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19 posts from July 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another day, another trade scenario

The Indiana Pacers are trying to unload point guard Jamaal Tinsley, and apparently offered him to Miami for power forward Udonis Haslem. The Heat rejected the deal. According to a report in Wednesday's Indianapolis Star, the Heat is "reluctant to give up Haslem."

"We're talking to some teams, but it depends on if they are going to make the decision or not," Pacers presdient Larry Bird told the Star. "We'll see where it goes."

TinsleyThe Pacers want a power forward and since they don't see Tinsley in their future, would like to solve both issues in one trade. Here's the hitch: Tinsley very well could be released or bought out by the Pacers. With that in mind, the Heat is not going to give up Haslem for a player they see being available on the open market.

If the Heat took on Tinsley via trade, it would have his contract on the books through the 2010-11 season. Tinsley, 30, averaged 11.9 points and a career-high 8.4 assists per game last season. The 6-3 former Iowa State product, is entering his eighth season. As you may recall, Tinsley was shot at outside an Indianapolis hotel in December, but uninjured. The team equipment manger, however, was wounded. Police were called at 3:40 a.m., and the incident upset the Pacers. It was Tinsley's third off-the court incident in a 14-month span.

Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury, also is expected to be available this offseason, with his days in New York reportedly numbered under the new regime.

All of this means, the Heat does not need to rush into any deal right now for more point guard help.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ron Artest rumor

The report out of Sacramento mentioning Miami as a possible trade partner for Ron Artest doesn't make sense for the Heat. The trade suggested in the Sacramento Bee has the Heat sending Shawn Marion and his $17.8 million expiring contract to the Kings for Artest (who has an expiring contract) and Kenny Thomas (two years left on his deal).

Ronartest Miami has been interested in Artest before, but this rumor seems unfounded at this point. Miami would like to get a center and a point guard. This trade would fill none of those needs. Thomas, a power forward, is owed more than $18 million over the next two seasons. Now, if Sacramento were to make the trade Artest and center Brad Miller--though their salaries exceed Marion's--it would be more attractive. (Artest, a small forward, is owed about $7.4 million next season.)

Heat General manager Randy Pfund told reporters Monday the team is in "wait mode." Don't expect the Heat to be desperate to unload Marion now. That's not to say Miami wouldn't listen to offers, but the front office is likely to let free agency play out more because then it will become more clear which teams still have needs to fill--and have a strong interest in doing so via trade. Of course, the Heat has needs to fill--and limited salary cap space to do so--but a opening night lineup featuring Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley and Marion should be good enough to make the playoffs.

Even though it's nothing more than rumor now, would you trade Marion for Artest and Thomas?

Friday, July 11, 2008

School's Out

Final thoughts on the Heat from the Orlando Pro Summer League

Beasleynoah ... Michael Beasley, who averaged 19.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in five games, won't have any trouble scoring in the NBA. As a lefty, he's crafty enough to get to the basket, and skilled enough to finish - even against bigger, more athletic players.

Yes, New Jersey second-year forward Sean Williams gave Beasley fits. But Beasley also seemed reluctant to shoot, at times, when open in that game. And he almost forgot he had a post-up game, too. And one thing coaches and scouts pointed out frequently was that it'd be nice if Beasley was a bit more explosive. Or, at least showed it more. I saw him in warm-ups throwing down highlight dunks. But I can't remember one time when he dunked during a game this week.

... Mario Chalmers, barring a Heat trade for a veteran, will be the starting point guard by Christmas. He sees the floor. He can get into the lane whenever he wants and he attacks the rim - against anybody, regardless of size. Don't discount what he did this week against summer league competition Mariosummerl (15.8 ppg., 5.4 apg., 2.0 spg). He held his own against Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. Either one of those guys would start on majority of the league's teams.

Chalmers showed all the reasons why the Heat invested $4 million (the $2 million it paid to trade for him in the draft and the $2 million on his three-year contact) and two future draft picks to get him.

... Keith Askins took his assignment seriously. Coaching the summer league entry wasn't just a ho-hum mission for Askins, who is just a few weeks removed from knee surgery. He often emerged from the postgame locker room with more ice taped to his body than his players. But Askins has the ability to relate to the players. He has the vocabulary to command their attention and maintain their respect.

