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Tag:Dwyane Wade
Posted on: June 19, 2011 5:09 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 9:55 am
 

Report: Miami Heat to keep Big Three intact

The Miami Heat will reportedly not break up its Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Posted by Ben Golliver.

miami-big-3

It's too bad that the late, great George Steinbrenner doesn't run the Miami Heat. Can you imagine his executive office meltdown when the Heat crumbled in the 2011 NBA Finals, losing three games in a row to the Dallas Mavericks to fall short of a title in the first year of the Big Three era?

Erik Spoelstra would be gone for sure, Chris Bosh's house would be on the market and the Heat's bench players would quickly be lining up rooms in various Miami-area old folk's homes.

Instead, the Heat are run by Pat Riley, a sage architect of multiple title-winners, who apparently is ready to keep a steady hand on the wheel amidst all the disappointment and unfulfilled expectations.

Indeed, the New York Daily News reports that the Heatles will be back for another tour.
Not long after LeBron James' Finals flameout, Miami president Pat Riley has sent word to other league execs: He's not breaking up his Big Three. That's too bad -- for the rest of the NBA.
This is the wise, save move for now. Coming within two wins of a title in your first year together, expressing massive dominance over your Eastern Conference rivals and having the best trio of players -- all in their primes -- only bodes well for next season. The Heat, without any doubt, are the favorites to win the 2012 title as is.

Of course, Bosh has clearly been pushed to a separate tier by the blossoming James/Wade bromance and his questionable fit stuck out in the Finals. He didn't play enough defense or grab enough rebounds, and he couldn't get enough touches on offense, to really maximize his skills. He played hard, there's no questioning that, but his skill set isn't perfect for what James and Wade demand around them. 

It's a questionable but not necessarily fatal fit long term. Riley should absolutely listen to offers for Bosh, but he need not shop any of his players. The odds that he will get better value in return for Bosh are fairly long, and the media attention will be insane if he actually goes on the block.


Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Basketball players lead top 50 richest athletes

Posted by Royce Young

It's good to be a basketballer.

Sports Illustrated released its annual "Fortunate 50" list that compiles the top 50 earners in sports. And basketball players lead the way with 19 of the top 50. Baseball was second with 17, the NFL third with eight, NASCAR and golf tied for fourth with three.

LeBron James was the top basketball money-maker, coming in third overall with an estimated $44.5 million this past year. That included $30 million from endorsements alone. All that badwill created from The Decision didn't appear to hurt King James in the pocketbook. Maybe he can offer Dirk Nowitzki a couple milion to touch the trophy.

Kobe Bryant checked in sixth making $34.8 million total, Kevin Garnett was seventh making $32.8 milion total and Dwight Howard 10th making $28.6 million total. So if you count that up, four of the top 10 came from the NBA. Three came from the NFL, and two apiece from golf and baseball.

(One thing to note: The original 50 list doesn't include international athletes. Yao Ming made $35.6 million last year and would've ranked sixth, ahead of Kobe, but he's on a separate international list. Dirk and Pau Gasol both made around $21 million.)

The rest of the NBA list:

11. Dwyane Wade: $28.2 million
16. Amar'e Stoudemire: $24.5 million
21. Carmelo Anthony: $23.1 million
24. Tim Duncan: $22.3 million
27. Vince Carter: $20.5 million

29. Rashard Lewis: $20.3 million
31. Kevin Durant: $20.0 million
34. Michael Redd: $18.5 million
36. Gilbert Arenas: $17.9 million
37. Zach Randolph: $17.7 million

40. Kenyon Martin: $16.8 million
43. Joe Johnson: $16.5 million
45. Elton Brand: $16.5 million
49. Paul Pierce: $15.6 million
50. Chris Bosh: 15.5 million

Posted on: June 16, 2011 6:52 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Chris Bosh explains his collapse, tears

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh explains why he cried following the 2011 NBA Finals. Posted by Ben Golliver. chris-bosh-tears

It was one of the most memorable scenes of the 2011 NBA Finals.

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh collapsed to his knees in the tunnel following his team's Game 6 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, forced to use his arms to brace himself against the ground as his body seemingly gave out. Soon after, he was shown wiping his face as he walked through the tunnel. Teammate Erick Dampier had his arm around Bosh's waist to help him balance. One video of Bosh's reaction drew more than 600,000 views on YouTube.

The Miami Herald reports that Bosh says he was as overwhelmed by the Heat's loss as he looked on videotape.
The air gushed out of Bosh, and he fainted to the floor. It wasn’t so much a letdown as a crash.

“I haven’t experienced that pain in a very long time,” Bosh said. “To be so close and work so hard and come up short, it just got to me. It took over me.

“I’m not an emotional guy. I couldn’t help it. I got it out of me and feel a lot better.”

