Tag:Dwyane Wade
Posted on: March 20, 2009 11:28 pm
 

D-Wade back; Heat not

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Somebody wearing a black No. 3 Miami Heat jersey was back in action Friday night, but it wasn't Dwyane Wade.

Not the real one, anway.

"Little off on the timing," Wade said after the Heat squandered another important road game, falling 96-88 to the Nets, who didn't have Devin Harris. "Little off, but I felt all right."

Wade, returning after missing his first game of the season Wednesday night in Boston to rest his ailing hip, filled up the box score as usual with 27 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in 39:11. But he didn't attack the basket as fearlessly as usual and didn't have his typical explosion.

"Nah, not usual," Wade said. "But at this time of the year, what’s usual? I felt all right. I got to the basket some. I had some lift on my jump shot."

Now the Heat need a lift, and fast. It was their third straight loss, and they're 1-6 on the road since the All-Star break with eight of their final 14 games guess where? On the road. If Wade is out of gas, the Heat are done.

"It’s not scary," Wade said. "It’s a part of the game. We’re a young team. We’ve got to find a way to win games. It’s no secret. It’s going to be tough. We’re in the fifth spot right now, but in a week’s time, if you don’t get it together, you could be in the eighth or out of the playoffs."

Miami is tied with Philadelphia in the loss column for the fifth seed, with the Pistons -- Sunday's opponent at the Palace of Auburn Hills -- only two games back.

"We understand what position we’re in, but guys gotta play with a little more sense of urgency right now," Wade said. "This is not the beginning of the year. Hopefully we can light the fire under guys to understand where we’re at right now."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was concerned after the game, and he should've been. Miami's plan to steal four days of rest and treatment for Wade's hip by giving him Wednesday night off in Boston was supposed to have rejuvenated him. Instead, Wade came back tentative and lacking the acceleration and lift that has vaulted him into the MVP discussion despite playing on such a middling team.

"This is totally disappointing to me," Spoelstra said. "We played about a quarter-and-a-half of real competitive, good basketball."

If ever the Heat needed Wade to carry them -- and he's carried them since Shaq left -- the time is now. The problem is, all the basketball he played in the summer and the wear and tear of lugging his team on his back may have caught up to him. Wade looked tired Friday night ... after four days off. And there's no more time for rest. Miami has four games in the next five nights, three of them on the road -- and two of those against teams (Indiana and Chicago) desperate to fight their way into the playoffs.

Does Wade have anything left? If not, neither do the Heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: NBA
Posted on: March 18, 2009 6:39 pm
 

Quick, call an ambulance for the Celtics

BOSTON -- I'm here in Beantown to witness the systematic destruction of the defending NBA champions.

First, the injury news: Leon Powe, Boston's best interior player in Kevin Garnett's absence, could miss "a couple of weeks" with a sprained right knee, coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday night before the Celtics' game against the Miami Heat. Ray Allen also is out with a hyperextended elbow. Glen "Big Baby" Davis returns to the starting lineup after missing the past three games with a sprained ankle. Rajon Rondo also is struggling with a sprained ankle, and will be doing so for the rest of the season.

And those weren't even the news flashes. Rivers seemed decidedly less optimistic that Garnett would return Friday at San Antonio or Saturday at Memphis. And he conceded the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference to Cleveland before the game, saying, "We're not gonna catch Cleveland."

Now the Celts have to put themselves back together in time to hold off Orlando for the second seed.  

Oh, by the way: Dwyane Wade is out Wednesday night with a strained right hip flexor. This was the only piece of news that made Rivers smile.

"He should never play, ever again, against us," Rivers said. "It's a Marquette thing."

Shoot, at this point, Marquette could beat both the Celtics and the Heat.

I'm kidding, of course, but the race for the top three seeds in the East has turned into a contest to see which team can dress eight healthy players. Cleveland absorbed a blow, too, on Wednesday with news that Wally Szczerbiak will miss 2-3 weeks with a sprained left knee.

Anyone in favor of a shortened regular season?

 

 

 

 

Posted on: March 11, 2009 5:48 pm
 

Geez, Berger: Hating on my MVP pick

We're going to try something new here in the 'Sphere. Your comments in the blog and at the end of my columns are pretty self explanatory. Not always printable, but self explanatory. Those of you who take the time to send an email deserve a quick response. So I'm going to be responding more frequently to my, um, "fan mail," and I use that term loosely. So here's the latest batch of emails beamed from the mother ship in Fort Lauderdale. Geez, tell me what you really think ...

