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40 posts from June 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wade on the future of the Big 3 beyond 2013-14 season

Next season will be about winning three in a row, but it will also be about the future of LeBron James and the Heat's Big 3. All three players can opt out of their contracts next season. The decision to either keep the Heat's run going or break it up is one of the NBA's major storylines despite it being a year away.

On Monday after the championship celebration, I asked Dwyane Wade about the future of the Big 3 beyond next season. Wade wants it to keep going but said it's not something he, LeBron James and Chris Bosh have discussed in detail, “just like we never even envisioned we would play together until free agency came about, and it became a reality.

“Now, we’re in the middle of this great, historic team and run and we’re enjoying it and you don’t want it to come to an end. But you can’t think about the future. When that time comes after next season, when we have to sit down and talk about the futures and what direction they’re going in, hopefully they’re all going in the same direction. We’ll do what we did in 2010 — sit down as men and talk about it.”

James said on Monday during an interview with Rachel Nichols on CNN that he hasn't "really even thought about it, so when that moment comes up, I will approach it, like a professional, and we’ll see what happens.”

Of course, the real question here isn't whether or not the Big 3 wants to keep the team together. The reality of next season is that the Heat has to figure out a way to keep its luxury-tax penalty under control or possibly watch the Big 3 dissolve. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Positive signs for the 2013-14 season at the Heat's championship celebration

Early signs are pointing to the Heat holding on to Chris Andersen and Ray Allen for the 2013-14 season.

Ray Allen can opt out of his contract in the next two weeks and Chris Andersen is now a free agent, but there were significant hints on Monday at the Heat's championship rally at AmericanAirlines Arena that both players wanted to stay in Miami for another run. Andersen said he wanted to help "get a three-peat next year," and Chris Bosh said he expects Allen to remain in Miami.

How exactly those things happen are unclear, however, and it's going to take some work by the Heat's front office to make it happen. Andersen can either sign with another team, sign with the Heat for the mini mid-level exception or sign with the Heat for another veteran's minimum contract, that would come with a slight raise in pay. Meanwhile, Allen has the option to either opt in for another year at the mini mid-level rate, opt out and re-sign with a 20-percent raise or opt out and go elsewhere for more money.

“I think we have all the influence,” Bosh said of the Heat's Big 3 appeal. “Guys want to come back. I don’t think it’s any situation in the world better than what we have right now and I think that’s speaks for itself, really.

“We have guys that are going to have to make decisions and we know that, it’s a part of the business, but guys want to come back.”

Haslem went to work on Allen immediately after Game 7 while the two players were washing away the championship champagne in the team's facility.

“I told him, ‘I’m not going to put pressure on you, I’m not going to ask you what you going to do, but just know I’m thinking about what you going to do,” Haslem joked after Monday’s championship parade. “That’s all I told him…and I just left it at that.

“He didn’t say nothing. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”

Bosh doesn’t think it’s good or bad. He thinks it’s a pointless discussion. In Bosh’s opinion, Allen has no choice but to return.

“We can make quotes all day, but he’s coming back,” Bosh said. “I mean, there’s really nothing to say. We respect each other’s space, but there’s one decision to make. So, it’s easy.”

As for Andersen, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra indicated that Birdman wanted to return.

“He loves it here,” Spoelstra said. “He’s been embraced by the team, by the fans, by the organization. We wanted Chris for several years and he knows that. We tried for the last four or five years.

“The most important part is both sides want each other. The other aspect will be on Andy Elisburg’s desk of being creative and making things happen.” Elisburg, the Heat’s assistant general manager and senior vice president of business operations, is the team’s numbers cruncher and it’s his lofty task of making it all work for next season. Meanwhile, Haslem will be busy working on the Heat’s retention rate.

“I’m going to be in [Andersen’s] ear but at the end of the day, ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s going to be up to him,” Haslem said. “And whatever he has to consider, I’ll fully support that decision, but I want him back, we want him back. He was a tremendous boost for us and we’re probably not sitting here without the addition of Birdman.”

Friday, June 21, 2013

LeBron gives a shout out to Akron in first tweet since April 20

LeBron broke his social-media blackout on Friday. For the record, he went roughly 73 days without Tweeting. Never mind the two championships, the willpower alone to do that is heroic. Here's LeBron's first tweet since April 20.

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'Bosh no like eat confetti'

Funny description to this Vine by whoever took it and an even funnier video. This was me last night only I was frantically writing this story. Bosh didn't score in Game 7 but the Heat wouldn't have made it to Thursday night if not for Bosh's heroic efforts late in Game 6. Bosh has been asked to play out of position and out of his comfort zone for two years now and his contributions to the team can't be overstated.

LeBron, Wade, Chalmers and Battier outscore the Spurs

As I noted in the earlier post, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmes combined to outscore the Spurs 92-88. Here's the shot plot for those four players.

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And now here's the shot plot for everyone else who had at least one attempt for the Heat.

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Green is good.


Magical Game 7 ends with Heat earning second straight title

Heat fans, do you realize what you just witnessed? History, pure and simple. I wrote it in the paper and I'll repeat it here on the blog, the 2013 Finals will go down as the most exciting two weeks in South Florida sports history.

The Heat's 95-88 victory in Game 7 was a masterpiece by the both Miami and Spurs but especially for LeBron James, who scored 37 points and had 12 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade, who willed himself to 23 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

How crazy was Game 7? Four players — James, Wade, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier — outscored the Spurs 92-88. Battier was 6 of 8 from three-point range for 18 points and Chalmers had 14 points, while going just 1 of 7 from three-point range. His only three-pointer of the game was a big one. He banked in a shot from distance at the third-quarter buzzer to give the Heat a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

And three points by Chris Andersen and only five players scored for Miami! Mike Miller, Ray Allen and Chris Bosh combined to go 0 of 14 from the field and the Heat still had enough.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Game 7 T-shirt giveaway

Fittingly, the Heat's T-shirt giveaway for Game 7 of the NBA Finals is the best of the postseason. The shirts feature 15 faces and the Larry O'Brien Trophy, or as the Heat likes to call it, "Fifteen Strong."

Pat Riley coined that phrase during the 2006 championship run. Fittingly, tonight's Game 7 falls on the seven-year anniversary of the night Miami celebrated its first NBA championship.

Game 7 T-shirt giveaway

Nike's executives clearly do not believe in jinxes or curses

So, here's the inside of LeBron James' commemorative  "2-Time Champion" LeBron Xs by Nike. I get that companies try to position themselves to cash in on championships. That still doesn't mean I agree with it.

Heat fans might be superstitious. Nike's executives clearly are not superstitious about making money.

Nice palm fronds, by the way.


'Get those mother[bleeping] ropes out of here'

Seven words that will be immortalized forever if the Heat wins tonight: "Get those mother[bleeping] ropes out of here!"

Moments after Ray Allen hit his game-tying three-pointer in Game 6, that's what he screamed at nobody and everybody about the yellow ropes arena personnel had moved into position around the periphery of the court in preparation for the post-game trophy ceremony.

Where were you with 28.2 seconds left?

I asked the all-important question on Twitter, and Heat fans responded. The Heat trailed by five points with 28.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter and hope was fading fast. Some fans inside AmericanAirlines Arena headed for the exits. Most fans at the game kept believing and stayed. Where were you ... ?

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