Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Would Force Riley To The Bench?

That's the most intriguing question posed this week during our Thursday live Heat chat. If Riley-Press I've said it once, I've suggested it a million times.

Take Pat Riley for his word.

And then take it with a grain of salt.

So where does that leave you? Confused, confounded and never quite comfortable. And that's exactly where Pat likes you to be, which is what has made him one of the most rugged, respected and resourceful executives in league history.

But I do take him at his word that his coaching days are over, when it comes to regular-season NBA coaching, that is. Would he step in and try to rescue this team - and salvage Micky Arison's $330 million investment in Wade, Bosh and LeBron - at the first or second sign of adversity?


And who would blame him? But that's neither the plan nor the preferred method of operation. Erik Spoelstra will get plenty of room to do his thing with this team. At least that appears to be the case.

Spoelstra can afford to lose a game or two or three. He could even survive a few doses of uncomfortable moments with LeBron James (Chris Bosh is a go-with-the-flow-guy in this equation, so no worries there).

But Spo can not afford to lose Dwyane Wade's support and confidence. Then, and likely only then, would Pat be forced off his perch in the president's suite at AmericanAirlines Arena and swoop to the bench.

As an aside, I return from vacation the day after Labor Day and will update the blog daily as we begin our countdown to Heat training camp, which opens with media day on Sept. 27. Until then, here's another sample dose of this week's live chat ...

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1290 (Page 1 of 44)

Q: Don't you think in a couple years we are gonna have to shop for new role players because big z,j howard, mike miller, carlos arroyo and eddie house are at the end of there careers looking for one shot at a championship.Then were gonna be back at square one looking for more role players.

Answered 08/26/10 13:58:05 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: But as we saw this offseason, finding them - and getting them to come on the cheap to play with Wade, Bosh and James - won't be much of a problem. The role players beyond Haslem and Mike Miller, will likely change every year or two with this team. As long as the core is intact, the Heat should regroup and quickly.


Answered 08/26/10 13:56:01 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: All we can go by is what Pat Riley says. And he's made it clear that he has no intention to return to the bench to coach this team. He's fine where he is, guiding the franchise from the role of team president. Erik Spoelstra will be the coach ... until he's not. We'll see how strong those offseason stances are when - or if - adversity strikes this team. But there are no indications that Riley will swoop in and land on the bench. Having said that, if he does, Spoelstra likely won't stick around. He's too young, bright and respected in the league to be out of work for long.

Q: hi michael i been a heat fan for like ever now !! they need to get a speed push the ball pg asap and that can shoot where do they go too????

Answered 08/26/10 13:52:48 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: My vote? Dwyane Wade.

Q: I'm the biggest heat fan and i love us now but let say 4-5years from now wade will be 34/35.Even jordan top out at 36 n went down after. is it fair to say that we will have 2 era one as the superfriends and one as lebron team and do you think riley also maybe pitch that to the way he still can lead a team are be look at as leading a team to a championship

Answered 08/26/10 13:52:23 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Wade will be well into his 30s by the time his six-year contract expires. Bosh and LeBron will be right around 31. But I don't think anyone is thinking that far down the line just yet. There will be too much pressure to win now. If that group wins a title or three by then, the question will be whether to keep them together at the end of those deals or trade one of them while they still have some max value and start the reloading/rebuilding process. But that's a headache, of course, for another year.

Q: Hello Mr. Wallace. How come there's no coverage on NBA players such as Arroyo (who's with the Heat), Barea (Mavericks), and Balkman (with Nuggets) representing Puerto Rico in the upcoming 2010 FIBA World Championship? There seems to be a bias with the USA Team. After all, these players are NBA players who deserve the coverage because they are representing their country respectively. I'm just saying, when Carlos was with Utah and single-handedly managed the USA Team in 2004 (funny that team had Wade, Bosh, and Lebron as members I might add), the Jazz had excellent coverage, Orlando did the same for Carlos in 2006/07. What's up with the Miami Herald? Are these players not good enough for some media coverage? Thank you for what you do, keep it real!

Answered 08/26/10 13:49:28 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You make great points. Obviously, the coverage will be slanted toward the U.S. team. But there's always room to check on the players who play for the market's NBA team.

Q: I don't know much about Da'Sean Butler, aside that he apparently has a lot of potential. If he made the roster this year, would he be able to crack the rotation once healthy? Or is that something that wouldn't happen until maybe next season?

Answered 08/26/10 13:46:46 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: From a talent standpoint, he's as complete a swingman, when healthy, as the Heat has on the roster aside from LeBron and Mike Miller. But he hasn't done anything at this level yet, obviously. I don't think he'd crack the rotation this season. I also think there's still some significant time left in his rehab from knee surgery.

Q: Wade gives his team as much as Lebron and Kobe does and is as Jordanesque as those two, except Wade's shorter than all of these players including Jordan. That means Wade does more with less. Given he didn't start in the 2008 olympics, he quietly took over games and was the teams leading scorer. Now I hear Wade isn't even in the top 3 players. He's now behind Carmelo and Durant and how the olympic team needs Durant, who's bricking a lot lately, and Derrick Rose much better Lebron is though none of these players have won a championship. Only Kobe has and Kobe has always had more talented teams than Wade. My question is who's pushing this perspective in the media to doubt Wade's greatness? He's already won a gold medal as the lead scorer amongst the NBA's best, had higher shooting percentages than both Kobe and Lebron for multiple years, took home MVP honors in both the finals and the Allstar game, won a scoring title, and won a championship...To me, that sounds like a resume of a great player.