Bubbs writes of my take on the Celtics: "That's somewhat true of Rondo. But the Celtics only will go as far as Paul takes them, just as I said last year. He plays up to the level as a great player, we can't be beat. If he plays soft, laid back, just trying to fit in, we can't win against the great teams."

Hey, Bubbs. Congratulations. When did you sign with the Celtics? And here I thought Marbury was their only big acquisition. Seriously, you make a great point about Pierce. Despite his heroics in the playoffs and Finals last year, somehow he isn't regarded nationally as being on the same level as the top stars. But the more I watch him, the more it becomes apparent that I can count the players I'd rather give the ball to on the last possession of a tight game on four fingers: Kobe, LeBron, Wade, and Dirk. When he's on and it's crunch time, very few are better.

Jim M. writes of my take on the MIT stats conference: "Very interesting article. Could you give me more info about this? For example, what statistical criteria do they use and why?"

Thanks, Jim. There's no short answer to your question except to say that the sophisticated teams are analyzing positively everything. Their goal is to attempt to quantify things that, on the surface, don't seem quantifiable. The best example is defining clutch play. Some of the smart people I spoke with at MIT seemed OK with the clutch-play rankings at 82games.com, which define clutch time as the last five minutes of regulation or overtime with neither team ahead by more than five points. They key thing to remember is that there are multiple factors that determine the outcome of games, possessions, and the multiple chances to score that occur within possessions. For example, going back to the notion of whether or not shooters have hot streaks: The numbers show that when a player made his last jump shot, he's more likely to 1) shoot his team's next shot, 2) shoot it sooner in the possession, and 3) shoot a more difficult shot. To get the purest interpretation of these results, you have to consider that there may be more than one reason why the ensuing shot is more difficult. On one hand, the player (let's say Kobe) might be inclined to take a more difficult shot because he thinks he's feeling it. But the defender may be forcing him to take a more difficult shot because he's aware that the last one went in. The variables are almost endless, but the teams that utilize all the tools and data at their disposal, in my opinion, have a higher probability of having success. Unless they're the Clippers.

John W. takes issue with my take on the Celtics: "Oh by the way ... it was a good 1-1 weekend for the Cavs, also. Don't be so biased. You sound like a Republican in the presidential race. Try to be a little more, uh, talented."

You betchya, John! I'll try! And if somebody thinks I have a pro-Celtics bias, then I must be doing my job.

Bebeto disagrees with my assertion that the Magic won't beat the Cavs or Celtics in the playoffs: "Voila, Ken: That is why you are a non-quality writer."

According to Wikipedia, Jose Roberto Gama de Oliveira -- a.k.a. "Bebeto," is a former Brazilian soccer (a.k.a. "football") player who led Brazil to the 1994 World Cup. Spelled differently, it also means "little baby" in Spanish. 

Bryan says LeBron should still be MVP, not D-Wade: "Ken, seriously. I just had this debate on a CBS message board. LeBron didn't win last year even though his stats were better than Kobe's, because Kobe was on a better team and LeBron didn't win 50 games. This year, LeBron's stats have been almost as good, if not better, and his team is much better. I love D-Wade too, but he is this year's LeBron James from last year ... and LeBron is this year's Kobe. His team is much better; D-Wade won't win 50 games, and you even said it yourself ... the numbers are very comparable. If you didn't vote for him last year, LBJ has to get it this year based on those same criteria. You can't take it from him both years."

Thanks, Bryan. Sound reasoning and a perfect example of why this year's MVP vote will be even more difficult than last year's.

Chris Fanguy says don't forget about CP3: "Leaving Chris Paul out of the league MVP talk is a crime. He is the whole New Orleans team and is having a BETTER year this year than his 2nd-place MVP year last year. He is the best overall player in the game and is a class act off the court. Everybody needs to learn to stop jumping on the bandwagon and really dig into some stats. Paul could be the FIRST PERSON ever to lead the league in steals and assists in consecutive years."

Good call, Fanguy. This analysis from HoopsAddict is from last season, but it highlights how quietly dominant CP3 really is. I have no problem with him getting all the consideration he deserves. But think about how long it took Kobe to win his first MVP. Paul is going to have to wait his turn, and LeBron, Wade, and Kobe are playing at too high a level for him to topple those giants this season. Someday, though, it'll happen.

