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28 posts from June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

South Florida radio station taking thoughtful approach to recruiting LeBron

Beginning with Joe Rose in the morning, the folks at 560 WQAM-AM are raising money for the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County on Tuesday in a creative and thoughtful effort to convince LeBron James to stay in Miami.

Negotiations for free agency can begin on Tuesday and James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each opted out of their contracts in recent days to become unrestricted free agents. Teams reportedly will be lining up this week in the hopes of securing a meeting with James. Heat president Pat Riley, of course, has had a head start on the field.

James has worked closely with the Boys and Girls Club for many years. His ill-fated television special in the summer of 2010 to announce his decision to sign with the Heat rasied money for the organization.

Here's the full press release from 560: 

Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM will celebrate “LEBRON-A-THON” all day, tomorrow July 1st, 2014.  South Florida has enjoyed championship basketball the last four years, and we want more. We all want LeBron James to stay in Miami and WQAM is encouraging listeners put their money where their mouth is, by supporting a great cause. Listeners are being encouraged to visit WQAM.com where they can click on the “LEBRON-A-THON” banner to make a donation. 100% of the proceeds will benefit The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County.

Representatives from The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County will be visiting The Kup & Crowder Show at 1pm to talk about the charity “LEBRON-A-THON”.

Additionally, fans that make a donation will also be registered to win a pair of tickets to the 2014 Miami HEAT Home Opener.  

LEBRON-A-THON” July 1st on 560 WQAM

  • The Joe Rose Show 6am-10am
  • Guzio & Donno (Brandon Guzio & Alex Donno) 10am-1pm
  • Kup & Crowder (Adam Kuperstein & Channing Crowder) 1pm-3pm
  • The Marc Hochman Show w/ Zach Krantz 3pm-7pm
  • Kevin Rogers 7pm-10pm


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chris Bosh opts out and a statement from Pat Riley

On Sunday, Chris Bosh's agent informed Heat president Pat Riley that his client was exercising the early termination option of his contract to become a free agent. Riley's statement:

“Today we were notified of Chris’ intentions to opt-out of his contract,” Riley said. “Chris is one of the most versatile and dynamic big men in this league, and he has been an instrumental key to our championship success over the last four seasons.

“We look forward to meeting with Chris and his agent in the coming days to discuss keeping him in Miami for many years to come.”

Saturday, June 28, 2014

UPDATE: After another crazy day of reports and speculation, anything seems possible entering free agency for #LeBron and the #Heat

The offseason dominoes began falling into place for the Heat on Saturday.

Team president Pat Riley was informed that Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade decided to exercise the early termination option in their contracts, according to sports agent Henry Thomas, and the moves put into motion a plan that could retool the Heat's roster for another run at the NBA Finals. The ultimate goal, of course, is to keep LeBron James in Miami and then add some new talent around him, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“Today we were notified of Dwyane’s intention to opt out of his contract and Udonis’ intention to not opt into his contract, making both players free agents,” Riley said in a statement. “Dwyane has been the cornerstone of our organization for over a decade, and we hope he remains a part of the Heat family for life.

“Udonis has been the heartbeat of this team for 11 years. He has sacrificed countless times to make this organization successful, and he is the epitome of what this organization stands for. We look forward to meeting with Dwyane and Udonis and their agent in the coming days to discuss our future together.”

Bosh remained undecided on his contractual future on Saturday afternoon, but will soon need to inform the Heat of his decision. The deadline for opt outs is June 30 and teams and players can begin negotiating free agency on July 1. As Heat fans went into meltdown mode on Twitter on Saturday and conflicting reports began popping up about Bosh, the Heat's center didn't seem too concerned.

"James Rodríguez is a beast!" Bosh wrote on Twitter after the Colombian midfielder's wonder-strike in the first half of his team's World Cup match against Uruguay.

