team gets to the Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals, I believe they win it. Count me among the smaller group of folks who think that, on paper, the Heat would have a harder time against a healthy and hungry Boston team this year than it would against the Lakers or anyone that comes out of the Western Conference. The Lakers are the two-time defending champs and a phenomenal team. But I don't think the Heat is intimidated by an inconsistent Andrew Bynum, an aging Derek Fisher and the solid-but-unspectacular additions of Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff. Boston's Big 3 - Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett - could be more problematic for Miami's counterparts in Wade, James and Bosh. And what we know is that Boston is far superior at the traditional point guard and center positions. There is no debating that Boston has had its way against Wade's Heat, James' Cavs and Bosh's Raptors in the recent past. But now they're a formidable trio, with dynastic expectations and are setting out on a championship-or-bust mission in Miami. My take? The Heat shouldn't be considered a bust if it doesn't win a title this season. It does, however, need to at least get to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. By Year 2, this team must have jewelry to show for its 2010 free agency heist.

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

10 Questions Facing Heat (Pt. 1, Updated)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 13, 2010

Heat Awaits D-day for Dampier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Larger Than Life ... Or Zo, At Least

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 09, 2010

How The Heat's East Shakes Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Recently Answered Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Thursday, 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, August 19, 2010

Roster Room For Zo? Always

Hot topics from this week's Heat live chat ... ZoFighting

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1270 (Page 1 of 43)

Q: Hey Michael, I'm a huge Heat fan and as soon as Bron mentioned he was going to retire he's #23 i knew only possible cities were Chicago or Miami. But what do you think of a possible return to the sidelines by Alonzo Mourning? I know he's 40 years old now but 12-18 minutes a night is well enough for this cast? What do you think? Is February an option for return? Eddy B

Answered 08/19/10 14:05:26 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I think Zo did some of his best work by joining the Heat's front-office recruiting team during free agency. He's also got a lot more on his plate than basketball, with all of his philanthropic work. Would it have been nice to see Timmy and Zo get the last two roster spots just to keep these guys focused on practices and on the road? Certainly. I've lobbied for it, both playfully and sort-of-seriously. But Zo insists his playing days are done. That won't, however, keep him from sneaking into a practice with his Heat guard and working out with these guys every now and then.

Q: It is time to quit hating and come to a realization that the Miami Heat are arguably the best team in the NBA. The THRINASTY is a bond created from drat day seven years ago, played together in the Olympics, and is a special relationship you will most likely never see in sports again. This is a unique situation where friendship, cap space, and family got this deal done. Riley and Wade thank you. Sit back and enjoy the show

Answered 08/19/10 14:02:26 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Well said.

Q: hi michael very respectfully think that you do not respect the play of Carlos Arroyo on your final analysis or you have it playing in the rotation you know Carlos Arroyo has always had to shut his mouth to people like you who just think that the best players are those that are produced in the United States fortunately in recent years has shown that basketball has grown.

Answered 08/19/10 14:01:45 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I've got no problem with Carlos. I respect what he brings to the table and wish him the best.

Q: Q: Does Carlos Arroyo have a chance this year? He did better than Chalmers last year and is good for the Latino fan base. This has nothing to do with any fan base; this is about championships. I suspect this season will start like last, with the starting job at point guard being Mario's to lose. But if Carlos has a strong showing at the World Championships with Puerto Rico, I would not be surprised if LeBron and Dwyane take note and perhaps make a note of it with Erik Spoelstra.you think of this

Answered 08/19/10 14:00:47 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Arroyo just won't go away. Good for him. He's stubborn, and that's what the Heat needs at that position. He's not afraid to stand up and correct more established players on the team. And he doesn't make a lot of mistakes. That should keep him in the mix with the playing rotation. Unless politics get in the way.

Q: Charles was a great ball player, but now he is playing a new position and that is the loud mouth EX-Player. Charles I am a fan of yours and I am disappointed with you and your tunnel vision, you value your own opinion to much. you see thats all your talking is, an opinion. charles you are still ok with me even if it does not matter to you. charles do me a favor shut up get off Bron. every great player who has won the NBA title has had Great players playing with them..ie Magic, Mike, Bird, even you tried to hook up with the Dream. charles lets stop the Black on Black crime.. 

Answered 08/19/10 13:59:03 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I, too, loved Barkley as a player and find him entertaining and engaging as an analyst. But this thing with LeBron seemed to go a bit too far.

Q: Hello, Michael Wallace, How will new Heat addition, Mike Miller fit in the Miami Heat's system of playing basketball on the court? Will Haslem return for his 7th season with the Heat? What do you think about the new big three of Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on the same Miami Heat team? take care.