The scene will endure for years for a unique combination of reasons. One: the obvious symbolism of Miami falling apart in the Finals, collapsing under the pressure to lose the final three games. Two: because Bosh is such a maligned and polarizing figure. Three: outward expressions of emotion are rare in sports and almost always kept in private. 

Four, and perhaps most important: because Bosh's reaction -- the loss consuming him -- was so different from the reactions offered by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who did their best to remain stonefaced and emotionally distant after their first season together ended in failure.

Extending that thought, did Bosh invest himself more deeply in this Finals than James or Wade? His failures weren't a matter of effort. Rather, the Heat struggled to maximize his offensive potential and weren't able to consistently keep him involved. He bears responsibility for that, but he shares that with Miami's ballhandlers and coach Erik Spoelstra, too.

James and Wade, though, went out with a composed facade, but they also went out without really swinging. All the "back against the wall" talk evaporated as the Mavericks pulled away in Game 6, on Miami's home floor to boot. In Bosh's tears, it's reasonable to see someone that tried and failed, his best not good enough. James' and Wade's blankness, in conjunction with their flat play late in the series, raises the question of whether we can say the same thing about them.


Posted on: June 15, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Heat extend qualifying offer to Mario Chalmers

The Miami Heat have extended a qualifying offer to guard Mario Chalmers. Posted by Ben Golliver. mario-chalmers

In a procedural move, the Miami Heat announced on Wednesday that they have extended a qualifying offer to point guard Mario Chalmers. Doing so makes Chalmers a restricted free agent, allowing the Heat to match any offers made to Chalmers.
Chalmers, a 6’2”, 190-pound guard, has appeared in 225 regular season games (132 starts) averaging 7.9 points, 3.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 1.45 steals and 26.7 minutes while shooting 40.9 percent from the field, 35 percent from three-point range and 77.8 percent from the foul line. Among Miami’s all-time leaders, he ranks eighth in steals (327), tied for ninth in three-point field goals made (272), 12th in assists (826), 19th in minutes (6,012), tied for 19th in games played (225) and 22nd in three-point field goal percentage (.350).

In 33 career postseason games (eight starts), he averaged 8.1 points, 2.7 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 1.52 steals and 26.4 minutes while shooting 43 percent from the field, 36 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the foul line. During the 2011 NBA Finals, Chalmers increased his postseason averages in the six-game series against Dallas in points (11.8), assists (3.5), rebounds (2.7), minutes (29.0) and three-point field goal percentage (.400).
Extending a qualifying offer was a no-brainer, considering that the size of the offer is for just $1.1 million. Chalmers, 25, was used off the bench for much of the season but played starter-type minutes and fits pretty nicely alongside the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Without another point guard on the books for next year, one would assume that the Heat are very motivated to keep Chalmers. It's unclear what the market is for his services but given the lack of quality point guards on the market this summer and a weak draft crop, he should elicit some interest. It might be going too far to assume that his return to Miami next season is a foregone conclusion, but it's also difficult to imagine someone offering him so much money that Miami fails to retain him given their positional need and his solid fit.

If I'm Miami, I might explore the option of signing him to a multi-year extension. He's a known quantity, he can be used as a starter or off the bench and he held up fairly well under the spotlight. Surely South Beach -- and the opportunity to compete for multiple titles and revenge the 2011 NBA Finals loss -- would be his preference too. In a normal year, reaching an extension agreement makes all the sense in the world. Given the looming CBA issues, though, who knows.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 3:20 pm
 

Heat partied with Mavericks after Game 6?

Posted by Matt Moore

See, when people question their will to win? This is what they're talking about.

Reports surfaced Monday on 790 The Ticket in Miami that some Heat players joined the Mavericks on Sunday night while the new NBA champs partied on South Beach (photos!) after their Game 6 win. One trusted member of Mavs media confirmed that Erick Dampier was one of the Miami members in attendance, along with unnamed others. 

Just so we're clear on this. The Mavs trash-talked you all series long, dashed your title hopes, put even more criticism on your squad, celebrated on your floor and then in your city, and you go party with them? Nice chemistry guys. A few assorted thoughts:

