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24 posts from June 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Heat lands Rose ... for the weekend

A day after hearing word out of Derrick Rose's camp that there was little interest in visiting Miami, the Heat will get its look at its preferred target in Thursday's NBA draft. But a face-to-face session in Los Angeles this weekend - Not Miami - might do little to change Rose's view of the draft.

Rose, a remarkable point guard prospect who led the University of Memphis to the National title game, wants to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls, who own the No. 1 pick in the draft. He made that very clear following his two-day workout in Chicago a couple of days ago.

He compared the possibility of being picked first overall by Chicago to the 2003 draft when Cleveland picked Ohio native LeBron James. Rose went as far as to say he would "hate it" if the Bulls bypassed him for Kansas State forward Michael Beasley.

Somehow, that "hate" term was unfairly taken out of context in some circles to mean that he would "hate it" if the Heat drafted him. It was nothing personal. Rose has every right to want to rep his crib. It's no different than the undying love Udonis Haslem has for the 305. And don't think for one second that Wade wouldn't have done all he could to sway the Bulls to draft him if they were in position in '03.

But to suggest Rose's feelings on the matter have little impact on the overall process might be a bit of an overstatement. We can't have it both ways. If Beasley came out this week after his visit to Miami and said he doesn't want to get drafted by the Heat, it would be major news and possibly throw a major monkey wrench into the draft and its aftermath.

It happened in baseball in 1997 when J.D. Drew refused to sign with the Phillies after he was drafted with the second overall pick.

It happened in basketball in 1999, when Steven Francis dropped his head and cried on draft night when he was taken by the Grizzlies with the second pick. He later forced his trade to the Houston Rockets.

And I actually covered Eli Manning in college and vividly recall how the Manning family told the Chargers in 2004 not to draft him. They did anyway and quickly shipped him to New York. The rest is history.

But for some reason, we're quick to dismiss Rose's comments the other way as meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I can't fault Rose for speaking his mind and stating his preference. However, if his camp would have followed through with plans to hold off on visiting with the Heat, it would have been a bit over the top and perceived as a spoiled act.

But the Heat will get its look at Rose for the sake of pre-draft etiquette, only because it holds the second pick. And if the Bulls somehow foolishly pass over this kid, all that was said this past week by the Rose camp would be quickly forgotten when he falls to the Heat.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose...to the Bulls?

Cusa_southern_miss_memphis_Memphis point guard Derrick Rose finished his workout Thursday with the Bulls and all signs point toward the hometown kid being taken by Chicago No. 1. It's no secret that Rose had been projected to be taken first but now there seems to be a stronger indication that it could happen in a week.

Rose said he DID NOT expect to work out for the Heat, which holds the No. 2 pick.

"I don't think so," Rose told reporters in Chicago. "All I know is that I'm here."

Rose's brother and confidant Reggie took it a step further insisting: "This is our last stop."

Rose claimed he had no issue with the Heat but said if didn't workout in Miami "too bad."

Other tidbits from Rose according to reports out of Chicago:

*He would be "hurt a little bit" if the Bulls don't draft him.

*He also characterized himself as an "unselfish guard that's willing to do anything to win."

*He thought LeBron James, an Akron, Ohio, native, was "the luckiest guy in the world" to be drafted first overall by the Cavaliers in 2003. "Now I get that chance. I hope the Bulls pick me."

Another thing worth noting: Rose's agent is former Bulls point guard B.J. Armstrong.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beasley's visit (with poll) & a local Celtics celebration (UPDATED)

Nba_predraft_camp_basketbalMichael Beasley is in Miami Wednesday and Thursday for his workout/interview with the Heat. He put on quite a show with the media Tuesday in Chicago, lightheartedly answering questions about his character.

Here's a webisode of Beasley that just came out, and he is on the cover of the newest ESPN The Magazine issue with this article.

Beasley is a prankster and a lot has been written a lot about his immaturity during the lead-up to the June 26 draft. The power forward is projected to be a great pro, but what do you make of everything written about his personality and character? Word is that Heat officials are leery of Beasley's work ethic and character.

One scout recently said of Beasley, according to ESPN The Magazine, "If you look into his eyes, you'll see Looney Toons playing inside his head."

For any local Celtics fans looking to celebrate the Celtics 17th championship, Arbetter Hot Dogs in Miami is serving FREE Boston baked beans until closing (9 p.m.) Wednesday. Boston captured its Arbettersign first NBA title in 22 years last night. If you're looking to celebrate, there will be bagpipe player a DJ is scheduled for about 4 p.m.