Answered 08/19/10 13:57:11 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Mike Miller could put up Reggie Miller type shooting numbers with this team. He might be the one who benefits most on this roster from the addition of LeBron and Bosh. There is no reason he shouldn't lead the league in three-point shooting and average about 6 assists and 5 rebounds to go with it. Miller always has been a shooter, but people don't give him enough credit for being a playmaker.

Q: Lebum is the only guy in the league that I hope gets an career ending injury...so I don't have to see the stupid faces that he makes..chalk in the air..I wish he would've taken his talents to Europe...enjoy the NBA's most hated player Miami! Come to think of it, the Heat are the Oakland Raiders of the NBA - Finally, Lebum said he's keeping track of all the negative stories and comments people have made - yeah right...he would have to get a computer with 1000 Gigabyte hard drive to store all the negative comments that fans, players, etc. have been saying. And whats he going to because of it? Stop choking in the playoffs - the opposite will happen - Lebum and his management dream team of morons/idiots will never get BIG advertising deals in the future because what BRAND wants to be endorsed by a VILLAIN...Lebum thought he could take 10 Million a year less with Miami and it wouldn't matter because of his endorsement deals...oops - I predict even NIKE drops him when they realize EVERYONE outside of Miami HATES LEBRON JAMES...I will be tossing my Nike B-ball in the trash and buying some Converse - anyone that pays Lebron James money ids getting boycotted by me...As a season ticket holder in LA - I have already given my tickets for Miami's game in LA away...I will not profit or support that BUM or his team...D.Wade and LeBum said the rest of the NBA should thank them for helping them sell tickets...EGO's are out of control - Sorry D.Wade no more T Mobile commercials for you either

Answered 08/19/10 13:54:52 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Charles Barkley, is that you?

Q: What's going on Mike, I've heard your interview on the "Armando & The Amigo Show" and I must admit it was lively to say the least. The guys said that LeBron James would be a "punk" if he did not confront Sir Charles Barkley and I agree to a certain extent. A fight with Barkley has suspension and fine from the NBA written all over it. I know it's the right thing to do if we were on the streets but we're not on the streets anymore Mike. Lebron James is a walking multi-million dollar superstar and Sir Charles Barkley is a Hall of Famer. I highly doubt, LeBron meant that he was going to fight every single person who said something negative about him or the Heat. I'm a true LeBron James fan and I support him no matter what decision he made. I believe that he was just letting his true fans know that he is hearing all of the critics and that he won't let us down during the season. Besides he's not the only one to take mental notes. Michael Jordan took mental notes back in his day, so much so, that the media use to think that he was making them up just to get himself pumped up for the game. I'm not comparing LeBron to Jordan, personally I have always thought of LeBron more Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan. I've always thought of Dwyane Wade as more Jordan-esque than LeBron. What I'm trying to say is would LeBron still be considered a "punk" if he called up Sir Charles Barkley and they talked over their differences. Instead of coming to blows as if they were back on the streets because I state again we're not on the streets Mike. And LeBron isn't trying to jeopardize playing next season let alone his career.

Answered 08/19/10 13:53:25 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Well said. But at this point, I don't think there's anything else LeBron needs to say - or tweet - that would get his point across better than going out and dominating dudes on the court. Barkley is paid to be controversial at this point. LeBron doesn't need to justify anything to Barkley. Just play ball, is all I'm saying.

Q: Do you see LeBron James playing the Magic Johnson role (point guard or point forward)on this team and averaging a triple double?

Answered 08/19/10 13:50:08 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I don't know about AVERAGING a triple double. But I think his numbers will be close enough. They've always been impressive. I think he has a chance to be far more efficient in all aspects of the game. But not even the great Magic Johnson ever averaged a triple double. That hasn't happened since Oscar Robertson did it some 40 seasons ago.

Q: Who do you believe will be the leader of this Miami Heat team? And do you believe it will take long for their chemistry to develop? I think it will be co-lead by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James with no problems. And I think Wade and James will be on the same page early on with the rest of the team to follow towards the middle of the season. Besides Wade is quoted saying that he's played with LeBron more than he's played with his own teammates.

Answered 08/19/10 13:48:03 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Wade will be the unquestioned leader of this team. LeBron might be the best all around player on the roster, but this is Wade's team. I've compared it before the to the Yankee dynamic with Jeter and A-Rod. The difference is that Wade is still in the prime of his career, whereas Joete is on the decline.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0x4o8iUyK

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