Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Heat's union rep Amar'e Stoudemire said Chris Bosh's health is what Players Association is 'most concerned with'

TORONTO -- Chris Bosh left Air Canada Center after the Heat's overtime victory Tuesday night with his wife Adrienne at his side and team president Pat Riley not far behind.

Outside of saying hello to a few reporters, Bosh had nothing else to say Tuesday. Really, he doesn't have to.

It's obvious now he wants back on the court and the Heat as a team aren't letting him because team doctors and his doctors aren't seeing eye-to-eye on when it will be safe for him to play again.

While that battle continues behind the scenes, Amar'e Stoudemire, the Heat's player rep, did answer a couple questions about Tuesday's Deadspin report that the National Basketball Players Association was now involved in the matter.

"I think what we're most concerned with is his health," Stoudemire said. "Health is by far the most important aspect in this situation. We just have to make sure that the doctor's orders are followed for his situation."

Stoudemire said Bosh, who hasn't played since the All-Star break, hasn't asked any players on the team to intervene.

"We haven't spoken to him about it," Stoudemire said. "But I'm sure he wants to play. That's what we do -- the players union. We're here to help. But we've got to make the right decision."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bring Bosh Back? For the first time, the family goes public

The Chris Bosh saga has largely played out in secret, a subject that Barry Jackson and I detailed in our story on Saturday.

As we wrote, there have been clear differences between the scenes as far as the course of recovery and return, with the Heat continuing to be the more cautious party.

That, however, had not even been hinted at publicly.

Until now.

Tuesday evening, Bosh's wife Adrienne added her own spin to a tweet that I'd sent to a follower during Monday's game, when I identified a situation in which the Heat really could have used Chris Bosh.

Here's the tweet:

That hashtag (#bringboshback) traveled quickly on Twitter.

And then, later Tuesday, Bosh posted a video of himself on Snapchat, shooting at AmericanAirlines Arena and bemoaning how much he misses the game.

Here's the snap:

Expect the Heat to continue to deflect questions about Bosh.

But the questions may get louder, as it becomes clearer to everyone that Bosh wants back in. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Heat's Chris Bosh part of the NBA's efforts to empower, support women

Chris Bosh and his wife Adrienne aren't just busy being new parents again to twin boys.

They're also playing a part in the #LeanInTogether public awareness campaign. In partnership with the NBA, WNBA, and the NBA's Players Association, the campaign emphasizes how men can support the women in their lives and the benefits to everyone.

Since its launch in March 2015, the #LeanInTogether campaign has reached an estimated 480 million people on social media, and millions of NBA fans saw the PSA on TV and at games. This year’s campaign, featuring the Heat's Bosh, Golden State's Draymond Green, Utah's Gordon Hayward and and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon focuses on how men can play four influential roles — All-Star Dad, 50/50 Partner, Workplace MVP, and Stand-Up Guy — to help women succeed.

Bosh shares how he and his wife, Adrienne, built an equal partnership grounded in supporting one another’s careers; Green shares how he supports his mom and why getting to equality is important; Hayward shares the importance of being an engaged father for his daughter and a supportive husband to his wife, Robyn; and Hammon celebrates her head coach’s support of her career.

At leanintogether.org, visitors can access research-based tips to help men promote equality at home as an All-Star Dad and 50/50 Partner and at work as a Workplace MVP. The tips are based on social science research on the benefits of gender equality and are augmented by articles and videos. Visitors can register to receive a tip a week via text message or email.  Men can also find articles and resources on how to promote equality everyday as a Stand-Up Guy.

“I want my wife to feel supported in her career, just like I want my daughters to grow up knowing they can be anything they want to be,” Chris Bosh said. “I’m proud to be part of this campaign because it highlights something men know intuitively—we all benefit from a more equal world.”

Friday, March 11, 2016

Everything Dwyane Wade had to say about Chris Bosh and his statement

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade didn't speak to reporters at shootaround Friday, but he answered all four Chris Bosh-related questions tossed his way Friday night after he warmed up and was cleared to play against the Bulls. 