Answered 08/26/10 13:44:14 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: It is a resume of greatness. Keep in mind that these perspectives and opinions are just that. There are a lot of doubters and private agendas out there. Wade is a top 3 player in the league. I've got, based on sheer talent, Kobe, Wade and LeBron - in no certain order.

Q: What's the latest on Udonis Haslem's situation? Will he be able to play?

Answered 08/26/10 13:41:26 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There is no latest at this point. The sides are negotiating, I'm sure. If this plays out as things currently stand, it will carry right into training camp and possibly the regular season - and a huge cloud would hang over the Heat. Having said that, all sides are probably hoping for a quicker resolution.

Q: Following the Spain - USA game Sunday, commentators suggested Rudy Fernandez (Spain's PG) is likely to be shipped out by Portland after all the fuss he is making. An ESPN analyst thinks he would be a good fit for the Heat given his low $1.2M salary. Agree?

Answered 08/26/10 13:39:49 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: As it stands now, based on league rules, the only players the Heat could send to Portland in such a deal would be Mario Chalmers and/or Dexter Pittman. Would I take Rudy back for those two guys? Certainly, especially if I could convince Wade to play point guard full time. The Heat has had discussions before with Portland this offseason. Not sure if that sort of deal would materialize at this point, though.

Q: I was a little surprised when the first rookie signed was Pittman and for two years. He didn't show real well in Vegas so are the Heat looking for someone with the size to bang on Shaq, Bynum, and Howard? Thanks.

Answered 08/26/10 13:37:12 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I was surprised they signed him that fast as well. But that decision wasn't based on his play in Vegas. He signed a day or two after the team opened summer league play. That signing is based on potential impact. Pittman has surprising athleticism for a kid that size. He also eats up plenty of space and loves to bang. If nothing else, he'll body up against the big boys in the eastern conference .... eventually.

Q: Mr Wallace, how should Miami play against Celtics for the first game? How do you feel concerning the heat defense,for a lot have been said on this team potential on offense? Do you think they might take a look at Dampier as an upgrade for center?thanks a lot

Answered 08/26/10 13:35:25 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: If Dampier is available and the Heat can swing a move or two to make room for him, it can only help. I've said before that he's arguable better than any true center the Heat has on the roster right now. As far as playing style, Miami needs to get out on the open court and utilize the speed and athleticism of the Big 3. I'd like to see this team play more like Magic's Lakers back in the 1980s. Not just against Boston, but against everyone. I think you limit this team's effectiveness by playing half-court, isolation ball.

Q: Listening to all the national sports talk programs, I have heard so many ridiculous reasons as to why this Miami Heat Experiment will not work. The most absurd was the argument that the Big 3 will account for about 70 to 80 points a night, so where will the rest of the offense come from. What is the strangest reason you have heard as to why this team will not work?

Answered 08/26/10 13:32:39 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Strangest thing I've heard? That karma will somehow come back and bite LeBron in the butt and derail the Heat. Doesn't get much stranger or crazier than that, does it?

Read more:

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Punk Move? Barkley from Beasley to 'Bron

Charles Barkley is at it again. He just can't keep his mouth closed.Barkley

When the always-controversial Round Mound of Rebound took on Michael Beasley and the Heat's supporting cast last season, by referring to Dwyane Wade as "Michael Jackson playing with a bunch of Titos," it was both funny and not overwhelmingly far from the truth.

We can all admit that now. Even Dwyane Wade, who would never put down his teammates in public, knew he needed a significant upgrade around him.

Those upgrades have arrived. And Barkley still can't find a way to shut up and contain himself when it comes to the Heat. After taking on Beasley last season, Barkley has stepped up in an attempt to take down LeBron James.

During an interview with a Dallas radio station, he referred to the way LeBron handled his departure from  Cleveland to Miami as a "punk move." He also insinuated that the Heat's free agency celebration, with all the fireworks, music, stage and rock concert atmosphere was a similar "punk move."

Barkley was simply answering a question. He didn't bring his agenda to the interview. But still, his latest assault came in response to LeBron posting on Twitter the other day that he was taking mental notes of all of the Heat haters. A few weeks ago, LeBron also tweeted that Miami is essentially Team Dillinger, in reference to the legendary bank robber who rose to become the most wanted fugitive in America.

From a media standpoint, this is remarkably entertaining fodder to cover. But it's also getting to be a bit childish and overblown on both ends. LeBron taking a vacation from Twitter at this point wouldn't be a bad idea at all. I know the Heat privately would want nothing more than that right about now.

LeBron-Heat Save the drama for the season. No need to be a Twitter tough guy right now. But Barkley also is insane for stooping to that level and referring to matters as "punk moves." Where I come from, those were fighting words. The only thing worse than being called a punk back on the playground was to be called a "sissy."

Remember that? These are both grown men engaging in childish antics. Barkley and James will go down as two of the top 5-to-10 small forwards to ever play the game. You wish they played in the same era, so that we could see this feud play out on the court.

I was a guest on 640 AM's "Armando & The Amigo Show" this morning and talked extensively about this whole Barkley-Bron media brawl. Click the audio link below to hear the segment. You won't be disappointed. The discussion was lively, strong and engaging.

After you listen to part or all of it (it was a 15-minute take), feel free to post your own thoughts, regardless of where you come down on this issue. In short, I believe Barkley is a hypocrite and LeBron is being a Twitter tough guy, which is sort of weak in my opinion.

Wallace on 640AM about Barkley vs. LeBron

What's your take?