It's only natural for there to be some disappointment that he lost out to Erik Spoelstra for the head job. Spoelstra was rightfully in line and seen as Pat Riley's successor for the past few seasons. But it would be nice to see Askins get a shot somewhere down the line - or at least a promotion from the second row of the bench during the season. And it would have been just as good to see Bob McAdoo get his due years ago.

Quick hits on other notables from the summer roster

Kasib Powell - Picked up where he left off late last season as one of the few bright spots. Averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and shot 54 percent from the field. Last season's D-League MVP should have a role somewhere on this team - even if it requires wearing a suit most nights on the inactive list.

Stephane Lasme - His shot-blocking (tied for 3rd in summer league with 8) and athleticism are NBA-worthy. But his lack of size and outside shot make it difficult to find him a position. Still, the Heat sure could use his heart and hustle.

David Padgett - Had a real opportunity to impress at the team's biggest position of need. But never showed the shooting touch, ball skills and defensive grit many thought he had coming out of Louisville. He will need to have a monster offseason to make the most of that non-guaranteed contract he signed just last week. His minutes eventually went to former Hurricane Anthony King. Then, it appeared the Heat eventually phased out the center position all together by the end of the week.

Jason Richards - The NCAA's assist king last season was a bit over-matched against the crop of PGs he saw in Orlando. The Cinderella karma he experienced at Davidson wasn't quite there this week. Like Padgett, he still has plenty of work ahead to prove he's deserving of that non-guaranteed contract.

Anthony Morrow - The former Georgia Tech swingman might have been the biggest surprise on the roster among the lesser-known prospects. If nothing else, Morrow's stroke from distance this week (.550 from 3-pt. range) might have earned him a contract from one of the dozens of foreign scouts who seemed to be thoroughly impressed with his game.

Marco Killingsworth - Bruising forward's best position might be defensive end. He eventually became the center of choice by default by week's end. Killingsworth showed a nice post game when given steady playing time. But he probably won't stick around - unless Beasley needs a sparring partner in the paint.

Pat Calathes, Josh Duncan, Anthony King, Dion Dowell, Antonio Graves - Thanks for coming out. Nice hustle. Appreciate the effort. The checks are in the mail. Will be in touch.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Chalmers' Deal

The Heat agreed to a three-year deal with second-round pick Mario Chalmers Wednesday. Two years are guaranteed and his starting salary will be around $700,000, more than $250,000 above the league minimum salary. The deal says a lot about how high the Heat front office is on the former Kansas point guard and NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Remember, the Heat gave up two future second-round picks in the trade with Minnesota to get Chalmers, after he was drafted No. 34.

Mariochalmers_2 Chalmers has been impressive in Summer League, and clearly the Heat want to give him a shot to be a big part of its future. In his Summer League debut he outplayed No. 1 pick Derrick Rose (pictured left) in their head-to-head matchup and Tuesday also had a better performance. Chalmers will not be looked to as the savior at point guard, at least not right away (and Heat president Pat Riley has said as much). It's clear that the Heat brass feel like they got a great pickup and steal, as Chalmers had been projected in some mock drafts to be a lottery pick.

Although it's early, what are your impressions of Chalmers? Do you see him perhaps being the long-term answer at point guard?

Heating Up

What are the ramifications of the Heat's expected signing of free agent swingman James Jones? Things likely are just heating up for Miami. Heat president Pat Riley told reporters in Orlando Monday that the team would seek to fill its needs at center and point guard. As free agents could sign starting just after midnight Wednesday, the Heat still lacks depth at both positions.

The Heat has a plethora of perimeter players, suggesting the Heat is positioning itself to make a trade. The Heat has first-round draft pick power forward Michael Beasley, forwards Shawn Marion and Udonis Haslem under contract and Jones can play small forward. Then the Heat has forwards Stephane Lasme and Kasib Powell, NBA Development League holdovers from the end of the Heat season, under conditional contracts that essentially means Miami wanted them around at least through the summer. Don't forget Heat swingman Dorell Wright, a restricted free agent. The Heat tendered a $2.4 million qualifying offer last month, giving the team the right to match offers from other teams. If you count expected addition Jones that gives the Heat seven forwards. Shooting guard Daequan Cook could become expendable, but perhaps the Heat's most attractive potential trade chip is Marion, who has an expiring contract after electing not to opt out from $17.8 million from the Heat next season.