Bosh said early this season and again in the playoffs that he would take less money for the 2013-14 season to remain in Miami and keep the Heat's core together. According to a report by ESPN, Bosh is seeking a new five-year contract worth between $15-$16 million per season. Bosh is currently on the books for over $20 million for next season. Wade was also under contract for more than $20 million next season and Haslem was set to be paid $4.6 million.

In the end, Saturday, June 28, 2014, could be remembered as another landmark day in the history of Miami Heat offseason roster building. The team did the unthinkable in 2010 when it lured Bosh and James to Miami to join Wade, and now a second imagining of that superteam could be in the works.

Haslem was the first to opt out of his contract on Saturday with Bleacher Report first reporting the story. That sent off a frenzy of speculation throughout the day, and then Wade followed suit with the Associated Press first reporting Wade's decision. James opted out earlier in the week. For the Heat, a best-case scenario as free agency begins is that its star players collectively agree to take less money spread out over more years in a collective effort to free up cap space.

From there, Riley would have the financial flexibility to pursue free agents. Carmelo Anthony would be the top choice, but reports have surfaced that the Heat isn't currently an option. Point guard Kyle Lowery has also been linked to the Heat. Other options include 6-11 center Marcin Gortat or guard Trevor Ariza.

James could be seeking a max contract, according to a report by Yahoo!Sports, but he could also take less money to help the team. Wade is expected to take less money now that he opted out.

Either that, or the team could be facing some serious decisions if players choose to return under max contracts. If Bosh opts out on Sunday, which he is expected to do, then the Heat would have a record $55 million of cap space entering free agency. Other than Bosh, the Heat's only other player currently under contract is backup point guard Norris Cole. Draft pick Shabazz Napier is set to join the team for next season as well.

James and Cole worked out together on Saturday in Miami, another small sign that the two Ohio natives would be returning to the Heat next season.

"Off season is the real season!" James tweeted, along with his customary hashtag, #StriveForGreatness. 

James, too, later watched the Colombia-Uruguay World Cup match. Naturally, the Heat's James was rooting for Columbia's James.

"Man watching this Colombian game I think I have my fav player in the world cup! Obviously his name help that out #Biased #10 #James #WC2014," James tweeted.

Friday, June 27, 2014

An inside look at the Heat's war room on draft night

There was white-knuckle tension in the Heat’s draft-night war room on Thursday moments before the team’s brain trust landed Shabazz Napier.

The Heat went into the pressure cooker hoping to acquire the Connecticut guard, but there were several factors working against Heat president Pat Riley and his lieutenants. For starters, the Heat had the 26th overall pick, and Napier wasn’t expected to fall that far in the draft. Then, much to Riley’s chagrin, news had already been leaked well in advance that the Heat wanted Napier badly.

“It’s very difficult when everyone knows you’re zeroing in on somebody,” Riley said. Another major problem going into the draft: the Heat didn’t have many assets in which to maneuver its way up the draft board. All things considered, teams tried to draw as much blood as possible before Napier fell far enough for the Heat to seriously consider haggling for him.

“It’s called extortion prior to that,” Riley said.

When the 24th pick fell to Charlotte, serious drama had already engulfed the Heat’s draft room inside AmericanAirlines Arena. The Memphis Grizzlies took a guard at 22, but not Napier. It was the same scenario for the Utah Jazz at 23.

“It’s moving quick and you got five guys moving the phones,” Riley said. “You feel like you’re on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at that particular time. We wanted this player, and the closer we go to this pick…I fell more in love with him the closer we got. You don’t want to get left at the altar.”

The Heat has been heartbroken before, of course. Everyone has. That’s the nature of the NBA draft, and what makes it a pulse-pounding ordeal even for the most veteran NBA executives.

But sometimes the universe aligns in your favor. For the Heat, that’s happened a lot in the last five years.

The Hornets drafted Napier, and they were willing to make a deal. In the end, the Heat parted ways with its 26th and 55th picks of the 2014 draft, plus 2019 second-round pick, plus some cash to sweeten the pot.