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Action Heating Up

In a span of minutes, several reports have come out about the latest moves regarding the Heat. Some are LeBron-Wade mere speculation. Some are the real deal. Either way, the Heat is prepared to strike quickly regardless of what happens with LeBron.

We try to separate the fact from fiction. 

LEBRON WATCH: The buzz continues to get stronger and stronger that LeBron will announce he's heading to the Heat to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. While ESPN is reporting that some of James' other suitors - New Jersey, New York, Cleveland and Chicago - are conceding defeat, the Heat isn't anywhere near celebrating victory just yet. There's a quiet confidence around the franchise right now - especially after any potential money issues were cleared with news that the salary-cap was about $2 million more than expected. The Heat is holding off on Bosh-Wade press conference for now until they determine whether a third seat at the table is needed for James.

BEASLEY TRADE?: Michael Beasley will have to be moved for this deal to work out with the Heat. There is one report out there that Houston, Miami, Toronto and Charlotte are working on a four-team deal in which Beasley will end up in Charlotte, Chandler will go to Houston, Toronto will get a few spare pieces and the Heat will get the coveted cap relief from Beasley's $5 million contract to clear space for James and others. At the same time, there's news out there that the Heat has offered Mike Miller a five-year contract for about $30 million. So either Wade, Bron and Bosh are serious about each taking less money to get more help. Or there are conflicting reports about the Heat shedding salary cap space while at the same time clogging it up with the offer to Beas All-Star Dunk Miller. You can look at the Miller situation two ways: It's a sign that the Heat is confident in the LeBron deal. Or, Miami knows something else and is ready to move forward with plans to round out the roster should James head elsewhere.

BOSH ARRIVAL: The newest member of the Heat arrived at MIA early Thursday afternoon. Chris Bosh initially said he planned to spend a few more days in Dallas with family and would come early if the Heat needed him. Well, I guess Pat Riley called and asked Bosh to get here. The sooner the Heat can get Bosh in front of its fan base, the better. And Bosh's arrival sort of dispels those rumors that he was headed to Connecticut to be with LeBron for that announcement tonight. Both Bosh and Wade are hopeful that LeBron comes, but they also sound like they're ready to move on to other roster targets to build as strong of a supporting cast as they can before all the goods are off the market.

OPTIONS DWINDLING?: Scratch another potential Heat target off the market now, with center Brendan Haywood agreeing to a six-year, $55 million deal to return to Dallas. Haywood met with the Heat in Charlotte last week and was being recruited to play in the post alongside Bosh, so that Bosh could stay at his desired power forward position. If LeBron comes, the Heat won't have the money to make a serious upgrade at center. But if he doesn't, that means the likes of Brad Miller and - dare we say it - Shaquille O'Neal top the list of available free agent centers at this point. So the Heat would likely shift into a recruiting battle of sorts with New York for point guard Raymond Felton and swingmen such as Miller, Josh Howard, Raja Bell and the like.

HASLEM UPDATE: Forward Udonis Haslem said he's received interest from several teams and is weighing his free agency options, including a possible return to the Heat. Speaking on ESPN's First Take show this morning, Haslem said he's interested to see how things are going to play out for the Heat in this LeBron chase. "I'm really excited for the organization, whether I'm back or not," Haslem said. "The power would definitely shift to the East. Those guys have the chance to put together a dynasty that could last the next seven, eight years."

Stay tuned. Again, the best bet to keep up with coverage of the Heat is to follow me on twitter@wallacesports

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Feast Week For Heat

While the main dish - or dishes - won't begin to arrive for another couple of weeks after the July 1 start of Bosh screaming free agency, today starts what could prove to be the next most important week of the Heat's offseason.

It's not quite "Feast Week" just yet for the Heat. That will only come once signatures from Dwyane Wade and the likes of Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer or Joe Johnson start rolling in.

But this week more than any other could very well set the table for the offseason makeover in Miami. It's been nearly two months since the Heat's season ended in that five-game series loss to Boston in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

That means you've had to endure eight weeks of sometimes senseless speculation, blogs, chats, Q&As, talking heads, tweeting hands and a lot of other gibberish from those who insist they're in the know. But the truth is, none of us are any better informed about what's about to go down in the next few days/weeks than we were when the Heat's offseason began that dreadful night in Boston.

LeBron seems to be no closer - or farther away - from making a commitment to Cleveland.

Amare is still no closer to casting his lot with Phoenix as he gets some R&R in Miami.

Bosh has gone from Miami to Houston to Dallas to Los Angeles (Lakers) to Chicago and now is supposedly on his way to Cleveland to join LeBron if the latest ramblings are to be believed. But you won't hear that from Bosh because he's tweeting on everything except his free agency.

And Dwyane is, well, still Dwyane. And that's good for Heat fans because he's the only marquee free agent who repeatedly expresses his desire to remain with his current team.

But first, there's some other business to get to this week before the madness begins in less than 10 days.

RIO RE-UPPED: The Heat got a headstart on handling its end-of-June personnel matters when it picked up Mario-magic the $850,000 option on guard Mario Chalmers over the weekend for the 2010-11 season. But the move probably raises more questions than it answers, although it was essentially a formality that Mario was going to be back in tow. Carlos Arroyo, who finished the season as the starter and is a free agent hoping to return, could be the odd man out. Pat Beverley, last season's second-round pick, will also be playing for a potential roster spot when he auditions with the Heat's summer league team in Las Vegas next month. And the Heat also has been looking hard at guards in the draft, where the team has four picks. Mario is either the intended starter at the point or the backup, which likely leaves only two PG spots available for next season. It's a position that must remain a priority in free agency for this team to avoid the merry-go-round that settled absolutely nothing last season. 

