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17 posts from September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

A chance to blog on #Heat media day now that I'm in the Bahamas ...

So, I made it to the Bahamas. Let me paint you a picture. The Atlantis Resort Paradise Island is a mix between Cheesecake Factory, Disney World and a fish tank. Before I run down and watch Dolphins-Saints, here are some highlights from media day ...

The comfort level LeBron James finds himself at entering the Miami Heat’s training camp was measured in jokes Monday during the team’s Media Day at AmericanAirlines Arena.

So at ease with his surroundings, the back-to-back MVP poked fun at himself during his news conference, saying he wasn’t going to be happy in Miami until he won “not 11, not 12, not 13, not 14” championships.

James drew criticism in 2010 when he stated during a party introducing the Heat’s Big 3 that they intended to win, “not one, not two … not six, not seven” titles. When the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals in James’ first season in Miami, his detractors got louder. But the criticism has waned somewhat with James’ two rings the past two seasons.

Some other highlights from today:

• Staying healthy during the long season was the connective theme between nearly all interviews with players. James came back to the theme twice, repeating, “Health is the major thing.”

“If we can stay healthy and we can improve each month then we’ll put ourselves in position to compete for another championship,” James said.

James then reiterated his concern over the team’s health.

“If we’re healthy as a ball club, it doesn’t matter who you put up against us, we can compete with anybody,” James said. “If we’re not healthy, then it’s going to be tougher. It was tougher last year when we weren’t healthy and it was tougher the first year we won it when we weren’t healthy.

“If we can stay healthy or as close to 100 percent healthy as possible, then we’ll be fine.”

• On Dwyane Wade’s knee, coach Erik Spoelstra said, “There’s a major misconception about his health and where he was last year. He had one of his most efficient productive years up until the point he had a bone bruise. It was a bone bruise. It wasn’t a knee issue of wear and tear, something completely different. But that’s fine, the misconception.”

• Spoelstra said the Heat chose to begin training camp in the Bahamas as a reward for last season, but also to cut down on distraction of too many TV cameras.

• The coach’s goal for the Bahamas trip: “At some point during this week … we have to let go of what we did last year. Not going to do it today, but we’re going to have to let it go, but we also have to focus on now and not be obsessed with the future.”

By “future” Spoelstra means the contract decisions looming for so many players on the team after this season.

“Our guys aren’t naive to the business of basketball and I think you have to respect everybody’s point in their careers when they become a free agent,” Spoelstra said. “There is nothing wrong with it, and we absolute respect a player’s opportunity to be free when they earn that opportunity. It doesn’t come along very often.

“So, when you have a team built like this with a big picture, and we understand that we have to come together, we’ve been trained and conditioned probably for this type of moment more than any other team. What we talk about all the time is just focus on now.”

• Wade, looking thin, delivered perhaps the quote of the day when he declared, “I’m the second option on this team. Point blank. Let’s say it. … But I’m a pretty good second option and one of the only second options that averages 20 points a game.”


• On his motivation: "I want to be the greatest of all time and that's my motivation. It's that simple, and it's not that simple."

• How close is LeBron to being the greatest? "I'm far, but I can see the light."

• On his marriage: "I got three rings now."

• LeBron on some silly question about vindication: "I don't need to vindicate my decision to come here. I knew I made the right decision when I said it."

• On contract chatter: "For me being the leader of this team I owe it to this organization not to get involved in it."


• "I’m the second option on this team. Point blank. Let’s say it...But I'm a pretty good second option and one of the only second options that averages 20 points a game."

• Wade on how his health might affect LeBron's decision: "Don't try to put that pressure on me. You can stop that right now."

• Wade on LeBron: "We all know inside our locker room that LeBron is committed to this team."

• On the Heat's potential place in history: "I think we understand this is a once in a lifetime opportunity."


Goes to Shane Battier, who told me he "drank fewer beers this offseason than any time in his career."


On Dan Craig's quick rise from the team's video coordinator to assistant coach: "It's been an 11-year overnight process."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Here are Spoelstra's favorite 'storylines' of Monday's media-day bonanza

Other than Spoelstra’s contract extension, here are a list of prominent storylines that will be discussed when players meet with reporters for the first time since the end of June:

—The biggest question all year will be whether or not James plans to return to the Heat after this season. It’s a question that likely will be asked on Monday and but will go unanswered all season. If the Heat wins its third championship in a row, logic would dictate that James stays in Miami, but when did conventional wisdom ever stop the speculation of James’ future from taking on a life of its own?

—Dwyane Wade’s offseason knee treatment will be a hot topic. Wade had shock wave therapy on his knee, which troubled him throughout the end of the regular season and the entire postseason. He said last week that he was pain free, but he also might be limited towards the beginning of training camp.

Based on photos, Wade appears to have lost a significant amount of weight in the offseason. Team president Pat Riley asked Wade to drop a few pounds in the hopes of taking some pressure off of his knees. How much weight Wade exactly lost will be a popular question?

—Family matters will take center stage. Chris Bosh is expecting his third child and LeBron James and Udonis Haslem married longtime girlfriends this offseason.

