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20 posts from July 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heat Roster Reality (TV)

Fourteen down. One to go. Why not do a reality show? Big 3 Hype

Is there any other way this offseason for the Miami Heat can grow any more outstanding - or outlandish? With 14 guaranteed contracts on the books, one short of the limit NBA teams can carry into the season, wouldn't it be cool in this reality TV-crazed society if the Heat hosted the ultimate show for its final roster spot?

I can't even take credit for the idea. It came from one of the hundreds of emails and questions that have found the email in-box in recent weeks. I laughed it off immediately.

And then, I thought. Hmm. It's not as if the Heat can do anything to further tick off anyone outside of Miami at this point. That limit has been reached. And it's not as if LeBron, Bosh and D-Wade would object to the idea. They'd embrace sitting at the table and scouting the talent in Simon, Randy and Paula fashion.

And there's only one man walking around these days who's trumped The Donald when it comes to Big Boss Man swagger this offseason: Patrick J. Riley.

And it isn't as if the TV cameras haven't been already following Bosh, LeBron and Dwyane around all summer anyway - with speculation of some end-all, be-all documentary ultimately taking shape.

T-MacStack The Heat has done big and bold things all summer, from bringing together the top three free agents on the market, to rolling them out like rock stars in that hyped-up press conference to dismissing its sales department after season tickets were sold out.

 So why not end the summer with a bang. Go HBO Hard Knocks style?

 Set up a week-long minicamp. Invite Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson, Jerry Stackhouse, Penny Hardaway, Rubin Patterson, Larry Hughes, Darius Miles, Earl Barron, Mikki Moore, Kwame Brown, some second-round draft picks and whoever else is out there to Miami.

It's not as if South Beach can't make room for one more ex-star-studded reality show?

Let's get these former All-Stars, comeback-minded veterans and well-beyond-their prime ballers in one gym and put them on the court with Pat Beverley, Kenny Hasbrouck, DeSean Butler, Jarvis Varnado and Garret Siler (members of the Heat's summer league team).

The last man standing gets a guaranteed contract.

Hold the workouts at AmericanAirlines Arena and open it up to the public free of charge. Donate Big 3 Stage concession sales to the Summer Groove charities. Donate a portion of the TV rights to Haiti relief.

Is there a better way to decide the 15th and final spot on the Heat's roster? Is there a more fitting way to  end the offseason for Miami and prepare for the circus that training camp is going to be from a media standpoint?

Don't think so.

Considering how this season might play out for the Heat, just ask yourself this: Would you rather be the sixth man with the Sacramento Kings or the 15th man on Miami's roster?

Thought so.

Now get ESPN, HBO, Showtime or BET on the line.

Of course, it will never happen. But how crazy would that be?

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

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eddie's Back in the (Heat) House

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

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

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

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

Most Recently Answered Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another Hindsight Hack Job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wishing Haslem Peace in Mourning (Updated)

For those of you who pray, please send one out for Heat forward Udonis Haslem and his family. Haslem

For those of you who don't pray, now might be as good a time as ever to start.

Haslem, the Heat's heart and soul anchor, is in mourning after losing his mother, Debra, this morning to a lengthy battle with cancer. Haslem has played the past two seasons with the burden of coping with his mother's illness and the small victories and setbacks that came along with it.

Haslem on Monday issued a statement in response to his mother's passing. He also thanked many of you for the support.

"I am deeply saddened by the death of my mother, Debra, who passed away after a long battle with cancer," Haslem said Monday. "My family and I are grateful for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time."

It was clear where Haslem gained his strength, toughness and stubbornness from. All you had to do was ask him how his mother was doing. Even though they had some rough times during his upbringing, Haslem was devoted and loyal to his mother.

He first disclosed her diagnosis two seasons ago during the 2007-08 season - a time when the Heat was dealing with the devastation of what would turn into a 15-win season. Haslem was always able to keep everything in perspective, despite everything that went wrong on the court.

He would often leave practices and games the past two years and head directly to the hospital, or wherever his mother's bedside was at that particular time. She would tell him to stop worrying, that she would be fine. Hard-headed Udonis would never listen.

His disobedience and devotion to help his mother get through the highs and lows was a thing of painful beauty. I lost my Grandmother, who played a large role in raising me in Washington D.C., right around the same time Haslem was learning to cope with his mother's battle.