Here's what he said:

Q: What was your reaction to the statement Chris Bosh made Thursday?
Wade: "I'm not really focused on it man. Obviously I know what Chris is going through. I know where he's at in this process. As I said from Day 1, I'm just happy he feels good and he's not dealing with what he dealt with last year. When it comes to basketball, that's down the line. If that's something that happens, that's something that happens. In this locker room we've got a job to do. I don't want us to ever get to a point where we're looking over our shoulder for Chris to come back. If he walks into that locker room and is ready to play on game day we're all going to jump up and cheer and be happy at that moment. At this time we have to forge forward and keep focusing on what we need to do. I thought the statement was great. I thought it was great for the fans to finally hear from him a little bit. Hopefully, we can stop getting asked the questions."

Q: Do you think he will make the right decision for his health?
Wade: "I don't know. It's a decision he's going to have to make. It's nothing no one else can make. I don't think about it that way. I'm sure his family and him has done everything possible to research everything that he's dealing with and seeing how he can get through it and still live a healthy life and still be able to be a professional athlete. I'm sure he's going to do all his homework. This is something serious. So I'm sure he's going to do his homework. If he decides and the Miami Heat decides it's the right thing for him to come back we'll accept him with open arms."

Q: Last year at this time you knew what was it. But this year there is uncertainty.
Wade: "Last year was hard because physically of what he was dealing with. He was sitting in a hospital, knowing how close it was to his lungs and all those things. That's tough. But now he looks like me. He's walking around. He's sweating, working out, doing different things. So you don't really get to see it like that. So it's a different mentality. I keep saying it, obviously we cannot replace having Chris Bosh on this team. We would love to have him here. But, until that point we can't focus on if he's come back or not. We have to keep focusing on what's in this locker room. When he's around we enjoy having him around. We are on this road right now and Chris ain't coming to save us on this back-to-back. We've got to figure it out."

Q: It seems like he's doing everything to be as close to ready as possible. Could he play as soon as he's cleared?
Wade: "He's a professional. He's going to do that. You can't play in the games, but you can do what you can from the standpoint of working out, in the weight room, doing whatever. So, if the opportunity presents itself for him I'm sure he won't be too far behind. He'll have to catch up with game speed and all that. But he won't be too far behind in terms of staying on top of his game."

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Chris Bosh writes new blog post, tells fan on Twitter he's 'feeling good'

Chris Bosh still has not publicly discussed the reason he's been out since the All-Star break or given any hints as to when he might rejoin the Miami Heat. 

But on Saturday we did at least hear something new from Bosh. He told a fan on Twitter he's feeling good and in another tweet said he had a good workout on Saturday.

Bosh was initially ruled out of the All-Star Game with a calf strain, but upon his return home to South Florida it was learned and widely reported that he was back on blood-thinning medication for a blood clot in his calf.

Bosh missed the entire second half of last season when a blood clot traveled to his lung. 

The Heat have declined comment on Bosh because it's a personal medical matter. The Heat simply continues to list Bosh as out without giving a specified reason.

Heat president Pat Riley said last month Bosh was "continuing to explore health options."  It's unclear if Bosh is still on blood thinners, but if he started medication for a clot experts have said he would have to stay away from physical contact and remain on meds for 3-6 months.

In the meantime, Bosh has maintained a presence on social media and in the public eye, making appearances here and there for things like his new craft beer. He's also posted photos of himself with his children. His wife Adrienne is expected to give birth to twins soon.

Bosh wrote a new blog on his website Friday about things he wished he would have known in his 20s.

 

A photo posted by Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) on

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Don't get it twisted, the Heat can shoot (in front of the 3-point line) and are just shooting more now

The Miami Heat had the best shooting night in franchise history Tuesday against the then-No. 1 field goal percentage defense in the NBA.

Yes, the Bulls are no longer the dominant defensive team they were under Tom Thibodeau and were short their two best defenders in Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah.