Lucas offers a vote for Wade: "Wade is the most deserving of the MVP. Too bad all the writers already gave it to Squire James last November.

Hey Lucas, as my article proves, I haven't made up my mind.

Eric N. says I need to go West: "Your bias towards the Eastern players and teams is disappointing. How come no mention of Kobe? P.S. Have you ever played?"

It goes without saying that Kobe, the defending MVP, is in the running. But how many points would LeBron and Wade be averaging if they played with Pau Gasol? Anyway, it is well documented that I was a key reserve -- and I use that term loosely -- for the West Islip High School varsity boys' basketball team on Long Island in the late 1980s. But I should've played lacrosse.

Kevin K. says welcome to the D-Wade fan club: "I'm glad you came out with the D-Wade argument. I always liked him better than LeBron and Kobe. Maybe it is his swag, but I hopped on the Miami Heat bandwagon as soon as he joined the squad. D-Wade is my favorite player and I just hate the fact that LeBron and Kobe get all the exposure. What I really admire about my dude D-Wade is his humble attitude. That is what makes him an even better player ... I'm out.

You're out? Do we have one of Rome's clones stepping up in the BergerSphere? Nice! So here's a response: "Humble is as humble does. Sincerely, Kobe Bryant."

 

 

 

Posted on: March 2, 2009 1:01 pm
 

'Band-Wades' are banned; what about tattoos?

The NBA has notified the Miami Heat that Dwyane Wade is not permitted to wear customized bandages bearing names or slogans beneath his previously injured left eye. But I guess if D-Wade had one particular slogan he felt strongly enough about, he could have it permanently tattooed under his eye and that would be OK.

This is one of those head-scratchers that makes you wonder who spends time making these rules. Sports Business Daily brought this pressing matter to my attention, as first reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Commissioner David Stern's dress code has been a success, resulting in NBA players dressing professionally during team business and separating the league from the public perception that hip-hop culture was more important than dressing like a pro. Conformity also is required when it comes to game attire. For example, the full-length tights that Wade used to wear also were banned, unless a specific medical reason is cited.

Metro Signs Inc., the Florida company that makes the customized bandages -- known as "Band-Wades" -- can't be too happy. In this economy, it's hard to justify cracking down on an entrepreneur trying to make a little dough. Especially when the NBA Board of Governors recently relaxed the league ban on courtside advertising for hard liquor products. The ban had been in place since 1991.

During the All-Star Game in Phoenix, I was an unwitting victim of the NBA's logo police. With the supply of bottled water having been exhausted in the media work room on game day, I entered the league's communications office and asked for change so I could purchase a libation from an arena vending machine. A well-meaning league employee handed me a bottle of Dasani, which I brought to my courtside seat. Before I even had a chance to open it, someone sat down next to me and started peeling the label off. Dasani, a Coca-Cola product, evidently didn't pass the logo test. I should've asked for a label-less bottle of Aquafina -- a Pepsi product -- and offered to perform  taste test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: NBA
Posted on: February 13, 2009 8:06 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2009 10:53 pm
 

Bosh, Wade react to trade (UPDATE)

PHOENIX -- Dwyane Wade views the trade Friday that sent Jermaine O'Neal to Miami as a move that could propel the Miami Heat to a long playoff run. Chris Bosh sees it as what it is: maneuvering for the future.

Whether Bosh will be a part of that future remains to be seen.

"I have mixed emotions," Bosh said Friday. "I like J.O. He’s a great person and a great player. But I guess things weren’t working out the way he wanted them to. I hate to see him go, but it’s a business move that was made and we have to accept it and move on. G.M.s have to think about the future. There’s so many different scenarios you have to consider. It’s just all about making the correct moves for the future right now. It’s tricky. Hopefully it’ll help you right now, and it’ll give you flexibility later on."

Later on will be here sooner than Bosh thinks. By unloading O'Neal's $23 million contract for next season, Raptors G.M. Bryan Colangelo has some flexibility to go free-agent shopping this summer. He also maintains cap flexibility in the summer of 2010, when Bosh can become a free agent by declining his player option for the 2010-11 season.

So can Wade, and Miami will have as much cap room as any team in the NBA in '10. In the meantime, Wade thinks the addition of O'Neal and Jamario Moon will help.

"I think it gives us an opportunity right now to really compete in the Eastern Conference," Wade said. "In the first part of the season, it was throw the ball up and let’s see what happens with the team we have. But now you look at it and say, 'OK, we’re in fifth place right now, and if we mesh the right way with Jermaine and with Jamario, then we could do something."