JOEL'S JUGGLE: Heat center Joel Anthony has until Thursday, the day of the draft, to decide whether to pick up his roughly $900,000 option for next season or to opt out of his contract to enter free agency. From all indications, Joel and agent Mike Higgins have struggled with the decision. But I'm told that the shot-blocking specialist is leaning toward opting out, a move the Heat expects. At a time when other minor free agents have decided to take advantage of job security and bypassed the opt-out clauses, Anthony is in a situation where he really doesn't have much to lose. If he opts out, the Heat would have to extend him a $1.1 million qualifying offer to have the right to match any outside offers to retain Anthony. If the Heat doesn't extend the qualifying offer, Anthony is free to go anywhere and get the most money he can get. In that event, it's not likely that he would receive much more than what he'd make next season if he simply picked up his option to return to Miami. And if all else fails, there's a good chance Miami would gladly take him back at the end of the summer at the salary number it was intending to pay Anthony for next season anyway. So in many ways, Joel could be in a no-lose situation, which is the reason why he'd opt out.

DRAFT (OR)DEAL: The bigger question facing the Heat entering Thursday's NBA draft isn't whether there's a bigger need, with the No. 18 pick, at point guard, swingman or center. Pat Riley and his staff have certainly kicked plenty of tires along the evaluation process. What the Heat is debating is whether anyone at No. 18 is worth eating up the $1.2 million in salary-cap space next season that could be used to potentially sweeten a deal for Joe Johnson or Carlos Boozer in free agency next month. Max guys are going to get max money on the free agency market. But for those deemed worthy of less-than-max money will be looking for as much as they can get. And an extra $1.2 million goes a long way at the Heat's negotiating table when factoring in other benefits such as no state income tax. Considering Riley's fetish for 7-footers, my hunch is the Heat keeps the pick, goes big at the draft and takes a shot at the likes Hassan Whiteside or Solomon Alabi. If there's buyer's remorse, the Heat could still package the pick in a July trade.

TRADE FRONT: And speaking of trades, don't read too much into Michael Beasley's whispers to a former Heat Mavericks Basketball TXMF101 Kansas State teammate in which he suggests he would have stayed in college four years. That's B.S. Mike hasn't stayed anywhere in his life for four years, let alone any particular school. And there's no way he'd go back and pass up the money he's guaranteed to make as the No. 2 overall pick in 2008. This is the same Beas who once said he refused to read a book coach Erik Spoelstra assigned to him because, "There's a reason I left college early, coach." Having said that, NBA life with the Heat hasn't always been enjoyable for Beasley. Adult life and the game hasn't come as easy for him at this level. Still, he's only 21 and has a world of talent and untapped potential. The same qualities that make Mike adorable to cover are also the traits that make him a headache to coach and manage sometimes. This week opens a lively trade window in which Beas could be dealt to create more cap space or to acquire veteran help at a position of need. Although Beasley has returned to Miami for workouts and discussions with Heat officials, he's been given no assurances he won't be dealt. At this point, I'm told Beasley is even bracing for a trade, although he's privately insisting he wants to make it work in Miami and doesn't want Riley to give up on him just yet.

FREE AGENT WATCH: By now, you know all of the big names: James. Wade. Boozer. Amare. Bosh. Dirk. Johnson. But if you look a bit deeper into the free agency pool, there are a number of intriguing prospects that could be added to complement a marquee addition. For the Heat, that could mean looking Mike Miller for mid-level type bargain that would come after Wade and a second max free agent are signed. Among those the Heat could find in the $3-6 million range is former Florida swingman Mike Miller. Miami has been interested before, when Miller was in Memphis. He brings the kind of shooting, ball-handling and scoring on the wing that would fit well alongside Dwyane Wade. There are questions about defense, always have been. But the Heat loses more games because of a lack of fire-power than it does because of defensive shortcomings. Even in a down year with the Wizards last season, Miller still averaged 11 points, six rebounds and four assists while shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 48 from 3-point range.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Day Of Heat, Haiti and Healing

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti - First and foremost, I'd like to thank the Heat and Project Medishare for allowing a select group of IMG00027 newspaper and television reporters to take part in a remarkable day of service, sacrifice and stunning scenes from Haiti.

There's no way to compare catastrophic tragedy and measure the impact of natural disasters. But what I witnessed in Port Au Prince on Saturday - six months after the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti - reminded me a lot of the heartache, suffering and sadness that followed Hurricane Katrina.

I've now had a ground zero experience with both, and it is something I won't forget for the rest of my life.

There was a lot of good Saturday that emerged amid the rubble of a nation still staggering from the earthquake. There was hope amid the hopelessness. The Heat donated $25,000 through its charitable fund to Project Medishare's effort to build/renovate a hospital that would move patients from tents to a structured facility.

Among the highlights from the trip ...

--Before the flight to Port Au Prince departed from Miami, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra addressed his role within the organization for the first time since team president Pat Riley left the door open for a possible return to coaching last month.

Spoelstra said he was given assurances from both Riley and Heat owner Micky Arison that he would be back next season as the Heat's coach.

"I didn't take the way everybody else took it," Spoelstra said of Riley's suggestion that he might be open to Spoelstra-Yellow returning to the bench if a prominent free agent made it a condition of signing with the Heat. "I can see how it's portrayed out there in the media. But I didn't really take it personally. Nothing's changed."

Spoelstra said part of working for "a Hall of Fame presence" in Riley is having to deal with the conjecture.