At last check late last season, Haslem had said his mother was looking into seeking alternative forms of HaslemParty treatment after another setback. She fought a strong, proud, dignified fight from every indication. She got to see  how much the Heat thought of her son when they threw a surprise birthday party for him last month going into free agency. Debra even got to see her son re-commit to the Heat in free agency, and was at peace with his decision to remain in his hometown to care for his family and close friends.

On Monday, Heat president Pat Riley also issued a statement through the team. "The Miami Heat send our heartfelt condolences and sypathies to Udonis Haslem and his family," Riley said. "We were saddened to hear that his mother, Debra, has passed. Udonis is the heart and soul of this team, and we join him in mourning his loss."

Haslem, 30, has seen so much pain and loss in his young adult life that he almost carries a numbness in his demeanor. He's tried to ignore pain on and off the court. That's what makes him, well, him, to a great degree. But there's no hiding this. There's only persevering through it - again, unfortunately. One of Haslem's older brothers, Samual Wooten, lost a battle with cancer at age 36 in 1999.

UD is tough, hard-nosed and a bit rough around the edges. But he's really one of the good guys underneath that gruff exterior. He's one of the few guys in that locker room who opens himself up through all of this to expose the person beyond the player.

So again, if you pray, don't forget to include Haslem and his family in one of them today.

And if you don't, just offer UD peace and blessings in his journey as he deals with his loss.

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

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Your Questions? Our Answers

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

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

Most Recently Answered Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: There's always Yakhouba Diawara.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Targets & Self-inflicted Wounds

At the end of the day, Dwyane Wade should never have gone there. Wade-Groove

His intentions were good. His point was harmless. His delivery was awful. That about sums up this never-should-have-happened "World Trade Center" episode Wade found himself caught up in the past two days.

You know the story by now. With Twitter, Online updates, instantaneous blogs and other forms of social media at your fingertips, there was no missing this ordeal.

And that alone should have forced Wade to reconsider his words - or at least choose them more wisely - before trying to somehow connect the media coverage that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center to what could be in store should the Heat lose two or three games in a row.

Wade apologized for making that leap, taking that dive into no-man's land on Monday. The fact that Wade issued a statement apologizing for his verbal misstep probably brought more attention to the original quote than had he not issued a statement Monday to begin with. But he tried to make things right, felt something needed to be said amid the potential backlash. And he said it.

On Monday, Wade made clear that he was "trying to say that losing a few basketball games should not be compared to a real catastrophe."

The problem with all of this lies in the fact that the Heat has been a target for so much criticism and ridicule since pulling off the greatest free agency coup in NBA history, that it's created a far greater sense of self-importance than necessary for everyone involved.

If you feel "hated on" enough, you generally try to respond by lashing back. Barkley has taken shots at the Heat. Michael Jordan and Otis Smith did, too. League officials in Chicago, executives in New York, pundits in Los Angeles and an owner in Dallas all have had something controversial to say about the Heat.

I spent a week in Vegas covering the summer league. A few days in, I stopped counting how many blank stares, sarcastic scoffs and seemingly jealous remarks I heard after approaching former players, current players, coaches and team executives about Heat-related topics.

That said, Dwyane should have known better. For that matter, LeBron, too. Using his Twitter account the LeBron-Heat other night, James posted what appeared to be some rap lyrics that drew comparisons to someone being a target in the same fashion JFK was when he was assassinated.

There's no need for that nonsense. These dudes have to be smarter than this. There are going to be far more microphones and shot-taking reporters coming at these guys now than they've ever seen in their lives. No sense adding fuel to the fire by making it easier to be burned.

It's amazing how many hindsight reporting experts have come out since James uttered the words "South Beach" as his next basketball destination. I wonder how much backlash and attacks would have been lodged had he remained in Cleveland or gone to New York or Chicago.

My point is this. James, Wade and every other member of the Heat won't have to look far for motivation when the season starts. There's been enough bulletin board material the past two weeks to get them through an entire season. No need to fire back now. Save the ammo. Spare yourselves the drama.

At this point, talk is cheap - or extremely costly, depending on what you say or tweet. The next thing this team needs to do is to let its action speak on the court. There's only one problem. Training camp doesn't open for another 10 weeks. And that's plenty of time to say or tweet something stupid.

Between now and then, there's no need for any self-inflicted wounds. Unintentional or otherwise.

So don't tarnish the remarkable job you've done to come together as a Big 3. Don't blemish the unprecedented coup Pat Riley and Micky Arison pulled off to allow it to happen. Don't douse the outright frenzy among your fans with championship hopes in what was a dying basketball city.

So, for now, keep that hope alive. Even if it means having to keep mouths - and twitter accounts - closed on some matters.