—Birdman Andersen returns for his first full season with the Heat after signing in January and helping lead the team to a championship over the San Antonio Spurs. Andersen’s was named a victim of a bizarre Internet scam a few weeks ago. The details of the story will certainly create a buzz at media day.

—Greg Oden is attempting a comeback. The former overall No.1 pick hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2009 and has had three surgeries to correct micro fracturing in his knees. How much Oden expects to contribute and how soon will be topics of discussion.

—Former Heat No.2 overall draft pick Michael Beasley is back on the team with a non-guaranteed deal. His steady fall from grace and his apparent inability stay clean is a curiosity for fans.

The extension is the extension: Heat ensures #Spoisms for years to come!

As everyone knows, chronicling #Spoisms is my favorite part of this job. Well, my joy will continue into the near future, people. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra signed a multi-year extension to his contract on Sunday, the team announced.

Spoelstra was entering the last year of his contract after leading the Heat to three straight NBA Finals. The Heat has won back-to-back titles and begins work for its three-peat bid on Tuesday with the start of training camp. The first four days of camp are being held at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

With the Heat’s core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all facing contract decisions after this season, solidifying Spoelstra’s future was a significant first step towards providing stability to the equation. James, Wade and Bosh can all opt out of their contracts after this season.

Spoelstra wasn’t available for comment on Sunday, but the Heat’s preseason “media day” is on Monday at AmericanAirlines Arena. Spoelstra and the team’s players will take team photos inside AmericanAirlines Arena and also participate in interviews with reporters before flying to the Bahamas.

As Spoelstra is prone to repeating, there are many and more “storylines” heading into this season. But that’s nothing new for the Heat. Spoelstra’s grace under pressure as the Heat’s coach, his knack for getting the best out of James and his ability to shield his players from a constant swirl of potential distractions are major reasons why he is considered one of the best young coaches in the league. In offering Spoelstra his extension, the Heat wanted to reward their homegrown talent with security but also perhaps signal to the rest of the league that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Juwan Howard named assistant coach; Heat makes front-office moves

The Heat's front-office organizational chart will read a little differently this season. Here are the list of promotions within the organization heading into this season:

Andy Elisburg has been named senior vice president of basketball operations/general manager. He was previously an assistant general manager. Elisburg is Pat Riley's salary cap guru and a significant portion of the Heat's brain trust.

Adam Simon has been named assistant general manager/general manager Sioux Falls Sky Force. Simon was previously the director of player personnel.

Dan Craig has been named assistant coach of player development. He was the assistant coach/video coordinator last season.

Chad Kammerer is now the Heat's director of NBA scouting/advance scout

Moving from coaching to the front office, Keith Askins is now the director of college and pro scouting

Juwan Howard is now an assistant coach of player development, replacing Askins.

Rich Fernando is now an executive assistant to coaches. He was an assistant video coordinator. 

Eric Glass, formerly a video intern, is now in the video room full time.

Tim Hardaway is now a scout in addition to being a community and corporate liaison.

Heat roster at 19 with signing of Roger Mason Jr.

NBA veteran Roger Phillip Mason Jr, thank you for your career as a hardworking journeyman shooting guard. For your efforts, you have earned an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas.

Mason signed with the Heat on Friday, bringing the team's training camp roster to 19. Mason, who is now 33 years old, played in 69 games for the Hornets last season with 13 starts. Mason has now played for five teams in the past five years.

The Heat announced that Mason will be wearing No.21, so start saving up for that trip to the Heat store. Mason's Twitter handle is @MoneyMase, so we can only imagine what's going on the back of his nickname jersey if he makes the team.

EMAILS I GET: 'Show this to Beas about what happens in real world'

As Carl Hiaasen might say, there are a lot of sick puppies out there in Miami. Most of them are Heat fans and sometimes they send me emails. This is another blog post in the ongoing chronicle of ... DUN DUN dun ... emails I get.

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 7.47.35 AM

SENDER: Mantautas
SUBJECT: 'death to loser'
TIME: Sent at 7:47 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27 

Dear Joseph,

This video has a lot to do with the NBA:


The victim was complacent.

The winner won by surprise.

In this clip the loss was not trivial, but fatal.

First, in the NBA offense has to quietly stalk the other teams for mental lapses.

Second, the defense can never let their guard down against surprise attacks.

In the video the reptile lost his life by not being aware on the court.

The jaguar keenly observed that the gator relaxed and the gator was killed because of it.

The moral is NBA players many times are mentally lackadaisical.

This video illustrates that even one mistake can be fatal.

Show this to Beas about what happens in real world.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Highlights from Dwyane Wade's fashion show

Pics from Dwyane Wade's fashion show here. The Wade's World Foundation raised over $300,000 for charity on Thursday night.


Michael Beasley is back, and casually dressed.
A trimmed-down Dwyane Wade will report to training camp on Monday.
He dropped weight in an attempt to take pressure off of his knee.
Dwyane Wade and his golden shoes.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bosh's reach into Miami's Spanish-speaking community and Univision significant for Heat

Chris Bosh has been studiously learning Spanish for several years and it appears all those private lessons have paid off. Bosh went on Univision Thursday morning and showed off his bi-lingual skills during a sit-down interview. Bosh conversed in Spanish about his trips this summer, his family and the reason why he's learning Spanish.