Location: 8747 SW 40th St

Arbetter's, a family-run business, tries to unite local Boston fans each time its teams win a title. The Arbetter's are huge Celtics fans (and Heat fans), so today is one of celebration. But Dave Arbetter said Wednesday it's also one of remembrance for his late brother Ronnie, who was a Celtics aficionado. Ronnie, 52, died Feb. 28 of pancreatic cancer but felt great joy when the Celtics acquired guard Ray Allen and forward Kevin Garnett last offseason.

Each time the Red Sox or Celtics win a title, the Arbetter's give away free baked beans.

"This is a special one," Dave said.

Dave said this Celtics championship is particularly gratifying because of the way Allen, Garnett and 10-year veteran Paul Pierce celebrated. Garnett and Pierce cried postgame and the Celtics were overcome with emotion.

"I almost had tears in my eyes," Dave said. "When I saw real, true response from these guys and how much it mattered to them--it had nothing to do with money--it made me feel like the old days. They just wanted to win so bad."

Monday, June 16, 2008

The next Bobby Jones?

The Heat is trying to find hidden gems, emphasis on hidden, continuing workouts with free agents Monday. Guard Doron Perkins, forward Quinton Hosley and center Marcus Campbell, who played in Belgium, Turkey and Italy respectively last season, as well as  forward Justin Reed--who most recently played for the Bakersfield (Calif.) Jam of the NBA Development League. Since 2004-05 Reed played 136 games for the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Because of injuries the Heat had several lesser known players on temporary contracts. Right now, the Heat is looking at these guys to determine whether any of them deserve an invite to the summer league team. 

With the draft upcoming it's unlikely the Heat would invest anything in these free agents. Also, the Heat will be able to find cheap talent in free agency this summer. Even swingman Bobby Jones, who was on a 10-day contract and had led the team with 15 points, did not wind up with his contract renewed. Hours after leading the Heat offensively, he did not get an extension.

What do you make of the Heat bringing in some of these guys for workouts? Who are lesser known free agents, playing abroad or in other pro leagues, you would like to see the Heat pursue?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Heat hires new assistant coach

David_fizdale_3The Heat announced Friday the hiring of assistant coach David Fizdale, who began his career as an intern in the Heat's video room in 1997-98 and most recently worked as an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks.

Fizdale's responsibilities will include player development, scouting and game preparation.

"He has proven to be a great teacher and has helped develop a number of young players in his 10 years of coaching on the professional and collegiate level," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, 37, said. "Additionally, his belief and familiarity with our culture is an added bonus."

Fizdale, 33, helped develop Atlanta's young players such as Josh Howard, Marvin Williams and former Gator Al Horford. Prior to Atlanta he worked for the Golden State Warriors, Fresno State and his alma mater University of San Diego. He was a three-year starting point-guard at USD. Interestingly, Spoelstra was a college point guard and one of his main jobs with the Heat the past few year was player development.

Fizdale's hiring comes on the same day that the Hawks announced it had signed head coach Mike Woodson to a contract extension.

His hiring further validates that the Heat likes people who have knowledge of how the organization operates, just as the Heat mentioned that as a reason it promoted Spoelstra to succeed Pat Riley. Fizdale figures to help add balance to the Heat staff that includes older assistants Ron Rothstein, 65, and Bob McAdoo, 56, and Keith Askins, 40. Fizdale should be able to relate to the younger players.

NBA Finals Game 4 observations

*This NBA Finals has produced thrilling games, but not a close series as the Celtics took a 3-1 lead Celtics_2 Thursday night in the best-of-7 series. Building a team for a championship run, a la Heat in 2006 and the current Celtics team is proving to be a model that pays off (I guess it's easy to say that though after the Celtics came back from 24 points down in Game 4). The Lakers, however, should be title contenders the next few years with a young nucleus and presumably a healthy Andrew Bynum. If given a choice, would you like to the see Heat accelerate the rebuilding process and build for now even if meant sacrificing the future, or take the patient approach that could pay off more for the long run?

Jamesposey_2 *Why did the Heat let James Posey get away last offseason? The team could sure use a player of his caliber on the bench for next season. He was valuable in the Heat's 2006 title run and helped propel the Celtics in their improbable second half comeback in Game 4. He scored 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting in 25 minutes and played solid defense, though those contributions did not show up for him in the box score. He fell out of favor with Pat Riley, but the Celtics certainly feel like they made a great pickup. In January when the Celtics played in Miami, Boston coach Doc Rivers said: "Tell Micky, 'Thank You,''' referring to the Heat's owner. Posey signed a two-year deal last summer for $7 million with a player option to opt out after this season. In hindsight, do you think the Heat should have re-signed him? If he opts out would you want to see him in a Heat uniform again? (Riley may not love the guy but perhaps new coach Erik Spoelstra has a better relationship with him).