UPDATE: This is important, Heat fans. Before you rip this trade, you should know that Miami received a $4 million trade exception as part of the deal. That's because Marion-for-O'Neal straight up satisfied the 125 percent rule for salaries matching up in trades. Toronto used a minimum-player exception to send Moon to Miami, and the Heat get a $4 million trade exception for the difference between Marcus Banks' salary and Moon's. The exception expires in one year.

Posted on: December 21, 2008 12:06 am
 

Wade passes on extension talk

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With ice packs adorning his legs and a box of protein drink in his hands, Dwyane Wade sat at his locker and deferred credit to his teammates for his 43-point night. Earlier, he'd deferred to his teammates on the floor, finding Daequan Cook for a clutch 3-pointer late in the Miami Heat's 106-103 victory over the Nets.

A frigid, icy New Jersey night awaiting him, Wade also was in no hurry to accelerate speculation about his plans for the free-agent summer of 2010. Even though everybody else is doing it.

A few nights ago in the hallways of this very arena, Utah's Carlos Boozer caused quite a stir when he said he has decided to decline his player option for the 2009-10 season and weigh his options. On Saturday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that LeBron James -- who has consistently fanned the flames of his impending free agency -- is considering signing an extension with the Cavaliers after the season. Such a move would signal James' contentment with the Cavs' plans to build him a championship team. It also would make July 1, 2010 -- when James has the right to decline his player option and become a free agent -- a moot point. A few weeks ago, James himself called that date "a very, very big day."

Wade, too, has a right to become a free agent in the summer of 2010, along with the likes of James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, and Paul Pierce. Unlike Boozer, whose player option comes a year early, Wade isn't ready to announce his intention to test the market. And unlike James, he isn't ready to say he'd consider re-signing with Miami next summer, either.

"I don’t know," Wade said. "I'm not concentrating on that right now. I'm not concentrating on my contract or talking contracts. I'm trying to help this team get to the playoffs and that’s all I'm worried about."

Like me, Wade didn't think Boozer's comment Wednesday night was anything controversial or surprising. Top-tier players with capable representation made sure they negotiated for the ability to sign a new contract -- with their current team or another one -- before the collective bargaining agreement expires in 2011. With a new deal between owners and players coming, who knows if the money will be there in 2011 or '12? It probably won't.

"I think it’s just giving yourself flexibility," Wade said. "And I think [Boozer] just came out and said he’s going to use his flexibility come next summer. I don’t know how it’s perceived out there, but that’s all it is. He gave himself flexibility and he gets to use it."

On Saturday, James spoke for the first time about re-signing with Cleveland next summer rather than waiting until 2010.

"You play out this season of course; I will consider it," James told the Plain Dealer. "The direction we are headed is everything I expected and more."

I asked Wade if he'd heard about James' comments.

"Oh, yeah," he said. "I'm sure he has a great opportunity in Cleveland, where he’s building a championship team. Just because you signed a three-year deal doesn't mean that you won't sign an extension beforehand."

James signed a three-year, $60 million extension with Cleveland in 2006, turning heads by turning down the team's five-year, $80 million. Wade did the same.

"The deal that was signed by everybody was just to give themselves flexibility and options," Wade said. "And he can sign a longer deal this summer and be in Cleveland a long, long time."

At some point, maybe Wade will be ready to say the same thing. Not yet. He is leading the league in scoring and having a season worthy of MVP consideration. On back-to-back nights, he scored 35 to topple the Lakers and equaled his season high with 43 to turn back the Nets. 

But unlike the dominance he displayed at the Olympics, Wade's excellence comes on a team that has a long way to go before it can even talk playoffs, much less championships. In that respect, Wade's situation is most similar to Bosh's in Toronto. Both need to see how things play out before they commit to anything.

"I'm under pressure to do well and to see what decision I'm going to make," Bosh told me recently. "And the organization is under pressure to bring this team around. We want to win now."

So far, Wade is content to walk the walk, rather than talk the talk.

 

Posted on: December 19, 2008 10:07 am
 

Jazz owner rips Boozer

Carlos Boozer was looking dapper in a nicely tailored suit Wednesday night as he stood in the bowels of the IZOD Center chatting with one of my competitors, Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com. What Boozer said during the interview has sent the already fragile Jazz into a tailspin.

