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6 posts from December 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Complete transcript of LeBron James' pregame news conference

On being back in Miami:

“It has been good. I got a lot of memories here and a lot of friendships have been built up over the four years, so my emotions are really, really good.”

On weirdness being in visitors’ locker room:

“Not really. I spent seven years coming to this locker room before, but it felt a little different going in the way we came in. I was used to going to the parking garage with the players, but coming in through the other side was a little weird.”

On what he expects from the fans:

“I have no idea. That’s not for me to even worry about. My only job right now is us trying to get better. We got a young group and we’ve got to continue to improve.”

On competing against Wade now after being teammates:

“I’m not sure. We’ve always enjoyed competing against one another, and we enjoy playing with one another as well, so it is back to where it was five years ago with us competing and we’re going to do it for the rest of our career.”

Did he circle this game on his calendar:

“I don’t circle games no more on my career. If I get the opportunity and am fortune enough that my son makes it to the NBA, and I’m still here, then I’ll circle that one.=

Oddest thing today:

“I just had some butterflies coming in. It’s like I said, I played some great basketball here with my teammates. I miss my teammates more than anything. The camaraderie we had and the guys that’s still here and the guys that’s not even here like Shane [Battier] and Ray [Allen], and I still have Mike [Miller] with me and [James Jones]. But all the guys, we built something that will last forever.”

Feel bad the Heat is struggling?

“No.”

Get together with Dwayne Wade on Christmas Eve:

“No dinner but got together for sure.”

Is there one place he had to go in Miami upon being back?

“Yeah, to see D-Wade.”

On Varejao injury:

“It’s tough. It hurts our team, but more than anything it’s tough on him. It seems like he can’t catch a break on injuries and I know he was looking forward to this season. He is a great friend of mine and I the fact that his season was taken away from him like that. We need guys to step up.”

On Miami fans wanting public thank you:

“I gave everything and more to this city when I was here. I would never disrespect this city, or the franchise, or any of my teammates. Everything is professional. I gave it all. That’s all I can do.”

Has he spoken to Pat Riley?

“No, I haven’t. If the opportunity presents itself I don’t mind, but I don’t know what his mindset is.”

Ever think of ‘what if’ had he stayed?

“No, I can’t do that anymore. I can’t live in the past or live with regrets. I got to live in the future or live in the present moment, and, you know, what do you guys want from me? I go out and play the game of basketball at a high level no matter uniform I’m in, no matter what city I’m in, you know. I’ll give you guys one huge press conference when I’m done with this and you guys can ask me anything, but for now just try to appreciate what I do on the floor.”

Would he like to see his jersey retired in Miami?

“It doesn’t matter. That’s an organizational thing. If they feel like I did enough to be up in the rafters with my jersey retired, I’ll be here when they put it up. If not, I’ll be home.”

On relationship now with Heat organization:

“I mean, I don’t know. I moved to another organization, so my relationship is where it stood before, but if not I don’t mind it as well. I’m here in Cleveland, I’m back home and I’m feeling good.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem want Josh Smith in Miami

The Rockets are considered frontrunners to sign free agent Josh Smith when he clears waivers on Wednesday, but that didn't stop Heat co-captains Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem from expressing interest in the player.

Wade and Haslem would like Smith to join Miami and help fill in for injured power forward Josh McRoberts. Smith was released by the Pistons on Monday and is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday. McRoberts underwent season-ending knee surgery on Monday, and the Heat applied for the Disabled Player Exception in hopes of using $2.6 million on Smith.

“He’s an amazing talent,” Haslem said. “He definitely could help us. He’s another big guy who can handle the ball and make plays similar to what Josh can do.”

Smith fell out of favor with Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy, but Wade said Smith could thrive in the right environment. His implication, of course, is that Miami is the right environment for the free-shooting forward.

“My initial thoughts with Josh Smith is the same as anyone’s initial thoughts,” Wade said. “He’s a very talented guy who can, in the right situation and right place, can help a team and a team can help him.

“From there, he has a decision to make. A lot of teams will be open arms for a guy like that and we’re no different, but that’s pretty much all I’ve got to say about that until the decision is made.”

The Heat would need to release a player to make room for Smith on the 15-man roster. Rookie Andre Dawkins and second-year pro Justin Hamilton could be released to make room for Smith. Both players are in one-year contracts.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Here's that huge put-back dunk by James Ennis against the Celtics

Heat rookie James Ennis had 16 points off the bench in the Heat's 100-84 victory against the Celtics on Sunday. Dwyane Wade was out with a sore knee, so Ennis received minutes at backup shooting guard and made the most of the opportunity. He had 10 points in the fourth quarter, including two three-pointers and this monster put-back dunk.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What are the Heat's options with Josh McRoberts possibly out for the season?

Josh McRoberts will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus this week, which means he could be out for the remainder of the season. Considering McRoberts was one of the Heat's most important free-agent signings this summer, the impact of this injury will reverberate for the rest of the season.