(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, July 17, 2010

Vanishing From Vegas (Day 7)

Final thoughts as the Heat closed out its five-games-in-seven-days stint in the Vegas summer league ...

BANKING ON BEASLEY: Had a chance Saturday to catch up with Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kurt Beasley Minnesota Rambis, who sees the acquisition of former Heat forward Michael Beasley as the ultimate low-risk, high-reward project.

"It didn't cost us much to get him," Rambis said. "So it was a no-brainer for us to go after him."

Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, was dealt to the T-Wolves for two second-round picks in what amounted to a cap-clearing move that allowed the Heat to retain Udonis Haslem and bring on Mike Miller. Even the most objective observer could see that Beasley easily has more upside than either of those players. There's a good chance that when his career is done, his production will dwarf that of Miller and Haslem - possibly combined.

But Beasley just didn't fit into the Heat's plans after two seasons of issues on and off the court that led to him struggling to live up to expectations. And in the photo above, he looks just like a player who got traded to, well, Minnesota. At any rate, Rambis says Beasley is a microcosm of the T-Wolves roster. A lot of youth. Plenty of promise. Low expectations. High ceilings. And an abundance of opportunity to develop - even if the results aren't always positive in the win column.

"With his skill set, he fits in very well with the way I want to run my offense," Rambis said Saturday. "I can see him playing a couple of positions. And where he likes to score from is exactly where we like to operate, whether it's two-man basketball or individual basketball."

Off the court, Rambis said the T-Wolves are well aware of Beasley's stint last summer in the league's substance-abuse program, and the potential short leash he could be on in the face of stiffer penalties if there's another violation. But Rambis also said he believes Beasley is appreciative of this second chance to sort of rebuild his image in Minnesota.

"I talked to him a little bit, but it was the day after he had emergency root canal surgery last week," Rambis said. "So he probably wasn't in too good of a mood. We've heard about his issues in the past. But, from everybody I've talked to, there's not a mean bone in his body. Lord knows none of us want to be hammered for all of the youthful mistakes we've made in our life."

Beasley has transitioned from a veteran Heat team to a T-Wolves roster that includes 10 players who are 24 or younger. In Minnesota, Beasley will benefit from two things that were sometimes lacking for him in Miami. Patience. And Production.

In the end, it will probably be a win-win situation for both sides.

"I just see him as somebody who, like a lot of our players, needs time, needs growth, needs development, needs maturity," Rambis said. "But we have good pieces. And I see him as a very good piece to our growing group of guys."

SUMMER SCHOOL'S OUT: The Heat closed out its five-game summer league slate with a 4-1 record after Saturday's 73-69 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was a game that featured little drama. With LeBron Shav-Heat James and Dan Gilbert not in attendance, that was to be expected. That intensity and action will come when they meet in the regular season.

Still, Heat summer league coach Dave Fizdale could only think about the missed opportunity. "We were one three-pointer away from being undefeated," a smiling Fizdale said. "That would have been really nice."

The shot Fiz was referring to was the 34-foot dagger former Heat camp invitee Brian Chase nailed for Golden State to send Miami to a 72-69 setback on Wednesday.

But overall, the Heat got solid performances from Shavlik Randolph and Kenny Hasbrouck. Dexter Pittman, the massive center Miami picked in the second-round of the draft out of Texas, came up a bit small in summer league. A toe injury contributed to his struggles. Pittman has the size and skill set to be a solid big man in the league. But he still has a ways to go before he realizes that potential. The next two months are going to be crucial for Pittman in terms of his development going into training camp. But he got the most important thing accomplished this week. He signed that three-year contract.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was generally pleased with the Heat's week of summer league work.

"It was a fun group," Spoelstra said. "These guys really came to work. They were very professional and hungry. They really got after it. You could see that the work they've put in paid off. There are opportunities for these guys, even when there doesn't appear to be one. Some of these guys will break through."

AS THE ROSTER TURNS: Miami made another roster addition official on Saturday when the team announced the signing of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Big Z agreed to a two-year contract worth about $2.8 million Magloire1 - which equates to the veteran's minimum. The second year of Big Z's deal is at his option.

The Heat is also poised to bring back point guard Carlos Arroyo and center Jamaal Magloire on veteran minimum deals. Juwan Howard also is on the way. Those additions would bring the Heat's roster to 12 (Wade, James, Bosh, Chalmers, Miller, Haslem, Anthony, Pittman, Ilgauskas, Arroyo, Magloire, Howard). The regular-season limit is 15.

