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7 posts from September 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Wanna be a D-League baller? Here's your big chance

One of the great things about the Heat's affiliation with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League is that pretty much each year the teams are going to hold open tryouts and roll the balls out for anybody who wants to try and make the team.

This year's tryouts are set, and the Miami tryout for the Sioux Falls Skyforce will be held Sunday, Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ransom Everglades High School. The application deadline for the tryout is Friday, Oct. 17., so don't procrastinate. (See information below about the application process.)

The Heat has invested a lot of time, energy and money into its relationship with the Skyforce, so this tryout isn't just some kind of publicity stunt. Heat and Skyforce personnel will be on hand to evaluate potential players, so that means if you want to ball in front of a real live Heat executive, here's your chance.

Who knows? Maybe you'll make the team, play a few years in the D-League and then get picked up by a team overseas. Or, maybe you're a late bloomer with a 44-inch vertical and you just want to dunk on somebody at Ransom Everglades in front of NBA brass. That's cool, too. Keep in mind, though, that playing for the Skyforce could earn you a promotion to the NBA one day. D-League All-Star Justin Hamilton is expected to make the Heat's team this season and compete for minutes in the rotation.

A tryout for the Skyforce is also being held at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Sunday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The application deadline for that tryout is Oct. 10.

IMPORTANT! APPLICATION PROCESS
(from the Heat's press release)
Applicants must be eligible to play in the NBA D-League and are required to pre-register by submitting the registration, release and health information authorization forms, along with a $150 nonrefundable fee, to the attention of Justin Van Kooten (605) 332-0605 at the Skyforce office via e-mail: [email protected], fax: (605) 332-2305 or regular mail: Sioux Falls Skyforce, 2131 S. Minnesota Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57105 by the deadline dates listed above as no walk-up applications will be accepted on the day of the tryout.

All forms are available online at:

http://www.nba.com/dleague/siouxfalls/photos/2014-15_Open_Tryouts.pdf

Wade on LeBron and other things he said today at #Heat training camp

Some notes on Dwyane Wade and stuff from Day 3 of the Heat's training camp...

—The morning session was teaching intensive and Dwyane Wade some of the new players need to do a better job of learning on the fly.

—The team took a break for lunch and air mattresses are available for players who don't want to leave the arena during training camp. Tonight's schedule includes some live-ball drills at full speed.

—Wade called Norris Cole "a monster" defensively, and said the next step in his career would be learning "how to be effective as a point guard and as a scoring guard."

"He's got to figure out the perfect way to do that, and it's not always easy for guys," Wade said. "But if he can figure it out, he can be very dangerous for us. But I'm very confident. He's a kid who loves to work, and he wants to be as great as he wants to be. So, I think he'll figure it out."

—Wade on LeBron: "I don't have no cameras in Cleveland. I don't know what's going on on the court."

—Wade had some loud and colorful neon yellow Li-Ning shorts on today. I asked him if they were Jams. Wade didn't know about Jams.

—When will Wade know if this current team is as tough as it needs to be?

"You really don't see the true identity of the team until you start losing. Obviously, individually everyone has a story and has the potential to have an edge and all this great stuff, but to go to The Finals four years in a row you've got to be a tough team mentally, and I thought we were very tough even when we weren't playing our best. So, the jury is still on that for this team."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stuff Birdman says

I've decided it's high time to start a running blog of the stuff Birdman says because he says a lot of profound stuff. Some of the quotes will have context, and others will just stand alone ...

Wednesday, Oct. 01, 2014

—Why he's making Miami his permanent offseason home:

“Living in the city where you won a championship is probably good for business.”

—On improving his jumper

“I was told a long time ago that even though I’m called Birdman, you can’t jump forever. Like Shaq says, you have a certain amount of jumps. You’re limited to a certain amount of jumps in your career, but I’ve been blessed to be able to jump at 36, so I’m going to be able to use that a couple more times, but I want to be able to shoot it, too.

“That will prolong my career another three years … maybe.”

Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

—Asked about playing for such a bargain price during the 2013-14 season. (Birdman played for the veteran's minimum, but was still receiving a salary from his previous contract with the Denver Nuggets.)

"I was playing at a bargain last year? I was getting two checks. That's what they called me in the locker room. 'Hey, what's up, Two Checks?'"

—On if he worked out of the summer

"I lifted boxes. I walked in the Texas heat. I walked up and down a mountain at 11,000 feet."

—On the new flavor of his power drink, Birdzilla.

"I'm not going to tell you what flavor it is, but it might be greet tea with ginseng."

 

 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Some stuff from the first day of #Heat training camp (More on Chalmers-LeBron thing and a Danny Granger update)

FIRST, a link to my story on the first day of training camp...CLICK ME! (Important note on Birdmanzilla at the end of the story, so read all the way down.)

Now some other stuff...

Let's clear the air a little bit on the controversy/none controversy that cropped up involving Mario Chalmers on Friday.

As I posted to Twitter on Friday, Chalmers did refer to LeBron James as "that guy" during Media Day. But Chalmers didn't seem to choose that wording as a slight to James. A reporter asked Chalmers if he did it on purpose and Chalmers quickly corrected himself.

"We don't have to call him that guy," Chalmers said. "He's still King James, LeBron."