"He and Micky have given me assurances, but it's not needed," Spoelstra said. "And I've told them that."

--Project Medishare co-founder Dr. Barth Green posted up with Alonzo Mourning in the G concourse as medical supplies and staffers were being gathered for the trip Saturday. With Mourning by his side, Green discussed how the non-profit organization would use donations such as the $25,000 the Heat generated from funds raised during the team's annual family festival.

"This week, we're moving to a hospital we spent the last several weeks fixing up," Green said. "We've got state-of-the-art operating rooms. We're moving all of the supplies and will have the only ICU facility in the region. We're increasing the capacity and will be operating a 90-bed critical care hospital."

Green went on to lay out the broader plan for Project Medishare, which is to ultimately train Haitian medical staffers to run the hospitals and clinics once the buildings are restructured.

--Once Vision flight 401 touched ground at Toussaint L'Ouverture Airport, new Heat Community and Corporate Liaison Tim Hardaway was in a full sweat preparing for a day of hospital visits and touring of the region's hardest-hit areas.

"This is something that's not only needed for the people of Haiti, but also for people who might take for granted some of the things they have in life," Hardaway said. "The Heat organization and a lot of people in South Florida have a close connection with the people over here. Hopefully we can help affect peoples lives down here in a positive way, even if it's just for a day."

--In addition to Spoelstra, Mourning and Hardaway, Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay made the trip. IMG00020 Gay, a close friend of Dwyane Wade, contributed to the $1 million Wade and Mourning raised through pledges earlier this year for Haiti relief.

Gay said he wanted to do more than support the cause financially. "I wanted to come down here and see what it was all going to," Gay said. "Some of the things I'll do today, I'll keep with me the rest of my life."

On another note, Gay will be a restricted free agent on July 1. He got a close-up look at how the Heat operates on a community level and even took a couple of the tampering jokes in stride. One of the funnier moments from the trip came when Gay had to quickly duck out before a publicity photo was snapped in which Mourning, Spoelstra and Hardaway presented the Heat's $25,000 check to Project Medishare.

--On a final note from the day-long mission, Mourning left lasting impressions on just about every Zo Photo child he touched and every adult patient who clamored to touch him. As great a basketball player as Mourning was during what should be a Hall-of-Fame career, he's already eclipsed the marks he made on the court with his philanthropic deeds off the hardwood. He's putting muscle behind his money.

The demands on this man's time have to be overwhelming, but he still shows up whenever he's called to Haiti. This was his fourth trip to the country - and he was one of the first public figures on the ground days after the earthquake hit on Jan. 12.

"There's always more you can do," Mourning said as the delegation boarded the flight back to Miami after six hours of the ground in Haiti. "For me, for all of you, for a lot of people involved with this, the work is far from finished."

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

4 Takes From The Windy City

Take 1: Arroyo Speaks His Mind Carlos Playing2

It's not meant in any way as an insult. In fact, it's probably much closer to being a badge of honor. But the truth of the matter is this: The best point guard on the Heat's roster has been the one it signed off the street. Carlos Arroyo has proved time and time again that he's the best there is at the position for now, although he might not be the long-term solution at point guard.

Read more on the Herald's main sports site later about how Arroyo stood his ground by standing up to Dwyane Wade during a critical stretch in Monday's victory against the Nets. Arroyo then came right back and tossed that sick alley-oop to Wade to show that chemistry is building between them. Arroyo may be somewhat of a loner in the Heat's locker room, in part, because he Carlos-Wade-Bench doesn't necessarily gravitate to one clique or another. But he's certainly commanded the respect of his teammates because of his passion and swagger.

"I've been looking forward to this moment all year, and I'm just trying to take advantage of it," Arroyo said of his opportunity to guide the team into the playoffs as the starting point guard. "We all understand that winning is the bottom line around here. Nobody should take anything personal. This chemistry with me and Dwyane is only going to keep getting better as we play more with each other the rest of the way."

Take 2: Injury Update

The Heat had a voluntary workout in Chicago on Tuesday. But the biggest thing the team accomplished was getting plenty of treatment and rest for the growing number of banged-up players. The injury list was pretty extensive coming out of Monday's game.

Udonis Haslem, who missed Monday's game with a sprained right ankle, will be a game-time decision for Thursday's matchup against the Bulls. Haslem has played through all kinds of injuries that would have knocked most other players out of action, so you know this ankle deal has to be serious.

Wade, who sustained a bruised quad muscle against the Nets, also took extensive treatment. He sustained the injury in the third quarter, but came back to finish the game. Wade is expected to play against the Bulls, who indeed will be geared up to shut him down after the heated and physical finish in the victory against Chicago in Miami two weeks ago. Quentin Richardson and Jermaine O'Neal both had ankle injuries addressed Tuesday but are expected to play. The Heat will certainly need all of its key players available against the Bulls, who have won two in a row since getting Derrick Rose (wrist) and Joakim Noah (foot) back from injuries.

Take 3: Heat Contributes to Nets Misery

As if it wasn't bad enough that New Jersey extended its franchise-record losing streak to 14 games in Bagman Jersey Monday's loss to the Heat, the Nets took another public beating when CEO Brett Yormark foolishly got into a shouting match with a fan sitting courtside with a bag over his head.

Don't be surprised if Yormark made a martyr of the Bagman Fan. A handful of the dozen or so fans who show up for the next game will be wearing bags in protest. Considering the Nets could play most of their games in a high school gym these days because of embarrassing low turnouts, Yormark should be welcoming anyone who walks through the doors at the IZOD Center. And frankly, with the way that franchise has been going recently, it should be the front-office staff wearing the bags to hide from fans.