But Chicago, which fell from first in the league (43.2% opp. field goal percentage) to second behind the Spurs after the Heat lit them up for 129 points Tuesday, is still no pushover. And that only makes what the Heat accomplished even that more special.

Here's a look at where the Heat took and made its shots against the Bulls in its record 67.5 percent shooting night. 

Shotchart_1456928696059

Now, any team in the NBA can have one great shooting night.

For example, the only team to shoot better than the Heat in a game in the last 18 years were the 1998 Los Angeles Clippers, who shot 69.3 percent against the Toronto Raptors on March 13, 1998 in a 152-120 blowout.

You remember those loaded Clippers, don't you? That scary lineup of Darrick Martin, Lamond Murray, Rodney Rodgers, Isaac Austin and Eric Piatowski. They finished 17-65 and shot 43.8 percent for the season.

Well, this Heat team might be a little more talented than those Clippers. The impressive shooting performance Miami had Tuesday night wasn't an abberation. 

Even before the Heat went wild against the Bulls, Miami was already the 7th best shooting team in the league (46.0%).

Now, tied for 5th (46.3%) in the league after Tuesday, Heat fans really shouldn't be surprised why the team looks and feels like its playing a lot better.

All coach Erik Spoelstra and the Heat have done is speed up the pace of the offense and take more shots. That's why the Heat is scoring more.

Sure, if you look at the stats, the Heat still rank 28th in the league in scoring (97.5 per game). But since the All-Star break, Miami is averaging 108.3 points per game (9th in the league) and 88.3 field goal per attempts game (9th in league).

Before the break, Miami was averaging an NBA-worst 79.5 shots per game and just 96 points per game (29th).

So, it's pretty simple: if you can already shoot and just starting shooting more you score more.

Playing fast isn't something Spoelstra wasn't already asking his team to do earlier in the season. It's just that now -- minus Chris Bosh -- his players are actually listening to him and doing it.

This isn't an indictment on Bosh. But his disappearance after the All-Star break forced Luol Deng to move to the power forward spot, forced Goran Dragic to make his teammates get out and run with him, and forced the team to accept an 'everyone gets involved in the offense' approach.

So, the Heat, essentially has figured out after the break that it has a pretty good collection of players who know how to finish around the basket and a few who can knock down a midrange jumper (even Hassan Whiteside). They also figured out that when a defense doesn't have time to get back and set itself up in the halfcourt that only helps an offense execute better.

So, Spoelstra, who spent the first half of the season yelling at Dragic and others to push the pace, finally has believers in what he's been preaching.

"The only thing I don't want to see us do is walk the ball up the court," Spoelstra responded when asked last night if the Heat can be this type of up-and-down paced team the rest of the season. "So whatever that leads to..."

"There were a couple times [Tuesday night] Goran walked it up and I said to him, screamed at him. 'No you be you. Make them run with you. Let's get this ball up court,' " Spoelstra said before delving deeper into his offensive philosophy.

"Even if it's in the halfcourt and we're getting into a set, I want to execute it with time on the clock," he continued. "We want to put constant pressure on the defense, be able to attack and do it while they’re -- hopefully more time than not -- on their heels. If we face someone when a defense gets totally set and they're waiting for us -- even with great spacing -- our execution would have to be at another level, which we're getting to. But I want to play with pace and make sure guys are getting to their spots and sharing the ball.”

Sounds simple enough doesn't it?

Even if the Heat don't have great three-point shooting (they are dead last at 31.9%), this approach of taking high percentage 2-point shots and being able to convert at a higher rate than many other teams in the league can be a successful formula if the Heat continue to play a high level of defense. 

After all, there's only one Steph Curry in the league and only so many Warriors and Spurs to go around.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dwyane Wade will be a game-time decision Monday vs. Pacers

Dwyane Wade's name was back in the Heat's projected lineup for Monday's game against the Pacers.

But the 12-time All-Star, who felt discomfort in the back of his left knee last Wednesday late in practice and has missed the Heat's last two games, will still be a game-time decision coach, Erik Spoelstra said.