Still an oddly worded way to refer to someone — surname first, like when you're at the social security office — but it was pretty clear Mario meant no disrespect. Chalmers put out a tweet directed at LeBron just to clarify, which was also a little odd. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 11.50.20 AM

Anyway, moving on...

If you haven't read Lee Jenkins' profile of Erik Spoelstra over at SI.com, you should probably do that. Great work as always by one of the best sportswriters in the business. 

I chatted with Justin Hamilton for a few minutes on Friday. If you don't know who Hamilton is yet, he's the Heat's rookie center who might end up receiving consistent minutes this season backing up Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem. Hamilton sacrificed money last year and the chance to play in Europe and instead signed with the D-League and Heat-affiliated Sioux Falls Skyforce.

"It was really hard to turn down so many good offers overseas, but I knew there is only a certain amount of time to get back in the NBA, and I wanted to utilize that. I felt like I was an NBA player. I just needed to get back into it, so I stayed here close so I could stay in the NBA terminology and the way the NBA works and be easy to get back in."

The Heat traded for Hamilton in the second round of the 2012 draft and he played in Croatia his first season as a professional. He was with the Heat last year during the preseason but broke his nose and didn't make the team. Instead of returning to Europe, he took his chance in Sioux Falls and it's close to paying off.

"I went from [Miami] to Sioux Falls because I was used to that Heat culture and just the way they do things," Hamilton said. "So going to Sioux Falls was really beneficial in just working on my game and just having a lot more practice time than an NBA season and using those games to build my resume."

Hamilton was an All D-League First Team Selection last season as well as being named to the D-League All-Defensive First Team and D-League All-Stars.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he wanted Danny Granger to go through about 70 percent of practice on Saturday, "but I forgot about him and he went the whole way through."

Granger said on Friday that the Heat didn't want to burn him out during training camp and risk another knee injury. Granger has had two knee procedures, including one two months ago, and he's attempting to reestablish himself in the league this year. He played just five games in the 2012-13 season due to knee problems and was limited last year as well, although he did play well with the Clippers during the end of the season.

Granger's role on the team is unclear, but the best-case scenario is that he can play some sort of role similar to that of Ray Allen last season.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chris Bosh's message to the City of Miami

Chris Bosh might be a familar name, but he will play a new role this season for the Heat. He's the team's marquee player with LeBron now in Cleveland and Dwyane Wade expected to miss a large chunk of games resting his knees.

On Friday, Bosh sounded ready to accept the challege:

“I’ve been in a similar position like this before in the past, and I feel like I can bring a lot to this team. I’ve had to play a role in the last four years, but moving forward I think I can show just the city and the organization what value I can bring — how much I can turn up the intensity and how much more weight I can put on my shoulders.”

Luol Deng hopes to turn controversy of Danny Ferry's comments "into something positive"

Speaking with reporters on Friday at Heat Media Day, forward Luol Deng said he hoped to turn the racially sensitive comments made by Hawks general manager Danny Ferry "into something positive."

Deng signed with the Heat this offseason after LeBron James left for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Deng will be an important player this season for a team that has reached four straight NBA Finals. But instead of talking about how he will fit into the Heat's system this season, Deng spoke at length on Friday about the offseason controversy caused by Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry, who disparaged Deng with some racially charged comments during a meeting with Hawks executives.

"I do forgive them," Deng said of the Hawks. "It's not something that I want to hold onto for the rest of my career or my life."

In a player evaluation during the meeting, Ferry said Deng was "a good guy, but he's not perfect. He’s got some African in him. I don’t say that in a negative way."

Ferry later took an indefinite leave of absence from the Hawks after the comments were made public.

"I don't think Danny is racist," Deng said.

 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Assistant coaching shake-up changes personality of Heat's bench

Two long-time assistant coaches for the Heat will no longer be regular contributors to the day-to-day operations of the team.

Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo and coaching legend Ron Rothstein have been reassigned by the Heat, the Herald confirmed on Monday. McAdoo and Rothstein were both originally hired as assistants by Heat president Pat Riley. Yahoo Sports first reported the story.

With McAdoo and Rothstein likely off the bench, assistants David Fizdale, Dan Craig and Juwan Howard are expected to assume more prominent roles. Fizdale is considered one of the top assistants in the NBA and a likely future head coach in the league, Craig has a growing reputation as a talented skills coach and video researcher and Howard joined the Heat’s staff on a full-time basis last year.

This latest shake-up of the Heat’s bench is an extension of the team’s busy offseason. Riley and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did well to salvage the team’s roster after LeBron James left the team for the Cleveland Cavaliers. When preseason training begins later this month, the camp will have many familiar faces, but a notably different collective personality.

Spoelstra, who began his career as a video coordinator for the Heat, inherited assistants McAdoo and Rothstein from Riley's coaching staff. With the exception of Howard, all of Spoelstra's assistants now started their careers with the team in the video room. 

It’s unclear what roles McAdoo, 62, and Rothstein, 71, will have with the team. McAdoo was an assistant with the team for 19 seasons after a Hall of Fame career that began at the University of North Carolina and then spanned the NBA and Europe. Rothstein was equally beloved by longtime Heat fans. He was the Heat’s first head coach before his latest stint with the team.


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