How bad is it for the Heat right now? Well, consider that Dwyane Wade offered these thoughts last night before he knew about McRoberts' injury:

— "We would love to play with all our guys right now and give ourselves a chance, but we can't — we can't," Wade said. "That's not in the cards for us to do right now."

— "Right now, beginning of the year, end of the year — we're going to need everybody," Wade said. "We're not strong enough to be without someone. Our team is build to play together, and we haven't had that opportunity, so it's very unfortunate."

 

The Heat's outlook seems bleak, but all is not lost with McRoberts gone. After all, he never was really around this season to begin with. That said, the Heat will need to make some adjustments to overcome the loss. Erik Spoelstra had big plans for McRoberts — and still does, presumably — but all that is now on hold until most likely next season. Even if McRoberts rejoins the team for the playoffs, it's not as if the Heat will be in a position that late in the season to make major changes to its system. So, what's next?

Well, in the short term, the Heat has little with which to work. Chris Bosh has a strained calf and Dwyane Wade is still suffering from the illness that has been passed around the locker room in recent weeks. Bosh is out for Tuesday's game in Brooklyn — and could be out a few weeks — and Wade is questionable. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said on Monday that Wade might not even travel to Brooklyn. At this point, Wade is probably better served getting healthy than playing through an illness, but he did make the trip to Brooklyn.

So, where does that leave the Heat?

Miami was already thin in the frontcourt before McRoberts' injury, so adding another big is certainly being considered. Hassan Whiteside was recalled from Sioux Falls on Monday, and he'll likely play heavy minutes on Tuesday against the Nets. Making matters worse for the Heat, center Justin Hamilton bruised his quad on Sunday against the Bulls and is questionable against the Nets. That's a short-term problem, though. Long-term the Heat could use another power forward beyond Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen.

If McRoberts remains out for the rest of the season, the Heat could use an injured-player exception to sign a big. The team would have to cut a player to make that work, though, and the Heat has already made a commitment to developing talent.

Fans are already asking about protected draft picks and tanking this year, but that's not the Heat's style. (In case you're wondering, the Heat's first-round pick is Top 10 protected.) The Heat is going to fight for a playoff spot, and a low seed is still very much in play for this team. Wade said it best on Sunday night before he even knew about McRoberts' injury: "You're in the Eastern Conference. You're not that far out."

More on Chris Bosh's injury

Heat forward Chris Bosh indicated after Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bulls that he could be out for a while. The Heat plays the Nets on Tuesday in Brooklyn and Bosh is doubtful for that game, but he could be out a few weeks.

Bosh missed the game against Chicago with a strained calf, and he's not sure when the injury occurred. That's troubling news. Bosh hadn't missed a game this season until Sunday, and he pointed to simple "wear and tear" as a possible reason for the strain. He added that precaution and rest are the two most important things for him right now. If he tries to play through the injury, he said it could worsen and "the muscle could tear away from the bone."

"It's disappointing," Bosh said. "Usually you know when something gives and you kind of feel it over the course of a game and you can point to a specific play when you felt something tweak, or whatever, but unfortunately that didn't happen for me. I guess it's a wear and tear thing. It kind of sprung up on me, and you just have to deal with the tough times right now."

Bosh was a glorified role player over the last four years, which allowed him to maintain his body a little easier. He averaged fewer than 30 minutes per game to begin last season, but his minutes are closer to 36 per game now. He is the team's anchor on both offense and defense, which wasn't the case last year when he had LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to help carry the load.

Bosh said he has never experienced a "wear and tear" injury before in his career.

"And it really sucks that it's hitting me right now," Bosh said. "It's just, I don't know, it seems to be a dark cloud over everything right now. Everything seems to be tough. We're having a tough time building the chemistry becasue we haven't had many minutes together."

Wade was the Heat's primary offensive threat against the Bulls but was limited in the first half to just four points in less than 11 minutes due to foul trouble and double-teams. The Heat scored 32 points in its first half of the season without Bosh.

"If we have to play without Chris for a while, then hopefully no other guys will key on me and other guys will step up and make shots," Wade said.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Heat sends two rookies to Sioux Falls

Guard Shabazz Napier and center Hassan Whiteside both were assigned to the Heat's D-League affiliate on Saturday following the team's five-game road trip. The Heat defeated the Utah Jazz on Friday to finish the trip 2-3. Miami is 11-12 overall entering Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls.

Napier had been receiving significant minutes up until this week, but he only played three minutes against the Phoenix Suns. Napier played 13 minutes against the Nuggets on Wednesday and less than 10 minutes on Saturday in Utah. He heads to Sioux Falls averaging 5.7 points in less than 22 minutes per game.

Whiteside has appeared in three games for the Heat since being added to the roster in place of Shannon Brown.

Moving Napier to Sioux Falls might seem like an odd choice for the Heat given the timing, but keep in mind that Skyforce assistant and former Heat guard Chris Quinn is now a vital part of player development in Sioux Falls. Napier will now get the opportunity to work with Quinn one-on-one at least until he returns to the Heat's bench.


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