The Heat might have trouble finding a starting center via free agency, since it has so little salary cap space and the open market features few options that would be a significant improvement over Mark Blount. Memphis' Kwame Brown is on the Heat's radar, his agent Mark Bartelstein said. But Brown would be more of a stopgap player than solution. Relying on center Alonzo Mourning, after his major knee surgery, would not be wise. While he could be valuable as a reserve if he can come back healthy, he should not carry the burden of being the savior.

The most interesting issue is Marion's situation. On paper a roster with Marion, Dwyane Wade and Beasley with a supporting cast sounds better than one without Marion. Sure, the Heat needs to add depth at center and point guard, but teams seem far more formidable with three great players. Look no further than several winning teams last season: the Celtics (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett); the Hornets (Chris Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler); Orlando (Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis); and the Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol/Andrew Bynum [when he was healthy], Lamar Odom).

No matter what happens the Heat appears poised to rebound from last season's miserable 15-67, as long as the injuries don't mount like they did in 07-08).

Stay tuned. And in the meantime I'm emptying some tidibts from my notebook after a busy Tuesday, with space limited for the print story appearing in Wednesdays editions.

Agent Bob Myers, who represents Wright and Heat unrestricted free agent point guard Jason Williams said the following:

*Among the six outside teams interested in Wright are Denver, Philadelphia and San Antonio. Teams are "intrigued by his upside and his youth." Wright is 22.

*Wright has "appreciated the opportunity he's been given" by the Heat  and grateful for the organization's commitment. "He's happy here."

*As for whether other teams are likely to try to offer more than $2.4 million, "only a week's passed (since negotiations began for free agents) and it's still too early to really gauge where he is in the marketplace."   

*J-Will apparently is open to returning to the Heat if the offer is appealing (side note: does not seem like Williams will end up here at least from cap space standpoint and Heat's direction).

*The Heat told Williams' camp the team would "prioritize a couple players at the position, but if those efforts were unsuccessful they wouldn't rule out circling back to Jason."   

*Five or six teams expressed interest in Williams, but also indicated they would take a wait-and-see approach and consider other options. "He's valuable to a lot of teams," Myers said, while adding, "there's a decent buzz around him because he is viewed as a capable starter."

What are your thoughts on the Heat's direction so far?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What Beasley, Riley Must Do Now

Sights and sounds from Orlando in the aftermath of the Heat's 94-70 victory over the Bulls in the summer debuts of top pick Derrick Rose and second pick Michael Beasley.

Beasley was about as silly after the game as he was effective during it, closing with 28 points, 9 rebounds, two assists and one block in 23 minutes.

Yes, it was summer league. But don't discount the significance of his first NBA test. He dominated Beasleynoah Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah most of the night. And both are long and athletic frontline players who are regulars in the Bulls' regular-season rotation.

Beasley had three And-1s, and could have finished with as many as five if he hit a couple more free throws. But he was solid from the line, too, going 9 of 12 to offset a not-too-shabby 9 of 21 clip from the field. Still, Beasley was his own worst critic afterward, grading himself a "C" and suggesting he's simply trying to make the team.

Keith Askins, who is coaching the summer league squad, had plenty of good things to say about Beasley and second-round pick Marion Chalmers. But he also offered some constructive criticism, things Beasley will be asked to work on as the five-games-in-five-days-stretch continues Tuesday afternoon. He moves on from Thomas and Noah to face rookie lottery pick Brook Lopez, who was the top center in the draft.

"I'd like to see him finish stronger," Askins said. "He has a tendency to go in with the finger roll. I'd like to see him finish over the top (dunking). Once he starts playing, he'll see guys are bigger and they're quick and they jump in this league - play above the rim. He'll get there."


Heat president Pat Riley was fashionably late to Monday's game after flying in from Los Angeles. He arrived in just enough time to miss Beasley's slow start but catch every second of his strong finish.

We caught up with Riley at halftime, who is preoccupied these days with finding a few more pieces to place around Beasley and star guard Dwyane Wade through free agency and trades. And Riley was Riley, smoothly speaking in circles at times but offering some insight on the Heat's direction.

That's if you believe what he's saying.

With free agents clear to sign new deals first thing Wednesday, Riley suggested the Heat would make its first round of offers on the eve before the league's moratorium is lifted and the new salary cap and exceptions are announced.

The plan, Riley said, is to start building the Heat's bench, which, based on one translation, means that any offers the Heat makes might be to lower-key options at point guard and center.

"We'll go slowly," Riley said. "Little by little. Find players who fit. See what's out there."

