Tag:MIami Heat
Posted on: June 29, 2010 3:58 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 8:41 pm
 

Michael Beasley is considered damaged goods

All things considered, it was probably going to wind up like this. It's not fair, and it's not right, and really it's unfortunate when everything shakes out. But Michael Beasley is damaged goods in the NBA. That's the cold, hard truth.

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Heat have bought out James Jones from his contract. That's not really the big news, clearing $300,000 from their space. No, the meat of the story is in the last few lines, where Berger describes the Heat's situation with trying to trade Beasley. That situation can be summed up with the phrase "no one will touch it with a ten-foot pole."

Beasley's history is well documented. He came in as a goofball, obviously immature. Then there was the entire ordeal at the NBA rookie transition program . That was followed by the photos . Then the rehab stint , which was reported to be part of the fallout from the rookie program debacle.

This past year? Beasley kept out of trouble. He just showed up and went to work. But the work, the most important part, the element that would forgive all the rest of the shenanigans, that part suffered as well. He was constantly berated on the court by Dwyane Wade, who pretty clearly had had enough of the youngster. He was bigger, a little big to play the small forward spot, not big enough to play the power forward. Beasley's got one go-to offensive move, the pull-up 15 footer. And it is a thing of beauty. As silky as it was when he was knocking them down in Manhattan, Kansas, where he wishes he would have stayed .

But his game isn't there. He hasn't become a leader. He's still acting a clown.

All-Star Sophomore practice is a pretty ridiculous event. It's a bunch of media guys vying for time with a bunch of second year guys, mostly to ask them questions about their more famous teammates or how it "feels" to be part of All-Star Weekend. It deserves ridicule and a little bit of fun. And Beasley had his fun, dancing around the floor interviewing other players (including interrupting a riveting conversation I was having with O.J. Mayo) (it was not a riveting conversation), and playing around with Craig Sager. It was fun. Who cares? He's a big kid!

The issue is that in the context of his career, it belies a pattern of unprofessionalism. While the other players dutifully went through the process, Beasley had to stand out. It shows how he thinks of himself, where he considers himself in life. And the truth is, he's just not ready.

The Heat aren't struggling to move Beasley because of his game. It's not especially helpful being a low-rebound percentage, mid-range-jumpshot shooting tweener with questionable defense. But the kid has crazy athleticism and can shoot. That description is one of an NBA player. But the Heat can't get him out the door because of his head, and because of his reputation. If Beasley doesn't want to fade to the margins before falling through the cracks, if he wants to capitalize on the enormous amount of potential he has, he's going to have to go through substantial personal growth in a very short amount of time.

This league doesn't take care of its young, nurture them, or hold their hand. It lets the system work out its own kinks.

If Beasley can't get the kinks in his head worked out and contribute to whatever altered roster he's on, in Miami or elsewhere, he's going to be worked out, too.

Posted on: June 29, 2010 9:22 am
Edited on: June 29, 2010 12:38 pm
 

Wade-LeBron-Bosh rumors are the new malaria

Oh, how we once laughed. We giggled. We guffawed. The idea of it! The sheer madness of the concept! Oh, what rich comedy, to think that it could be true.

Except, well, now no one's laughing.

In Monday's Free Agent Buzzer, our own Ken Berger lays out why the rumored Chris-Bosh-Dwyane-Wade-LeBron-James
trio
possibility in South Beach would both be bad for business, and is extremely unlikely. But the fact that Berger elected to comment on it speaks to how high this only 12-hour old rumor has swept through sports media.

Bear in mind that it's not just Ira Winderman at the Sun-Sentinel dropping that bomb . Stephen A. Smith, who, like it or not, has a ton of access to NBA circles, was out ahead of the pack with the same rumor .

So now we have two significant sources reporting the same concept. Of course, this is nothing new. In the past 48 hours, we've heard Joe Johnson was going to New York, Joe Johnson will be traded to the Mavs, and LeBron to Chicago is a "done deal." If you guys hang on for another 12 hours, we'll be bringing you news that Carlos Boozer has sprouted wings and returned to his home planet in a galaxy far far away for a max contract.

This rumor's got a tremendous amount of steam behind it, and you have to wonder if it is just a rumor, who exactly is pitching that concept around? Someone with something to gain is tossing out the idea that the biggest superstar team-up since "Space Jam " is going down and whoever it is is likely from Wade's camp in Miami.

We'll have more on "THE SUMMIT " later, but if this thing does have legs, it probably started there. All of these reports have one consistent theme, though. Well, besides being pretty much lazed with abject panic from the rest of the league. All of them state that each agent is committed to exploring his options fully. Which means we could be in for an arms race, in reverse, in order to get all three of these players.