"He's feeling better," Spoelstra said. "He was able to get through a workout yesterday. He was able to go through [Monday morning's shootaround]. But he still has to go through his process before the game."

Barring an unexpected setback, odds are Wade will be back in the starting lineup for the Heat. Miami is 4-1 this season when Wade hasn't played and has averaged 101.2 points offensively when he's been out. 

How much of the Heat's fast-paced offensive style in Friday and Saturday's wins still be incorporated with Wade in the lineup?

"This pace that we've been trying to develop that we think is a better fit for our aggressiveness, this started when Dwyane was here," Spoelstra said. "So he adds to that. That type of versatility he brings, we need it. But if he can't go tonight, then the guys aren't feeling sorry for themselves. We'll forge ahead."

> A Heat spokesman said Monday during shootaround the team still does not have an update on Chris Bosh. He remains out with a blood clot in his left calf and spent last week seeking further evaluation on if and when he might be able to return this season. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

What makes sense and what doesn't when it comes to trade speculation and the Heat

The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. and the rumor mill involving the Heat began spinning a little harder Monday.

First, New York Daily News NBA writer Frank Isola reported that Dwight Howard could be moved by Thursday's trade deadline and that Miami was talking with the Rockets about a deal that would include center Hassan Whiteside

Then, later in the afternoon, Houston-based radio reporter Adam Spolane said the Hawks were also are involved in the Heat/Rockets discussions and Miami had discussed sending Goran Dragic as part of that deal, with Al Horford and Jeff Teague coming to Miami. 

All of that made for great radio and lots of fun on Twitter and on ESPN's NBA trade machine.

But does any of it make any sense?

Here are a few things you need to remember first before you dive headfirst into all Heat trade chatter:

> Even though Heat president Pat Riley, 70, told TNT last week he wants to win now and he's "getting too old to win down the road," the Heat are $20.2 million over the salary cap, $5.6 million over the luxury tax threshold (Miami is trying to avoid becoming a repeat tax offender) and don't have much in the way of assets that could net them a significant weapon in return unless Miami is willing to part ways with Luol Deng (he's a free agent in 2016-17), Dragic (he's due another $70.2 million over the next four seasons) or rookie Justise Winslow.

> Although Miami is willing to listen to offers for everyone except All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, parting with Winslow at this point would be mortgaging the future again. The Heat has already traded three first round picks (2016 to Philadelphia; 2018 and 2021 to Phoenix) and four second round picks (2016 and 2020 to Boston; 2017 to Atlanta; 2019 to Minnesota) and doesn't have much in the way of young talent outside of Winslow.

> Center Hassan Whiteside, meanwhile, while an intriguing prospect for any team to take a shot on, is making only $981,000. Not only would the Heat need to include other players in the trade to make it work under the salary cap financially, but those other teams could be asked by the Heat to take on a bad contract -- like Josh McRoberts (who is due $11.7 million combined over the next two seasons) -- to complete the deal. Most teams probably won't be willing to do that.

Further complicating a Whiteside trade, any team that acquires him from the Heat would still deal with the same financial contstraints Miami would if it kept him. Because Whiteside doesn't have full Bird rights, any team that tries to sign him next year when he becomes a free agent has try and fit him under their salary cap. If Whiteside had Bird Rights, the team that had him could go over the cap to keep him. So, essentially, whatever team trades for Whiteside has to know ahead of time they've got the money to resign him and -- perhaps even bigger than that -- that they trust his previous mishaps on the court aren't going to be long-term problems.

BIG PICTURE

Now, aside from all that, the Heat, sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference at 29-24, are at a bit of a crossroads.

While Wade, 34, and Bosh, who turns 32 on March 24, have played at an All-Star level to this point, they are aging. And now Bosh, who was sidelined by blood clots in his lung after the All-Star Break last season, has been sidelined again by a right calf strain, the same injury that essentially started his blood clot troubles last year.

Even with both of them healthy, it's clear this Miami team doesn't have enough three-point shooting (32.3%, 28th in league) or offense (96.0 points per game, 29th in NBA) on the roster to make a serious, deep run in the playoffs.