Doolingheat If free agency is the route, there are at least names out there that remain intriguing to the Heat. At point guard: Keyon Dooling and Jannero Pargo. At center: Kwame Brown  and Kurt Thomas. Shooters/defenders: James Jones and Mickael Pietrus.

Riley spent almost the second half Monday sitting beside Magic coach and former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, who figures to be competing with the Heat, among others, to retain Dooling's services. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe not.

As it stands, Riley said career backup Marcus Banks would enter training camp as the Heat's starter, with Chalmers running second on the depth chart. The Heat has extended a minimum qualifying offer to third-year guard Chris Quinn, who finished the season playing the bulk of the PG minutes.

Riley then back-peddled  backpedaled some on his previous stance of being dead-set against making a major move or taking on any long-term deals before the summer of 2010, when Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire could become free agents.

"We've said that because that's when our guy (comes) up," Riley said, referring to Wade's opt-out clause. "But I don't care if its (2009) or (2010). We could make a move today, and say forget that."

But for such a move to take place, it would almost certainly have to involve parting with Shawn Marion and his $17.8 million expiring contract.

As far as the Heat's own free agents are concerned, Riley said he's had conversations with the agents for guard Jason Williams and swingman Ricky Davis, but that the two would be kept in a holding pattern for now until the Heat explores other options.

Heat restricted free agent forward Dorell Wright showed up in Orlando for Monday's games. He said he still hopes to remain with the Heat, which extended him a $2.4 million qualifying offer. But Wright, coming off season-ending knee surgery, also said he's aware of interest from some other teams.


Lasmesummer_2 These kind of games are tailor made for do-it-all journeymen such as Stephane Lasme. He was the most impressive Heat player on Monday not named Beasley or Chalmers. Lasme came off the bench and stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, five rebounds, four blocks, three steals and one assist.

One glaring void is at center, where David Padgett was the lone natural big man to play. With Marcus Campbell injured and Anthony King not yet acclimated to the Heat's system, there are few other options at center. That was one of the reasons Beasley spent significant time at center, with Lasme or Josh Duncan playing at power forward. Padgett had four points, four rebounds and five fouls in 14 minutes of action in his debut. He'll need to do far more.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Summer Heat-Wave Commences

A few tidbits to pass along as I clear out the notebook and tape recorder before heading up to Orlando for the Heat's summer league games this week.

Second overall draft pick Michael Beasley certainly talks the talk when it comes to playing through what has to be a more-painful-than-he's-letting-on chest fracture. He's expected to play this week, starting with today's highly anticipated matchup against top pick Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.

Beasleydraft In fact, Beasley insists only one thing would prevent him from taking the court this week for his first set of organized games since leading Kansas State to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

"You're going to have to kill me," said Beasley, always full of quick wit.

Beasley also said he'll approach games with the same fierce play in the NBA as he did while averaging 26.2 points and an NCAA-best 12.4 rebounds a game in his lone college season - regardless of where he lines up between the lines.

"My game is my game whether I'm a three (small forward) or a 17 (not sure exactly where that position fits in the offense)," Beasley said. "Put me on the court and I'll do anything."

What Heat coach Erik Spoelstra specifically wants Beasley to do is commit more to defense, where there are legitimate questions - just as there are with any college player adjusting to the NBA.

"I really challenged him defensively to get out there and play hard, to show his teammates he's playing hard, to be in tune with our concepts and defensive system," said Spoelstra, who will be in evaluation mode while assistant Keith Askins coaches the summer league entry. "I think its important he gets an understanding of what our system is."

Beasley also took the time to playfully respond to Dwyane Wade's accusation that he called Beasley but that the prized rookie "big-manned me" and didn't return Wade's message.

"He's not in my (Fave) Five, man," Beasley said, poking fun at Wade's T-Mobile cell phone commercials. "If we can get him in the Five, then - until then, you have to wait until after 9 (p.m.)."


The Heat trimmed its roster of rookies, young veterans and free agents before arriving in Orlando last night. Those cut were forward Alejandro Flores, guard Jonny Reibel and center Anthony Washington. It proved to be a bad week for Washington, the 6-10 center from Portland State. It was Washington who Spoelstra said may have been the player who elbowed Beasley in the chest on the first day of camp.

The team will also be without second-year guard Daequan Cook, a first-round pick last season. Cook Rileycook_2 separated his left shoulder in Thursday's practice and is expected to be sidelined another three weeks.