Take 4: Tito's Revolution

With TNT studio hosts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith scheduled to take their show on the road and broadcast from the United Center for Thursday's Heat-Bulls game, this entire Tito episode should comeBarkley to a head. Barkley and Smith have gotten plenty jabs in on the Heat's supporting cast over the past two seasons, referring to Wade as "Michael Jackson playing with a bunch of Tito Jacksons."

Michael Beasley only gave the studio crew more fuel to add to the fire with a couple of sub-par performances after he called out Barkley for making the comments. Kenny Smith even went as far as to suggest Tito - and not Beasley - should be the one offended by the reference. Someone is going to have eat crow after Thursday's game. At the very least, there should be a Tito truce. 

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wade's World - Now&Later

It's Wade's World this weekend up in Chicago. But in reality, it's Wade's world all the time these days. Wade-Hawks

As Heat star guard Dwyane Wade prepared for his upcoming weekend of charity functions in his hometown, he took a few moments during a block of promotional media interviews to discuss a number of Hot-button topics entering the start of training camp.

From confirming his decision to bypass a contract extension to whether a Chicago homecoming would be too hard to resist next summer to his reaction to Michael Beasley's drug rehab stint, Wade (pictured right, soaring) covered plenty of ground. We reserved majority of his comments on his contract decision for a story that will run in Thursday's paper and appear online in a matter of minutes.

The rest is here. Dig in. There's plenty.

MW: Training camp will be here in a matter of weeks. You've been on the go quite a bit this summer. Are you ready to get it going again?

DW: The main thing is you want to come into camp early and make sure everyone is on the same page, mentally and physically. There's still a little more business I have to take care of, but I'll be there to get it going in the next week or so. It's going to be a little bit different for me this year than it was last year.

MW: You managed to make it through almost the entire season last year without any significant injuries. There were a few times when you were banged up and sore. Were there any lingering injury issues that had to be addressed, through surgery or otherwise, this offseason?

Wade-Training DW: I've pretty much maintained the same approach I had last summer (by) treating some of the nagging things I had, whether it was the shoulder or the hip (late last season) or things like that. Tim (Grover, pictured left, working with Wade) made sure again that I took care of those things and continued to get stronger without necessarily putting on a lot of muscle. I can put on muscle easily, but I didn't want to get any bigger.

MW: Has that muscle mass, or trying to avoid putting on more weight, been a problem? Do you expect to report at or about the same weight you were last season?

DW: About the same. Last year, I was about 228 pounds. Everybody keeps thinking I'm supposed to be 212 or something, which I was six years (ago). I haven't been that in years. You build muscle and strength as you go. But I feel strong and quick at 228, with six percent body fat, to make sure I can go all season.

MW: Shifting away from basketball for a second. I noticed the caller ID says Temple of Praise, which is the church you bought for your mother, Jolinda, a couple of years ago. How is that ministry going and how has it evolved over the two years?

DW: It really has grown. It means a lot to my family and a lot of other people who have come through the doors since we opened. When I bought it, it was just a church. But now it's also place that has expanded into a school. My mother got her license to teach and the doors have opened to young people and adults who have a learning environment to grown in a lot of different areas and subjects. People who never had an opportunity to learn to read or do other things can come here. It's a place we're really proud of, a blessing.

MW: A lot of focus has been on sort of the inactivity of the Heat's roster this offseason. But in another way, you guys have been really active in different communities off the court. You've talked about your foundation expanding, Daequan Cook spoke at a graduation for a rehab program and dedicated his basketball camp to a kid who was killed in a car accident, Udonis Haslem went to impoverished areas of Jamaica to hand out school supplies for four days, James Jones helps people stay in their homes, Jermaine O'Neal does plenty of things behind the scenes, and so on.

DW: We talk about that a lot as teammates. And the thing is, none of it is really for show. None of it is for the TV cameras or to get a lot of recognition. That's what this team, this organization has been about. You basically have choices as a player. You can play basketball, make all of your money and just go retire. Or you can do those things and try to make a difference and help other people. I was proud to see Daequan and some of the young guys really get involved. We try to build on what we're all doing.

MW: Legal issues (divorce proceedings and civil lawsuits) forced you to miss practice time in camp and a few times during the season. Have any of those matters been resolved? Or might you have to miss time here and there this season to deal with some lingering issues?

DW: Let's just say that it's in a better position now than it's been. It's there and it's probably going to be there, but I'm over it and it's behind me. Last year I was over it. It's not going to be a big issue to me, because I'm behind it. But the Heat has been great about giving me time to deal with things. It's a possibility (missing more time), just for the fact that it's not all complete yet. My team understands.

MW: Pat Riley said the other day that you were one of the first players to reach out to Michael Beasley Beasley-Wade after he was forced to spend more time in rehab. I realize you can't address specifics, but what's been your role in dealing with Beasley (right, celebrating with Wade) through this ordeal. And how has it affected the trust between you two?

DW: I reached out to Mike, and my message to him was that we all make mistakes. Everybody else's mistakes just aren't seen all the time. I just told Mike to come in and accept the mistakes that he's made and come into camp and try to make something positive out of it.

MW: A lot was made out of your comments earlier this summer about upgrading the roster. Do you believe in this roster and can this team at least make it back to where you were last season, in the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the East?