So Riley could opt to make a small trade and net a three-point shooter like Omri Casspi of the Kings (likely for someone like the injured Tyler Johnson) and hope that Miami somehow catches fire in the playoffs.

Then, the Heat, who have only six players signed and $48 million tied down for next season (Bosh, Dragic, McRoberts, Winslow, Jarnell Stokes and Josh Richardson), wait until free agency this summer when the salary cap expands by roughly $19-20 million, resign Wade (he told our Barry Jackson last week he wants to come back to the Heat) and make a run at a few of the top unrestricted free agents.

Those are: Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, Al Horford, Pau Gasol, Nicolas Batum, Mike Conley or (gulp) Rajon Rondo.

But if Riley can't sit idle and feels he has to swing for the fences to give Wade and Bosh a real chance this season he could opt to make one of those trades reported earlier today.

Here's why those deals could make some sense and why they don't:

DWIGHT HOWARD

If the Heat trades Whiteside to the Rockets for Howard ($22.3 million this season), they'll obviously have to include either Deng (making $10.1 million this season and a free agent in 2016) or Dragic (he's in the first year of a five-year, $85 million deal) and someone else like Chris Andersen ($5 million this year) or Josh McRoberts (due $11.7 million combined over next two seasons) to make it work financially. The Rockets might also ask for Winslow in order to take on McRoberts.

The pluses: Riley could probably rid himself of McRoberts' contract (he's signed through 2017-18) and do away with any more worries about Whiteside (some would say a win for the Heat) while also teaming Bosh and Wade up with a better offensive center for a playoff run. Howard (due $23.7 million in 2016-17) could then opt out after this season, become a free agent, and that's only going to put Miami further under the cap to make a hard run at Durant.

The minuses: Howard, 30, is on the decline. If Miami trades Dragic to get the deal done they put themselves in the same spot they were in before acquiring him -- needing a point guard in free agency. They'll also have to depend on Beno Udrih to guide them through the playoffs. The Rockets don't have any point guards to send Miami back in a trade that would fit under the cap. Patrick Beverley is making $6.4 million and Ty Lawson is making $12.4. If the trade involves Deng, it makes more sense for Miami, but doesn't seem to be a great fit for Houston.

AL HORFORD/JEFF TEAGUE

The trade that seemingly makes more sense for everyone involved is the one that sends Horford and Teague to the Heat, Howard, an Atlanta native, to the Hawks and Dragic, Whiteside and Andersen to the Rockets.

The pluses: The Heat get an All-Star in Horford, who could team up very well with Bosh in the frontcourt and would probably resign with the Heat in the off-season. The cheaper Teague (he's due $8 million this year and next) replaces Dragic, who hasn't necessarily clicked in this Heat offense. Miami has more money under the cap next season and flexibility in the future.

The minuses: None really except you are admitting the Dragic deal didn't work and are minus two first round picks for it. In the end, the Hawks seem to be losing out more than anybody. They are getting something for Horford who they could lose in free agency, but are giving up a quality starting NBA point guard and strengthening and helping a division rival. That last part is what doesn't really make sense here. Howard could opt out of his contract and sign in Atlanta anyway and replace Horford and the Hawks could keep Teague or use him in another trade to net something more.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bosh: Shooting for 3rd place in East has to be one of Heat's goals after All-Star break

Chris Bosh isn't one of those guys who likes to dish out B.S.

He's a straight shooter.

So when he was asked after Tuesday night's humbling 119-101 spanking at the hands of the Spurs where the Heat stand in the NBA heirarchy, Bosh pretty much laid it out there for what it truly is. As much as the Heat wants to believe it can be a contender, Miami just really isn't right now.

"I think we're in the middle," Bosh said. "I think if you look at the West, look at the East, I think Toronto separated themselves a little bit. The top three here in East and the top four in the West are pretty much in a league of their own. And everybody else is still trying to figure things out and trying to get over a certain hump.