"I was really looking forward to summer league, starting things out right," said Cook, who sustained the injury while trying to fight around a pick while defending. "You can blame it on a big (man) for not calling out a pick."

Center Marcus Campbell, a 7-footer who played in the NBADL last season, sustained a quad injury on the first day of camp. He said he will travel to Orlando but won't play.


Aside from notables such as draft picks Beasley and Mario Chalmers and roster holders Stephane Lasme and Kasib Powell, here are a handful of players to keep your eye on from the Heat's summer squad.

Jason Richards: The point guard out of Davidson was one of the most productive players in the nation last season. Richards led the nation in assists as the set-up man for sharpshooter Stephen Curry on a Davidson team that pushed Chalmers and Kansas to the brink of elimination in the Regional Final. He's also a solid three-point shooter and might be next in line in the Heat's development system should restricted free agent Chris Quinn end up elsewhere.

Pat Calathes: The 6-10 small forward has the size and stroke required to get his lethal shot off at this level. And with Cook out this week, Calathes could get an opportunity to shine. After struggling some in the first days of camp, Calathes picked up his play over the final two days of practice, Spoelstra said. Defense might be an issue for Calathes. But his versatility allowed him to lead St. Joseph's in points, rebounds, blocks, three-point shooting and free-throw percentage last season.

David_padgett David Padgett: Injuries have been an issue for Padgett during his college  career. But he's a perfect system player at center and might be the best passer on the summer team outside of the point guard position. He already has an NBA body at 6-11 and 250 pounds. The Heat is thin at center, with Shaq gone, Zo coming off a knee injury and Mark Blount lacking consistent inside grit. Padgett is perfect for the Heat's pick-and-pop game. He's a younger and more explosive version of Michael Doleac, but with more ball skills.

Marco Killingsworth: I covered the SEC when Killingsworth played at Auburn on the same NCAA Tournament team with Pacers shooting guard Marquis Daniels. Killingsworth is undersized - in height only - but is purely a beast in the post when motivated. He has an Anthony Mason-type frame and game (but not Mason's handle). The Heat doesn't need another smallish power forward on the roster. But Killingsworth has value, if only for being a sparring partner who will bang and push Beasley until training camp opens. 

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Point of Guarded Patience

Another day has passed and another potential point guard target apparently has come off the board for the Miami Heat.

This time it was serviceable ex-Bull Chris Duhon, who reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the New York Knicks. The same kind of deal the Heat is dead set on offering. Which leaves in question just how much interest Miami ever really had in Duhon.

Duhon's deal came a day after another stopgap option, Tyronn Lue, removed the Heat from the list of teams he's considering, which is now down to Phoenix, Dallas and Boston.

Lue's comments came a day after Sacramento's restricted free agent Beno Udrih pledged to re-sign with the Kings, which came a day after similarly restricted Jose Calderon said he's sticking with the Raptors.

All of this window-shopping - only to watch other patrons swoop in and scoop up point guards as if they were on a clearance rack - could only mean one thing for the Heat: Team president Pat Riley and general manager Randy Pfund must be up to something big. I mean huge.

That's as in trade. Or sign-and-trade. Only that could explain why the Heat has bypassed - or has allowed itself to be bypassed by - several economical point guard options when everyone in the NBA knows it is the team's biggest position need.

Anthony_johnson Sure, there are still some uncommitted free agent prospects out there who would fit the Heat's requirement to come cheap and on a short-term basis. By now, you know those names. Keyon Dooling, Carlos Arroyo, Anthony Johnson, Flip Murray, Sebastian Telfair and the like.

No offense to anyone in that group. But who among them would provide significantly more to the Heat than the current options on the roster? Has either Dooling or Arroyo proved to be anymore productive than Banks might be if given similar playing time?

Would the Heat be any better off with Telfair than it would by investing those minutes into the development of promising second-round pick Mario Chalmers, who just might be Rajon Rondo but with a far more effective jumper?

Johnson and Murray might make sense for the Heat because both are veterans who can penetrate and pass but aren't necessarily consistent shooters. Can't blame the Heat for not jumping out of the gate to sign prospects who probably would still be available when NFL training camps are in full swing.

Which brings me back to my point: Don't confuse this inactivity from the Heat for, well, inactivity.