“We’re very fortunate to have drafted Shabazz, and we feel very excited about him and what he can bring,” Riley said. “He’s a two-time champion, high-motor guy, character guy, very quick, can shoot the ball, so he’s got a lot of qualities that fit with what Erik [Spoelstra] wants to do.”

Heat summer-league team coming into focus; five new names added including Mercer star Hall and high flyer Roberts Jr.

Shabazz Napier, Justin Hamilton and James Ennis will be the core of the Heat's summer-league team, but there will be other talented players representing the Heat in Orlando and Las Vegas as well. Five undrafted players that will be joining the Heat: PG Langston Hall of Mercer, SG Tyler Johnson of Fresno State, SG Andre Dawkins of Duke, F Ronald Roberts of St. Joe's and F Jerrelle Benimon of Towson.

Position: Point guard
Height: 6-4
Age: 22
College: Mercer
Honors: Atlantic Sun Player of the Year (2014)
Highlights: Led A-Sun in assists (5.5) and free-throw percentage (86.5) in 2013-14 regular season, and was sixth in scoring (14.9) and second in steals (1.5). A-Sun record for assists (633). 
Twitter: @Langston21

Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-4
Age: 22
College: Fresno State
Honors: 2013-14 All-Mountain West Second-Team
Highlights: Already has offers to play Europe. 

Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-5
Age: 22
College: Duke
Highlights: Shot 42 percent from three-point range off the bench as a senior.
Twitter: @dre_dawkins

Position: Forward
Height: 6-8 
Age: 22
College: St. Joe's
Honors: 2014 Atlantic 10 All-Championship Team
Highlights: Scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds in A-10 title-game win over VCU. Vertical over 46 inches.
Twitter: @RonaldRoberts5


Position: Forward
Height: 6-8
Age: 22
College: Towson 
Honors: Two-time Colonial Athletic Player of the Year
Of note: Started career at Georgetown

Caron Butler: LeBron's not going anywhere

Former Heat player Caron Butler is confident LeBron James will be leading the Heat on another deep playoff run next season.

Butler, a close friend of both Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, said on Friday that he fully expects James to return to the Heat for his fifth season with the team. James opted out of his contract shortly after the NBA Finals, and Wade and Bosh are expected to opt out in the immediate future. The deadline for players to exercise the early termination options of their existing contracts is June 30. Wade and Bosh are both currently under contract for over $20 million next season, but signs are pointing to the Heat's core taking less money next season to restock the depth chart.

"I think what [James] created in South Beach — all three of those guys — and with free agency looming, and other guys willing to come there and play alongside the Big 3, I don’t see him going anywhere," Butler said on The Zaslow and Joy Show on FM 104.3 The Ticket. "And I don’t see Miami having any slippage or anything. They’re going to be right there. It’s the Eastern Conference. There are about three or four teams that are legitimate contenders on a year-to-year basis."

Butler indicated during his radio interview that the Heat approached him last season after he had already committed to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Otherwise, he might have signed on with the Heat. The Heat could have certainly used him. He said he would consider signing with the Heat this summer, but everything is contingent on James, Wade and Bosh.

"I think the biggest domino out there — one of the biggest dominos out there — is LeBron James and what he’s going to do," Butler sad. "So everyone is just sitting around and waiting and seeing what happens."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Heat gets its man and trades for Napier, but what does this mean for Chalmers and Cole?

LeBron wanted Shabazz Napier, and the Heat delivered.

Napier was drafted 24th overall to the Charlotte Hornets — or two spots ahead of the Heat's draft pick — but the Heat acquired Napier in a trade for its 26th and 55th picks and a future second-round pick, the Miami Herald confirmed on Thursday night. ESPN first broke the story during its draft special. The Heat drafted P.J. Hairston, who played at North Carolina before entering the NBA Development League, with its 26th pick before sending him to Charlotte.