DW: It remains to be seen, just like with all of those teams that made all of those changes. I have confidence that our guys have been working hard and getting better. I've seen Jermaine almost every day up here working. We just have to come together early and don't come in thinking about the individual things that everybody may have on their minds. It's going to be tough, even tougher. But that just means we have to get it done early and get it rolling. 

MW: And last, but not least, you sent a Twitter message today saying that Jay Z belongs right alongside Tupac and Biggie as the greatest rappers of all time. I've gotta call you out on that a bit. Jay is a beast. But he has the luxury of being in an era where there's really no competition for him out there. Whereas Biggie had Pac, Pac had Nas, Cube had to deal with NWA, then there was Snoop, Scarface out of Houston. I'm just saying. The field of greatness was much deeper than it is now. Jay is like Mayweather, who is clearly dominating now. But Mayweather never had to fight in that era with Sugar Ray, Tommy Hearns, Hagler, Duran, Sweet Pea Whitaker, Julio Cesar Chavez and them.

Wade-JZDW: Right, right. But when you look at all that Jay has done, you have to put him up there. He doesn't have to fight. But what he's doing now, everything he's touching, he's taking it to another level. Don't get me wrong. I've got Pac as the greatest who ever did it. Then, I think, Biggie is second. But Jay (left, pictured with Wade) is right up there. People think I'm saying this just because I know him. I know a lot of these guys out there. I'm always going to rep the Chi - Common, Kanye. But when you look at who is doing what now, you've got to put Jay at the top. Then, you've got to go Lil Wayne and Kanye after that, and more after that. When you look back 10 or 20 years from now, just like we're doing with Biggie and Pac, people are going to be talking about Jay Z like that. 

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blount Out, Q-Rich In. What Now?

So what does Thursday night's trade mean for the Miami Heat? Quentin Richardson

That Heat president Pat Riley is still operating on West Coast time, for one thing. The Heat announced at 11 p.m. Thursday that it had dealt seldom-used center Mark Blount back to Minnesota in exchange for veteran swingman Quentin Richardson.

The deal also means plenty of other things for the Heat. Let us count the ways.

1. Pat Riley finally made an offseason move that could improve the team a bit next season. The Heat had been one of only two teams in the league to stand pat with regards to making a new veteran addition to its roster this offseason.

2. The move brings better balance to Miami's roster. Blount was one of four centers on a roster that was all too thin on the perimeter, particularly at point guard.

3. Richardson could challenge for the starting small forwardspot or provide a nice boost off the bench. He is a career 11.5 ppg. scorer who added five boards a game over the course of his nine-year career.

4. This has to make Wade at least a wee bit happy. Not that Q-Rich makes the Heat a title contender next season (he doesn't). But he is good friends with Wade and can ease some of Wade's frustrations and questions about the roster heading into free agency.

Richardson-Wade 5. The Heat does move a couple million more into luxury taxterritory. Blount and Richardson both have contracts that expire next summer, but by sending out Blount's $7.9 million and taking back Richardson's $9.3 million (as a team already in the tax), the Heat moves from about $2 million to about $5 million deeper into the tax based on Riley's recent estimates.

6. This move has no affect on the Heat's priorities to maintain significant cap space for 2010, when it hopes to resign Wade to a six-year, $120 million contract and also add another top-tier free agent from a class that could be highlighted by LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson.

7. There still is a need at point guard, unless Wade is committed to playing a lot of minutes at that position again. In that case, the Heat could go with a big backcourt with Wade and Richardson in moments when Mario Chalmers is on the bench. Otherwise, there is still a need for point guard help. Chalmers and Chris Quinn are all that's there on the roster at that position.

8. Considering the slightly higher luxury-tax bill, this could be the unofficial end to any interest the Heat had in acquiring Allen Iverson. There already were concerns about potentially getting everyone enough shots before Richardson came aboard. Iverson, a pure scorer, won't be needed as much. But Jamaal Tinsley and Flip Murray (or anyone capable of being a pure point guard) could still be added for the NBA-funded veteran's minimum.

9. Now that Richardson is a member of the Heat, the Southeast Division now boasts the most-traveled player (Richardson, four teams in one summer) and coach (Larry Brown, coached nine different teams).

10. Those minutes at small forward that were supposed to go Michael Beasley's way might be a bit less availableif he's unable to improve his perimeter defensive skills. On top of that, James Jones, Daequan Cook and Dorell Wright may have just fallen farther back in line in the rotation pecking order.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer of Elightenment

Yes, the wait for Lamar Odom on the free-agent front continues for the Miami Heat.

No, not everyone in the organization is sitting around waiting on pins and needles for that decision. SPO-Coach

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is half a world away in the Philippines, in the midst of a near two-week trip to his mother's homeland to conduct clinics and basketball camps with the country's youth. Spoelstra, 38, returned to the Philippines for the first time in 35 years.

Had a chance to catch up with the soon-to-be second-year Heat coach during a conference call Thursday morning. It was 10 a.m. on this end, but it was 10 p.m. where Spoelstra was speaking from a dinner meeting with various dignitaries and basketball officials.

The conference call was set up under one condition by the Heat: That Spoelstra wouldn't have to address the free-agency frenzy that has engulfed the team amid its wait for the Odom situation to be resolved.

Instead, Spoelstra talked at length about how enlightening this trip has been for him, given the chance he's had to reconnect with one side of his roots some 6,000 miles away. Spoelstra is the first coach in NBA history to be of Filipino heritage. Spo hasn't reached Manny Pacquiao level when it comes to the natives. But he's gaining ground. Especially after this trip, where he's been on the go teaching and inspiring both young and old from 7 a.m. until nearly midnight each day.