The Chicago Bulls pulled off their trade of Kirk Hinrich last week, opening the door to sign two max free agents. But if they can find a way to dish off Luol Deng, or lock in the terms of a sign-and-trade with one of the superstars' respective clubs, they could pull off a similar feat in Chicago. Likewise, I'd bet that Donnie Walsh is probably putting garland on Eddy Curry's head right now to try and pull in any offer he can to dump the center's salary. We started with "two max free agents" and now we're on to three.

We'll get you filled in on the possible ramifications of a team up of these three later (here's the short version: GAME OVER), but these reports indicate two things. One, this is already an abjectly insane point in the league's history from both a level of impact and media coverage perspective. And two, things are only going to get more nuts.

You realize we haven't even started free agency, right?

-Matt Moore

Posted on: June 28, 2010 1:53 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 1:58 pm
 

The coaching factor in Lebron James' free agency

Our own Ken Berger outlined for you the totality of what LeBron James is condering in his free agency courtship ritual that starts Thursday. But lost among the discussions of weather, teammates, finance, marketing, wine, women, and song is that somewhere in there, he's got to play actual basketball. And while the roster certainly plays a part in that, what about the potential head coaches he'll be leveraging a system with? Let's be clear on this, his new coach's system will be molded to fit James' game, not the other way around (ironic, since James is the one free agent with the most versatility of this monstrous class of 2010). So what exactly is he going to be examining starting Thursday at 12:01AM EST (yes, yes, we know, he's already looking at those things. Play along, will you?).

Chicago: Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau is coming in as a blank offensive book. He's been focused on defense for the past ten years, and there's been scare discussion of what exactly Thibodeau has in mind. One thing we do know is he wants to initate the offense with Derrick Rose , capitalizing on his speed and strength. The question for James is if he's prepared to play off-ball and be set up to use his incredible array of talents, or if he wants to run the LeISO sets, as they were called in Cleveland, where he single-handedly orchestrated the offense. Certainly in crunch time those are the possessions you want, with your best player with the ball in his hand. But if James recognizes that Rose's dribble penetration and mid-range game can open up more opportunities while saving his energy, Chicago could become a lot more attractive.

New York: Mike D'Antoni. If James has visions of wanting to challenge for averaging a triple double, New York is where he needs to be. Seven Seconds or Less will boost anyone's stats, and when you examine what Shawn Marion was able to do (21.8 points, 11.8 rebounds) with a lesser skillset under the 'stache, James' numbers could be through the roof. It's the defensive side of the ball where James is likely to be hesitant. If there's one thing his playoff failures have taught him, from Detroit to San Antonio to Boston to Orlando and then Boston again, it's that defense wins championships. He's had that mantra pounded into him from the day the Cavs made the playoffs, and all his most succesful teams have been built around defense. It would take a dramatic departure for James to embrace D'Antoni's style, which would defensively result in more highlight breakaways off of turnovers, but would also make life much harder for him against the Eastern elite. Numbers aren't everything, and the team defensive numbers are likely to matter more.

Miami Heat:
Pat Riley's pitch is going to be simple. Talent matters, and if you play with Dwyane Wade, everything else is irrelevant. The problem is that while Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has made the playoffs with the Heat and won consistently, the offense has been a bit of a disaster. Too often Spoelstra has surrendered command to Wade and not induced enough off-ball movement and against playoff schemes designed to converge on ISO players (like, say, Boston), the Heat's strategy has wilted considerably. Spoelstra's defensive components should be sound, and he's well liked by the players and organization. Miami could be an attractive option if James decides he wants more control over the offense, since a simpler system will have fewer principles for him to crack.

New Jersey Nets:
Avery Johnson has experience with creating offense. His Mavericks teams were good on both sides of the ball, but under Johnson they were versatile behemoths, slayed primarily because of a series of bad matchups in the playoffs. Johnson had success using Devin Harris as a drive and create guard, and circling the offense through Dirk Nowitzki in the high post. We heven't seen James operate much in the high post, curiously, as he usually either attacks from the perimeter or sets up in the low block. Using James as a Josh Howard/Dirk Nowitzki hybrid could yield some explosive results under Avery, and his commitment to man-defensive principles could appeal to James' simplistic concept of defense without as many of the help systems he adhered to under Mike Brown.

The Clippers and Cavs currently don't have a coach. The question is if that's a good thing or a bad thing for them as they attempt to lure James. It could be good from the perspective of giving James the option of selecting his own coach from a series of candidates. But it could also look like the organization doesn't have their house in order. Both candidates the Clippers are exploring do have head coaching experience, but aren't considered top rung. And the longer the Cavs get jerked around by Byron Scott waiting on the Lakers, the worse it looks for them, especially with Danny Ferry out.

As Berger said, there's a world of things James will be considering, and he'll be the final one making the decision. Coaching in the NBA isn't the most important thing, but it's certainly a factor. And in a competition where you're judged down to the minute detail, because James simply has the luxury of examining you to that degree, things like coaching will matter. What James decides to go with will say a lot about what he thinks of his game, and where he thinks his future is best invested, system-wise.

-Matt Moore

 
 
 
 
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