Kobe *Quote of the game brought to you by MVP Kobe Bryant: "Whine about it tonight, a lot of wine, a lot of beer, a couple of shots--maybe like 20 of them. Digest it. Get back to work tomorrow." (on how to bounce back from such a deflating loss)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Heat draft update, Beasley, and Wade (with poll)

Patriley Heat draft: With president Pat Riley and team officials on the West Coast looking at prospects including Brook Lopez, D.J. Augustin, Anthony Randolph etc., no more workouts are expected to be held in Miami until next week. The Heat brass are scheduled to be out of town the rest of the week. The workouts for Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley are expected to be held in Miami next week.

Frankmartin Martin speaks out about Beasley criticism: Kansas State coach Frank Martin defended power forward Beasley, a projected top-two draft pick, saying recent stories written about him unfairly portray the 19-year-old.

“It’s frustrating when people put out the words ‘character issues,’ and yet they don’t validate it with any facts,” Martin told the Lincoln (Neb.) Star, while in town for a meet-and-greet with K-State alums.

“All I know is this: If you speak to anybody — and I mean anybody — that he has had any kind of relationship with, be it teacher or coach or teammate, you’ll never find anyone say a negative word about him.”

In recent weeks, written reports have discussed Beasley's immaturity as much as his talent. Martin gushed about Beasley's personality.

“He’s unbelievable,” Martin told the Star. “He’s got as embracing a personality as anybody — not just a player — anybody I’ve ever been around.

“And in 23 years, he is the best teammate I’ve ever been around.”

Wadeheadshot_2 More on Wade and Olympics: The lack of Team USA tryouts could actually play into Wade's favor for making the team. By eliminating the formal tryouts officials can just say we want Wade, end of story. They would do this either knowing Wade is almost back into playing shape now or would be by the time the team begins preparing for Beijing later this month. If you haven't voted in the latest poll on whether Wade should make the Olympic team please do so.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Team USA Won't Hold Beijing Tryouts/Officials Headed to Chicago to watch Wade

Team USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said Tuesday that the team will not hold tryouts and have the 12-player roster set before the team begins workouts June 28 in Las Vegas. Heat Dwyane Wade is not off the hook though because Colangelo will travel to Chicago to get a "real read" on the guard's health.

Colangelo said an announcement on the roster probably would come after the NBA Finals end.

"The staff really is more interested in getting down so that they can get to work in terms of preparation," he told the Associated Press.

Heat_wade_workouts_basketba_3 When Wade spoke yesterday after a Pompano Beach charity appearance, he talked about being past "rehab" but feeling comfortable that he would have 2 1/2-3 weeks to get his timing back and work on getting back into game shape. He planned to have New Orleans Hornets point guard and MVP runner-up Chris Paul fly to Chicago, where Wade is working with renowned trainer Tim Grover. Well now Wade and Paul will be evaluated by Team USA officials.

The change in how the team will be assembled raises many questions. Is Wade ready? Would team officials be willing to give him a spot now even if he's not 100 percent? Without a tryout, is Wade more deserving of a spot than say Paul or Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams?

There are 30 players in the American national program, but Colangelo said he and coach Mike Krzyzewski are down to about their top 14. Based on what Colangelo said Wade is not a lock for a spot.

(FYI: In the most recent blog poll, about 70 percent said the Heat should draft Beasley because he fits a need and Shawn Marion's situation, while nearly 30 percent said not to factor in Marion draft night. Nearly 700 people cast votes--a new record for this blog).

Now it's time to weigh on Wade's Team USA situation. Please vote and leave your thoughts below.

Monday, June 09, 2008

D-Wade Talks Beijing, NBA Finals, His Changing Perspective

Heat_wade_basketaball_aaa10_2 Dwyane Wade's charity tour continued Monday in South Florida--for a second straight day--and after addressing about 1,500 Pompano Beach residents he discussed everything from his status for the Beijing Olympics to the NBA Finals and how his perspective has changed as his stature has grown on and off the court.

He helped award a $25,000 check to Mitchell/Moore Park as part of Staples' Dream Park Challenge, and here's what he said afterward...