Cool, right? I mean, Bosh's self confidence is unflappable. As one follower on Twitter pointed out to me, for Bosh to "put himself out there" like this, it shows a lot of bravery. Beyond that, of course, it shows just how intelligent Bosh really is. And I'm not talking about his ability to learn a new language.

From a business perspective, Bosh's reach into Miami's Spanish-speaking community is hugely significant not only for himself but for the Heat. The Heat could not buy the type of credibility and respect Bosh is making with a segment of Miami's population that has always been hard to reach. Bosh's goodwill isn't going to land the Heat an enormous television contract with Univision, but it's not going to hurt that goal either. Think about that the next time a national news outlet throws out the idea of the Heat trading or getting rid of Bosh.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BOSH: 'With everybody being under contract and having no tomorrow ... we know what we have to do'

Chris Bosh was at Turnberry Isle Miami in Aventura on Wednesday selling cars for Warren Henry Automotive. Bosh does it for free Land Rovers. Here's a dramatic interpretation of the event, more or less.

So, it was pretty exotic. Also, there were really good veggie burgers and grilled grapefruit. Has anyone ever in the history of the world grilled a grapefruit before today at Turnberry Isle Miami? Maybe Jim Berry from CBS Miami would know. He knows how to grill PR lackeys, and sing, apparently. He can sing a tune.

ANYWAY...after waiting around for about two hours, and being entertained by Jim Berry for most of that time, I got to interview Bosh for about five minutes. Guess what? It was worth it. We talked about boats. Bosh is now a yachtsman. Seriously, he has been renting yachts this summer, but now he's thinking about buying one.

ME: Do you have a boater's license?

BOSH: What? Never.

We got around to talking about basketball and I reminded Bosh that "theoretically, everyone from this team could be gone next year." You know, because maybe he had forgotten. And then I asked Bosh a stupid question like "how is that going to change the team this year?"

Bosh, being a professional, gave me a good answer.

BOSH: "With everybody being under contract and having no tomorrow, it’s kind of exciting because we know what we have to do for one and then, two, it’s like it helps you focus on what you need to do in that moment instead of next year or whenever. If we take care of business, we know everything is going to be all good. So, we just have to take that mentality and that kind of erases all the doubt."

In other words, the Heat needs to win the title to make sure this team stays together. Training camp is in the Bahamas and starts Tuesday.


Dwyane Wade says he feels 'better than I expected at this point, but I'm not where I want to be'

Before Dwyane Wade got into it with Kevin Durant on Tuesday night, he spoke with the Miami Herald for about 25 minutes about a few things, including his charity event on Thursday night, his expanding brand and love for fashion, his sock collection and, of course, his knee.

Wade, who had OssaTron shock wave treatment on his knee in July, said he feels "better than I expected at this point, but I'm not where I want to be either." Similar to last season, Wade is going to ease himself into training camp but hopes to be ready for action by the start of the season.

"It’s a big year for me and I want to make sure I left no question in my mind," Wade said. "When I’m healthy, I want to feel and play at my best."

After the OssaTron treatment, Wade rested his body for a month and then "once the pain started going away, I started to strengthen my body." Wade said he did not go to Germany and receive platelet rich plasma therapy and added that he's not worried about his "weight or anything like that" to begin training camp.

"For me it’s about I play my best when I’m pain free," he said.

Deep bone bruises to his knee caused Wade significant pain during the playoffs, but he played through the discomfort and helped lead the Heat to its second straight championship. He received electric-stimulation treatment during the Heat's championship run and also had his knee drained of fluid. Wade says he has been pain free for over a month now and has been getting back in shape "the old school way" with classic weight-training exercises.


Wade also has been putting the finishing touches on his second annual RunWade charity event, which will benefit his charity, the Wade's World Foundation. Presented by Nieman Marcus Coral Gables and watch manufacturer Hublot, RunWade also will feature some of Wade's tie and sock designs, which are set to launch this fall.

For the past year, Wade has been collaborating with designer sock company Stance and neckwear company The Tie Bar to put together his own lines of socks and ties. The result will be Wade's initial foot into the fashion industry, a brand and idea he hopes to expand. Stance will feature a collection of 13 socks inspired in part by Wade's love of the movie "Coming to America." The Tie Bar will feature 30 bowties in a collection called The Gentleman By Dwyane Wade. Like the socks, the ties will be dominated by bold colors and exciting patterns and designs ... at least that's what the designers of the socks and ties tell me.

We'll have a fashion story on Wade and his love of socks in Thursday's paper, which will coincide with RunWade. "A Night on the RunWade" is from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at The Moore Building in the Design District. For tickets, contact Kiley Lapointe at [email protected] or (305) 529-9506 ext. 5. Proceeds will benefit Wade's World Foundation.

Also, these are Wade's favorite pair of socks:

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Yes, that's Bill Walton.



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