"I have a great deal of pride about my heritage," Spoelstra said. "I've been able to reconnect with family, some I haven't seen since I was three years old. To be able to come here - 6,000 miles away is a special feeling."

Spoelstra made the trip with Heat assistant coaches Dave Fizdale and Chad Kammerer. They've crossed the country to speak to government officials and instruct youth, college and pro basketball players. Spoelstra has chronicled the trip in blog entries posted on the Heat's web site. One of the things that surprised Spoelstra the most was the knowledge of the NBA at every age over there.

"They know about the (Heat's) free agent possibilities and trades," Spoelstra said. "So we started asking them questions. Who has the most titles among NBA players? One kid raised his hand and said, 'Bill Russell.' Another said, 'He has 11.' We were blown away by that."

Spoelstra and the staff are scheduled to return to Miami on Aug. 3 to oversee another set of intensive offseason workouts for the Heat's younger players. The team already completed one session earlier this month. 

"The guys are coming back the first week of August ready to work," Spoelstra said.

Maybe there will be a Lamar resolution, with Odom in tow by then. 

Then again, at this rate, maybe not. 

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Heat Tidbit or Two

As the Heat's coaching staff wraps up the final written stages of its player evaluations from the season, figured we'd check in with you on an update or two from the roster.

Jermaine O'Neal- He's recovered from the concussion symptoms that sidelined him for the final games of the first-round series loss against the Hawks. J.O. has been cleared to resume workouts, but, like New Jermaine most players, will take a couple of more weeks off before he starts his offseason program. Jermaine still has plans to split the summer working out with the noted trainer Tim Grover in Chicago and Joe Abunassar in Las Vegas to regain strength in his knees and legs. Apparently, O'Neal's knee problems were a bit more serious when he arrived in the trade than everyone let on. Pat Riley even admitted that O'Neal had to have the knee drain three times in the final two months of the season. 

The Heat plans to monitor O'Neal's workouts closely, either by sending staffers with him when he goes out of town or by offering to bring O'Neal's outside specialists to Miami. The approach will be similar to last summer, when Dwyane Wade chose to work out away from Miami (but under Heat supervision). The hope is that O'Neal's results are as rejuvenating as they were for Wade.

Udonis Haslem- No major updates and development here. But internal reports are that Haslem won't require any medical procedure for his back. Haslem sustained a severe bruise midway through the season and played the final three months with spasms. He feared he might need to have some form of surgery or procedure, but those fears were erased after the season. He was told rest was all he'd need, and has been instructed to stay as far away from a basketball gym and associated activities as much as possible for about a month. Word is Haslem's focus and tolerance level for pain are unlike any other player that has come through the franchise.

Luther Head- The free agent guard is scheduled to have the cast removed from his left hand by the end of this week. Head missed the final month of the season after he broke a bone in his hand while reaching in against Dwight Howard during a March game against the Magic. Had the Heat advanced past the first round, Head and the team likely would have taken a more aggressive approach with his rehab and cast removal. But after the first-round exit, there was really no reason to rush it. Head would still like to stay with the Heat, but said he understands the "wait-and-see" approach the Heat takes with its own free agents at the initial stages of the offseason.

Daequan Cook- The shoulder problems that slowed Daequan Cook toward the end of the season were considered muscle strains that would improve with rest. The time off he will get before he resumes an Cook Shooting intense off-season workout regimen with several other teammates should allow enough time for him to heal. Cook was discouraged and confused about his shoulder problems, especially in light of what happened last summer when he jammed a shoulder during offseason drills. That injury kept him out of the initial stages of the offseason program and summer league last season. He simply hopes it's not a chronic situation and plans to report back to Miami early next month healthy and ready to go. Also, Cook recently was the guest speaker at graduation ceremonies for a drug treatment program in his native Dayton, Ohio. Cook told a group of young graduates to be careful about the choices they make in the future and also told the story of how one of his grandmothers died from an apparent overdose.

Jamaal Magloire- Big Cat just wants to set the record straight one more time. "I love it here and would like to come back and finish what we started," Magloire, the free-agent center, said before he made plans to spend a few weeks back home in Toronto. Once O'Neal arrived in the trade, Magloire soon settled into his role as a productive backup who provided energy, rebounding and a general pounding in limited minutes. Magloire, a former All-Star, knows he's well beyond his prime. But he also knows he's tired of bouncing around the league at this stage of his career and is willing to accept another modest contract. He would prefer two years, but also understands the year-to-year approach Pat Riley is taking.

Also, as the focus shifts toward preparing for the draft (Miami has two late second-round picks - for now), there also is an eagerness from the coaching staff to get started on the offseason program that will target Cook, Mario Chalmers, Dorell Wright, Michael Beasley and, to an extent, O'Neal. Part of the plan, as Riley mentioned in his postseason exit session comments a few weeks ago, will include what might amount to scrimmage sessions against players from other teams who are in their own offseason programs. The workouts could include twice-daily sessions, with the mornings set aside exclusively for Wade-ZO conditioning and fundamental work, with the evening set up for on-court team development.

One final note, Wade and Alonzo Mourning have scheduled a press conference later this week to talk about this year's "The Summer Groove (my bad, I first had Grove by mistake)." Notice that no one's name is listed in front of the event. It will be the first time Zo's name hasn't been out front since he started it a dozen years ago. It's all part of the plan for Zo and Wade to sort of co-market the event, with Zo still maintaining a heavy role in the successful charity efforts. It is officially called The Summer Groove, hosted by Zo and D. Wade.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @



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