  • On whether he'll be 100 percent by Team USA training camp and Heat training camp: "Yeah, no question. If I'm going to Olympics and I'm not 100 percent, I'm not going to play. (Renowned Trainer) Tim Grover's not going to let me play (if I'm not 100 percent). But I'm not worried about...I still have two and half three weeks to continue to get my timing back on the court. I have a lot of days and hours in the gym (left) doing that."
  • He sees similarities in the Lakers-Celtics series to 2006 when the Heat won the title after losing the first two games: "What we did in the championship has to be respected. When you're down 0-2 in any series it's tough to come back. When you're down 0-2 in the Finals it's even tougher. For us to come back and win four straight games it has to be respected. I was looking at the Lakers game last night and I was laughing inside because a lot of it was familiar. You see the frustration on the Lakers' faces and a lot of people are going to write them off today but that Game 3 in LA is going to be exciting for them."
  • Wade claimed he doesn't have a rooting interest but he did say of the Lakers: "They're going to get back on their feet, and the whole series changes. It's unpredictable, especially when you got No. 24 (Kobe Bryant) on the other end of that basketball, you really can't say what happens. It's going to turn out to be a great Finals."
  • He revealed that he sometimes just stops at local parks for fun and enjoys the reaction he gets from kids and families.  "I wish I could do it more. I do things like that just for it to be a moment that everyone's going to remember. I remember it. If I see a family out, I raise my window down just because I enjoy seeing the excitement, the smiles.
  • The typical reaction:  "I'm recognized right away. Sometimes you get the wow effect, sometimes you get, 'I can beat you.'"
  • His response about whether it gets frustrating that he can't just snap his fingers to make things happen in the community, also perhaps could be applied to his situation with the Heat: "We would love to say I'm doing this everybody jump on board. It's not that simple. You have to have the right people in place to help you get where you want to get to."

Sunday, June 08, 2008

3 Options, 2 Strong Opinions, 1 Pick

Move over Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose. Ovinton J'Anthony Mayo has requested a table for three.

Judging by Heat president Pat Riley's resent itinerary and guard Dwyane Wade's Sunday semi-endorsement, there is growing evidence and confirmation now that this is at least a three horse race for Miami's No. 2 pick in the June 26 NBA Draft.

Ojdunking The first stop on Riley's tour of draft workouts was in Chicago to visit Mayo this weekend before heading West. Wade has long suggested that the Heat's biggest need was for a playmaking guard he could partner with in the backcourt to return the team to a contending level. For months, Wade's preference in the draft was for University of Memphis point guard Derrick Rose. And it still might be.

But Wade is at least bracing for the reality that Rose is likely headed to Chicago as the No. 1 pick. Still, this very well could be a two-horse race. Only the participants have changed. Now, the Rose-Beasley debate might quickly become the Beasley-Mayo decision.

Mayo and Wade have established a bond while working out together in Chicago with trainer Tim Grover. Two weeks ago, Mayo said he "was like a little reporter" following Wade around everywhere and asking questions.

On Sunday, Wade said he's been just as impressed with Mayo's humility as he has with the skill set of the Southern Cal guard.

"I've got an opportunity to see O.J. and go to lunch and dinner with him, because that's what we do in Chicago, because we're like family," Wade said. "He's a good kid. He's shocked me. He's been getting hype since the 6th grade. So I'm thinking he's going to have the big head and have a big posse with him. But he doesn't roll like that. And I like to see that."

Waderiley Wade said he's already talked with Riley about the draft, but stopped short of suggesting that he's officially endorsing Mayo over Beasley if Rose is not in play. But Wade did say of Mayo, "I have gotten an opportunity to know him, and that's a perk."

But the point in all of this might very well hinge on The Point, as in point guard. It's obvious Mayo can score. It's just as obvious he's a solid defender. It's a no-brainer he can sell tickets. And it's without question that he's rubbing off well on Wade, who must be kept happy as he approaches the opt-out date in his contract after two more seasons.

But the question is whether Mayo can run an NBA team as a pass-first playmaker? And if so, is he still Rosepredraft worth passing over or parting with the one player in this draft everyone believes could post a double-double by halftime of his first NBA game? Passing on Beasley won't be an easy decision.

"You have to look at your team, what you really need," Wade said of the Heat, which also desperately could use a low-post scorer and dominant rebounder. "I think the reason (Mayo has) crept up in it is he's a combination of a lot of different things, and he can help your program right away. So, I think it's a three-man race. And you're talking about Rose, Beasley and O.J."

What Wade wants and what the Heat needs might be two different things if Rose is off the board.

Ojbeasley But at least one thing is certain, if you ask Wade. The Heat has improved from a "win-win" situation, to a potential "win-win-win" scenario.

"Of course, the Bulls have the No. 1 pick," Wade said. "But we can't go wrong."


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