What did Boozer say, you ask? That his strained left quadriceps tendon would keep him out until the All-Star break, or for the rest of the season? That Jerry Sloan was a grouchy old man? That Paul Millsap was the most overrated player in the NBA -- not the most underrated, the honor CBSSports.com bestowed upon him Thursday?

Nope. Nothing quite that controversial. Nothing even remotely surprising or combustible at all.

Boozer simply confirmed what anyone who follows professional basketball should have known: That he intends to declined his $12.7 million player option this coming summer and seek a long-term deal.

"I'm opting out. No matter what, I'm going to get a raise regardless," Boozer said. "I am going to opt out, I don't see why I wouldn't, I think it's a very good business decision for me and my family, but I'd also like to see what happens with the Jazz and stay here."

That quote rippled through the Jazz organization, all the way up to owner Larry Miller, who blistered Boozer on his weekly radio show Thursday.

 "It's one of the top 10 stupidest things I've heard an NBA player do in 20 years," Miller said.

Why would this come as such a surprise? Top-tier players like Boozer and Kobe Bryant (early termination clauses in '09), plus LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade (player options in 2010) specifically negotiated escape clauses in their current deals -- escape clauses that kick in before the current collective bargaining agreement expires. A host of others -- Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Michael Redd, Yao Ming, Paul Pierce, Richard Jefferson, Tyson Chandler -- have early termination clauses in 2010. What's the big deal?

All of these clauses were negotiated so marquee players would have a chance to sign long-term deals -- in many cases, the last of their careers -- under the current rules. Once the CBA expires in 2011, most players and agents believe the new agreement will be less favorable to them and more favorable to the owners. All of the above players will get more money if they opt out or terminate their contracts before the CBA expires than they would if they waited.

James has parsed his words carefully in discussing his 2010 options, but he has all but said what Boozer said the other night -- that he plans to decline his player option and become a free agent. That doesn't mean James, Boozer, Bosh, Wade and others will leave their teams; after all, their current teams can pay them more and give them longer deals. Boozer went so far as to say that in his quote, adding that he'd "like to see what happens with the Jazz and stay here."

Despite the fact that Boozer was merely being honest and essentially stating the obvious, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan expressed disappointment with his comments. Boozer went into damage control mode with local beat reporters; here is the transcript of their conference call. Boozer and the Jazz tried to blame the messenger, a standard media relations ploy when someone says something controversial. The spin was that Boozer thought he was simply chatting off the record with Sheridan, who spent a lot of time with Boozer and teammate Deron Williams while covering Team USA's gold medal run in Beijing. Boozer even invoked the old "the reporter put words in my mouth" tactic. Don't believe it.

There was nothing off-the-record or sinister about this, and nothing really surprising or controversial, either. It's just business, people. Good business, at that. Can't be mad at Boozer -- or any other player -- for that.

 

Posted on: December 18, 2008 10:09 am
 

Suns have "zero" interest in Marbury

While Stephon Marbury has been given permission to seek a deal with a new team, no new talks are scheduled between the Knicks and Marbury's representative from the NBA Players Association to extricate him from New York.

According to a person with close ties to Marbury, the banished point guard is seeking to sign with a "playoff, championship caliber team." The source declined to discuss which teams Marbury is targeting, but didn't shoot down  Boston, Miami, or the Lakers as options. One team Marbury won't be signing with is the Suns. Phoenix contributed $500,000 to Spanish club Tau Ceramica to buy out their second-round pick, Slovenian point guard Goran Dragic, and team president Steve Kerr said Wednesday he has "zero" interest in Marbury. Kerr was in Denver Wednesday night scouting a point-guard matchup between Smush Parker and Eddie Gill in a D-League game, and vice president of basketball operations David Griffin plans to work out 4-6 point guards -- possibly including Damon Stoudamire and Troy Hudson -- on Monday. The Suns have until Wednesday to add a player to reach the NBA roster minimum of 13.

Miami is close to the luxury tax threshold and would need to trim a player to make room for Marbury, even if he signed for the veteran's minimum of $1.2 million. Dwyane Wade likely would have to sign off on adding Marbury, given his substantial baggage. A person familiar with the Celtics' thinking said the team would investigate Marbury when he became available, but the signing would have to come with the approval of the coaching staff and key leaders in the locker room.

Knicks president Donnie Walsh and NBPA attorney Hal Biagas, who is representing Marbury, "check in with each other periodically," but have held no further substantive buyout talks and have none scheduled, the source said.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com