Napier helped the University of Connecticut Huskies to two championships and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 Final Four. More importantly, he was LeBron's favorite player in the draft. As the Heat puts together a plan for the future to present to LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, every building block helps. The Heat struggled at the point-guard position in the 2014 NBA Finals with Mario Chalmers being benched for Game 5 and Norris Cole underperforming.

Here's LeBron's reaction shortly after it was announced that the Heat traded for Napier:

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.35.32 PM

That tweet certainly seems like a positive step in the future for the Heat and LeBron.

In April, after Napier led the Huskies to a national championship, LeBron wrote on Twitter that he thought Napier was the best available point guard.

“No way [you] take a PG in the lottery before Napier,” James said.

Considered a prospect who can help the Heat immediately, Napier was projected as high as No.12, but fell just far enough in the draft for the Heat to make a deal. The future is now unclear it seems for at least one of the Heat's current point guards, but maybe both. Cole is under contract through next year, and Chalmers is a free agent. The Heat could presumably choose not to pursue Chalmers to save money against the cap.

Cole has been an inconsistent backup point guard, and the Heat could be leery of inserting a rookie point guard into its title contending starting lineup — even one as collegiately seasoned as Napier. The Heat could resign Chalmers, or perhaps make a move through free agency. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry would obviously be the Heat's No.1 target, but bringing in Lowry would likely depend on LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh restructuring their contracts.

Birdman waiting to see the Heat's plans for the future just like everyone else

Chris Andersen is waiting to see the Heat’s plans for the future just like everyone else. Andersen was the Heat’s first player to exercise the early termination option of his contract after the NBA Finals, but on Thursday said he wants to stay in Miami.

Of course, he might want more than the veteran’s minimum to do it.

Riding the high of winning his first championship with the Heat, Andersen signed for the minimum ($1.4 million) for the 2013-14 season, but after strong back-to-back seasons he likely could now earn much more on the open market. Attending a promotional appearance in Boca Raton, Andersen indicated he wouldn’t know if he’s returning to Miami until LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh make their contractual decisions.

“Big money goes first,” Andersen said when asked about a timetable for his decision.

The Heat would like to resign Andersen once again for the veteran’s minimum, and might not have much more to offer the high-energy player. Andersen was a key contributor during the Heat’s most recent run to the Finals, but his production tailed off after injuring his foot against the Pacers. Andersen said his injury healed after a few days off his feet, and that surgery wouldn’t be necessary.

“I don’t need no surgery,” Andersen said. “No surgery required.”

A fan favorite, Andersen was greeted by a long snaking line at Madisons New York Grill & Bar in Boca Raton. Boca isn’t exactly the Birdman’s speed, but he said he is enjoying his time in South Florida. He recently purchased a boat, “and I got a tan, so it’s growing on me pretty good now.”

Wade has been stressed out. Trying to decide between millions of dollars and your dream team will do that.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.29.46 AM

Dwyane Wade has apparently been pretty stressed out these last few days. Trying to decide between millions of dollars and keeping your dream team together while coming to terms with the inevitable evolution of your aging game will do that.

Wade posted to Instagram Thursday morning that he woke up feeling better, though. It might be a sign that his decision to exercise the early termination option of his contract has been finalized. Wade and Chris Bosh have until June 30 to opt out. LeBron James opted out earlier this week and the Heat's three stars met for a dinner on Wednesday night to discuss their futures.

Nice tux, by the way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pat Riley on LeBron opting out: We knew it all along

Statement from Pat Riley on LeBron James opting out of his contract on Tuesday: 

“I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise. As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency and when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options. The last four seasons have been historic and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra have led the Miami Heat to one of the most unprecedented runs in the history of the NBA. 

We look forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together. At the moment, we are preparing for the opportunities in the draft and free agency as we continue with our goal of winning NBA Championships.”



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