Riley, Randy and crew just might be biding their time. Maybe Stephon Marbury shakes free from New Jamaal_tinsley York by way of a buyout. That might also be the case for Jamaal Tinsley, who also has worn out his welcome in Indiana. Considering the sizable parting pouch they might land, it's possible both would come even cheaper on the open market than a reduced mid-level rate. Plus, they'd command little more than a one-year commitment. 

It's not as if Riley hasn't partaken in similar reclamation projects at the point. Remember Jason Williams? How about Gary Payton? Tim Hardaway ring a bell? If not, might Rod Strickland?

I'm not saying that's Riley's route this time. I'm just saying it might not totally be out of the question. Or totally out of left field. Miami was willing to go there with Steve Francis last year before he chose Houston. And Jalen Rose before that.

Kirk_hinrich My guess is that Riley, Randy and crew have something bigger up their sleeves. That they're waiting on what might happen with Kirk Hinrich in Chicago or Kyle Lowry in Memphis or Andre Miller in Philly or even Monta Ellis in Oakland. As long as Shawn Marion's expiring $17.8 million contract is in play like the last Ace you'd have in the old War card game, there's still the possibility of a major Heat move and makeover.

If Riley and Randy are in midseason form at anything right now, it's misdirection and smoke-screening. A week ago, they had the NBA world thinking Dwyane Wade might be traded and Beasley might be bypassed. We saw just how that all worked out.

So don't mistake this lack of free agent movement from the Heat for inaction by the Heat. The guess here is that it very well might prove to be the very opposite.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bad Day For Beasley

Rough start for Heat rookie forward Michael Beasley.

Not only did he catch an elbow to the chest on Wednesday that knocked him out of his first practice with Miami's summer league team, he also took a sort of playful shot from teammate Dwyane Wade.

Wade, who worked his camp for kids at FIU on Wednesday, spoke to reporters in Miami for the first time since he returned from Team USA's mini-camp last weekend in Las Vegas and its New York photo shoot earlier this week. Among his topics were Beasley's addition and the Heat's plan in free agency.

Wade said he's attempted to contact Beasley to welcome the former Kansas State stud to the team and league. Beasley's response, according to Wade? Silence.

"He big-manned me. He didn't call me back," Wade said. "I know it's very hectic for him right now. His voice mail is very full. I told him I hope to talk to him this week, hopefully, while I'm in town. I know how busy it is for him. Everyone's calling and wanting to talk to him. He's got a lot going on. But he kind of big-manned me a little bit."

Wade then reminded everyone he also had a hard time connecting with Shaquille O'Neal when O'Neal arrived in a trade from Los Angeles in the summer of 2004. Wade was with the U.S. team at the Athens Olympics then.

"The power of texting and cell phones nowadays is good," Wade said. "I was out of the country when Shaq came as well. You see our relationship was good. But we have a long season (ahead). We have training camp in Paris and London. We'll have plenty of time to get to know each other."

On the free-agency front, Wade said he's given his own "wish list" to Heat president Pat Riley, but did not divulge any names.

"He's the only one who needs to know it," Wade said. "He's making the decisions. We have to be smart. We want to make our team a lot better. But we can't go out and be crazy."

One of the Heat's biggest needs is at point guard. But the list of free agents is already dwindling just two days into the negotiating period.

Baron Davis, who was never really in contention for the Heat, has agreed to a deal with the Clippers.

Beno Udrih, who was on the Heat's radar, has agreed to re-sign with the Kings.

Jose Calderon, who was never a realistic option, said he would re-sign with Toronto.

That leaves Keyon Dooling, Chris Duhon, Carlos Arroyo, Anthony Johnson and Tyronn Lue among the mid-level-or-less crop who might fit the Heat's criteria.

All are serviceable. None are absolute solutions for anything beyond the one or two seasons it might take Heat second-round draft pick Mario Chalmers to potentially snatch and hold a starting role.

The plan is simply to surround Wade with enough building blocks and encouragement to get him to strongly consider staying put when he can opt out of his contract in the summer of 2010.

Last week, Riley said he wasn't sure what Wade would do. But he said the Heat needed to be in position to offer not only Wade an max contract, but to have another available to entice a Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony when they hit free agency.

Wade took the 2010 talk in stride.

"No one knows what's going to happen in 2010," Wade said. "I'm not thinking about it. I'm not worried about it. Me and coach Riley have talked a lot and 2010 has never been a conversation about what I'm going to do. Only time 2010 comes up is when he says we can't do too much this summer because we have to make sure we're right and set up for 2010. And we want to be big players in 2010."



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