Miami will likely add another perimeter defender/shooter (In-house options are James Jones or Yakhouba Diawara). That could leave another spot or two, possibly, for development players from the summer league roster. If that's the case, Randolph, Hasbrouck or Jarvis Varnado are among the top options.

(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.)

Take 6 From Vegas

Day Six from the Las Vegas Summer League was an active one for the Heat ... way back in Miami. Joel-Block

The Heat officially added three more players to the roster when it announced that swingman Mike Miller, forward Joel Anthony and draft pick Dexter Pittman were signed to contracts. That brings the Heat's roster to eight players (Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Miller, Anthony and Pittman). Two more are expected on the way as soon as Saturday - center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and forward Juwan Howard.

And to think that there were league executives who doubted the Heat's ability to fill out a roster around Wade, James and Bosh. If we've all learned one thing this offseason, it's don't bet against the Heat. But some of the moves are questionable. You can certainly question whether Miller or Anthony should have received five-year deals.

Miller will be 35 when his deal is up. So will Udonis Haslem. By that time, Wade, Bosh and James would probably need an infusion of youth and athleticism on the roster as they push toward the end of their contracts. And here's the ultimate irony. Anthony could be the only player among Heat veterans to have received a raise from last season. He tripled his salary in his new deal with the Heat, which gave him a about $18 million.

Yes, $18 million for Joel Anthony. More power to him. Dude made a nice come up. The Heat apparently had to outbid a few teams with cap space to re-sign Anthony. Miami made his a $1.1 million qualifying offer last month. And the offers just kept rising from there. For this price, meet the Miami Heat's starting center.

SUMMER GROOVE ROSTER: Obtained an unofficial copy of the Summer Groove roster for Sunday's game, and some of the names might intrigue you. Aaron Afflalo, Brandon Bass, Caron Butler, Daequan ZoFighting Cook, Samuel Dalembert, Tim Hardaway, Mike James, Ty Lawson, Darius Miles, Alonzo Mourning, Mo Peterson, Quentin Richardson, Rajon Rondo, DaJuan Summers, CJ Watson and Dorell Wright.

Depending on how well Timmy Hardaway makes out Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena, he might jump into that long line of old-school vets angling for a vet's minimum contract with the Heat. I've said all along that Miami should simply round out its depth at point guard and center by adding Zo and Timmy to the roster. Heck, why not.

HEAT SMOKING IN VEGAS PLAY: The Heat improved to 3-1 Friday night in the Las Vegas Summer League with a 78-58 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Shavlik Randolph led Miami with 18 points, and guards Kenny Hasbrouck and Weyinmi Efejuku combined for 27 points and nine assists. Miami was without Pittman for the second straight game because of a left toe injury. But Pittman's hand was just fine - he was healthy enough to sign that three-year contract earlier in the day that pretty much guarantees his spot on the roster.

Pittman hopes to play in Saturday's summer league finale against the Cavaliers. We hear ESPN is negotiating with Pittman to do an hour-long special leading to his decision to play or not. After all, it is Heat-Cavs. And you can't have Heat-Cavs without drama.

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

Friday, July 16, 2010

Too Hot To Handle (Vegas, Day 5)

Considering we've built this blog relationship on honesty, I'm going to flat-out keep it real with you. Royal_court

It was 115 degrees out here in Vegas today. 1-1-5. You know it's dangerous to go outdoors when the temperature is higher than the Phoenix Suns' scoring average.

So when I got downstairs to my hotel lobby, and saw Satan posted up under a fan near the valet parking desk, I did the smart thing. I turned around, went back upstairs to the room, and called it a day.

The Heat's summer league team had Thursday off and resumes play Friday night. But the day wasn't a complete waste. I'm sharing this cool cartoon drawing I received in an email from Heat fan and artist Ricky Lewis. Check it out above. And then hit Ricky up at www.rickyscomics.com. This Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh setup in South Beach is inspiring folks in many different ways.

But on a day when Vegas made Miami feel like Iceland, the smart play was to stay inside. So I spent the day making free agency calls and working on future feature stories that will soon run in the Miami Herald newspaper and on our website.

Thursday, Vegas just proved to be too hot to handle. And I wasn't too bold to fold.

We'll resume with more free agency news and summer league updates Friday. Here's hoping for a brisk 106-degree day, just like that chilly day I arrived in Vegas last week.

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

Thursday, July 15, 2010

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

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

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

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

There was this ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Heat plays its fourth game Friday against Milwaukee.

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

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


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