"With us, we're still trying to find consistency. Not so much over weeks to week, but over a month. That's our next step. We have to put together a good stretch over weeks. We'll have the opportunity when we get back. But with that said, we're 2, 2 1/2 games out of third place. That's within reach for us. I think that's one of the goals we need to have when we come back from the All-Star break."

Finishing third wasn't the goal at the start of the season for Miami. But it pretty much has become that now. With the Cavaliers (37-14) and Raptors (35-16) way out in front now, the Heat (29-24) are essentially gunning to finish ahead of the Celtics (31-23), Hawks (30-24), Pacers (28-24), Bulls (27-24), Pistons (27-26) and Hornets (26-26) the rest of the way.

The No. 3 seed is nothing to brag about. And there's no guarantee this Heat team -- devoid of three-point shooting and so dependent on defensive dominance -- could even win a first-round playoff series.

But avoiding LeBron James and the Cavaliers in a potential second round series and having to potentially face Toronto feels like a much easier path.

As far as the schedule is concerned, the second half won't be easy out of the gate. Miami opens in Atlanta on Feb. 19 and will face five teams with winning records (Hawks, Pacers, Warriors, Bulls) among their first seven opponents.

But overall, Miami will only have to face seven opponents after the All-Star break who already have 30 wins or more (at Hawks, vs. Warriors, at Celtics twice, vs. Cavs, at Raptors and at Spurs).

Miami will also only play against 14 teams who are currently .500 or better. That's tied for second-fewest in the Eastern Conference entering Wednesday's final slate of games.

The Raptors and Bucks (20) face more winning teams than anyone else followed by the Hawks (19), Cavaliers (19), Magic (19), Wizards (17), Bulls (16) and Celtics (15).

The Heat are 6-11 this season against 30-plus-win teams and 23-13 against everyone else. If you take the Heat's winning percentage against those 30-win teams (.353) and against everyone else (.639) and do the math with the second half schedule, Miami projects to finish at 45-37.

Will that be good enough to finish third in the East?

It wasn't last year. That would have landed Miami sixth.

"There is still a lot more work to do," Dwyane Wade said. "The first half of the season we have had some good wins and good moments and I thought we had some not-so-good losses with a few bad moments here-and-there.  But we are still in it and we are still in the thick of things.”

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Heat's Chris Bosh to face a loaded field in the three-point contest

At 6-11, 235 pounds, Chris Bosh may not fit the old school discription of a lethal three-point shooter.

But he's become one in today's NBA and on Thursday he was selected among a field of eight to compete in the Three-Point Contest All-Star Weekend in Toronto.

Bosh, who ranks 47th in three-point percentage at 36.6 percent (that's seventh among the contestants), is at least three inches taller than the rest of the field which includes defending three-point champion Steph Curry (45.8 percent) of the Warriors and teammate Klay Thompson (43.4%), NBA three-point leader J.J. Redick of the Clippers (48.2 percent), Devin Booker of the Suns (41.%), Khris Middleton of the Bucks (41.2%), Kyle Lowry of the Raptors (38.8%) and James Harden of the Rockets (34.9%).

Bosh will become the seventh Heat player to take part in the event and will look to become the fifth Miami player to win it after James Jones (2011), Daequan Cook (2009), Jason Kapono (2007) and Glen Rice (1995). Miami, Boston (Larry Bird and Paul Pierce) and Chicago (Craig Hodges and Steve Kerr) have each had players combine to win the event four times, tied for the most among all NBA teams.

Bosh has connected on a team-high 78 three-pointers this season, marking the most for a single-season in his career. He shot 44.6 percent from three-point range in December, but cooled down in January (31.9%).

The Three-Point Shootout is a two-round, timed competition with five shooting locations positioned around the three-point arc. Four racks will contain four orange balls (each worth one point) and one multi-colored “money” ball (worth two points). The fifth rack is a special “all money ball” rack, which each participant can place at any of the five shooting locations. Every ball on this rack is worth two points. The players will have one minute to shoot as many of the 25 balls as they can. The three competitors with the highest scores in the first round advance to the championship round. 


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