  • The Big Three reportedly were not part of the celebration, but would it surprise you in the slightest if they were? Would that shock you in any way? If LeBron James had gone down there to party with JET, it would have been just more delight for the millions of people that took abject glee in the fall of the Heat and James in particular. It's a good thing they didn't head down there as far as we knew.
  • On the flip side of this, I tried explaining to people how much of this entire process is theatrics. Do the Mavs and Heat organizations like each other? No. Do Dirk and Wade get along? Probably not. But it's not personal, and all of these players consider themselves part of a brotherhood of players. Once the buzzer sounds, most of them are friends with one another. We like to think of these as blood rivalries like the one that existed with the Celtics and Lakers of the 80's but things aren't like that. Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant are buds, though they try and keep that one quiet for PR purposes. That said, KG would never celebrate with the team that defeated him.
  • How does one make that decision? "Well, I just lost the NBA Finals. What can I do? I guess I'll go out, since I live in Miami. Hmm. Maybe I should go drink and dance with the guys that just made me look like a group of slugs offensively and shut us down on our own floor. That sounds fun! Surely no one will see me!"
  • There likely won't be repercussions from this for Maimi, but there should be. Players that partake in that kind of behavior shouldn't be allowed to return to the team. Dampier is old enough to where he probably doesn't care, and after so many years in Dallas, you can understand him wanting to see his guys celebrate. But at the same time, one of the Heat's biggest issues this year was chemistry, and having guys who aren't fully committed to the organization is part of that. 
  • It's an insult to Chris Bosh, who was emotionally wrecked after the loss. Say what you want about Bosh, he played his face off in the postseason and wanted to win badly. He cared. 


(HT: BDL via PBT)
Posted on: June 13, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 8:13 pm
 

Rick Carlisle and strategic believing

Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- The word "believe" is one that pretty much passes through me these days. I mean, it couldn't get more cliche, could it? It's said so often in sports, it has the same impact as "points" or "effort." It's nothing more than an overused phrase that players and coaches use to deflect the conversation into the most bland terms. It doesn't actually mean anything. 

Right?

All series long, all  playoffs long, all season long,  Carlisle has preached the word "believe." When asked about their resiliency in coming back from fourth-quarter deficits time and time again, Carlisle would talk about how the team believed. When facing a 2-1 deficit going into Game 4 against the Heat, Carlisle said they needed to believe in themselves. And each time I rolled my eyes. They don't actually think this. It's about strategic adjustments, and about focus.

Right?

But then there's Shawn Marion, screaming his face off in a tiny visitor's locker room that reeks of sweat and stale champagne, running his mouth constantly but pausing to talk about Carlisle.

"Coach just told us to keep believing in ourselves," Marion said, "and that's what we did. We believed in this team." 

Then there's Ian Mahinmi, basking in the glow of finally contributing in a meaningful way on his way to a championship, just two years after he left the NBA D-League. I asked him what it was that gave Carlisle the ability to get all these role players, to get every single player to be ready to go full bore and make the right plays at a moment's notice. 

"He just kept telling us to believe in ourselves. Going into a game like this, there's so much pressure, you don't want to be the one to make a mistake, and he just kept telling me how much he believed in what I could do."

The tenth guy on the roster, and he's ready to go because Carlisle had him believing it. Carlisle was asked by a bombastic reporter to talk himself up after Game 4 and simply laughed the question off. He refused to take any credit, even after it was his strategic decisions that helped the Mavericks shut down the best talent in the league, even after it was his motivational work that got a team of players who are quite honestly old to be the first to the ball every time. Carlisle still wouldn't take his bow. 

Carlisle in his post-game comments credited "the collective toughness" of his team, Dirk Nowitkzi, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Ian Mahinmi, Brian Cardinal, ownership, everyone but himself.  The man had just finished off one of the best postseasons of any coach since the turn of the century, and done it with an aging roster and using players like a 5-10 (if that) former D-League player and a throwaway from the Caron Butler trade (oh, yeah, and Butler was injured). And he still wouldn't take credit. 

Don't be mistaken, Carlisle's tactical adjustments were the key to this series. Starting J.J. Barea and providing that initial burst of speed allowing Stevenson to guard James late as a backup to Marion and putting together a pick and roll defense strategy against one of the best combinations of talent this league has ever seen, those are the strategic elements that brought the Mavs the title. They were always going to get an amazing performance from Dirk Nowitzki

There was a possession in the second quarter of Game 6. After Tyson Chandler beat his man once again to the offensive rebound and the possession reset, Jason Kidd went around a wing pick, and when the double came, immediately slung the ball to J.J. Barea. For the Heat, or most teams, really, this is either a contested three from Barea, a dribble probe, or some other individual effort with the clock winding down. Barea instantly slung a sidearm pass to a cutting Shawn Marion who went right to the basket, his defender back screened by Chandler. It was cohesive, it was flawless, it was the type of play you need veterans for. But more importantly, that play requires a coach to drill consistency and an understanding of teammates in. There was no improvisation, it was a practiced set that worked to perfection, performed by players that understand the sacrifice and devotion to the team concept that can lead to real success.

After the play, Carlisle merely nodded his head, acknowledging the good work, then turned his attention to the defensive end.

After so many years of good work in Indiana and Detroit, it finally came home for Carlisle Sunday night. He adds his second ring, his first as a coach, and even in the presser, he didn't bask in the warm glow of his greatness like so many coaches at the top of the Western Conference outside of Texas would. He just credited his players and sat back amazed at what this incredible group of players had accomplished, in his mind, for him. Hopefully somewhere he knows just how much of a hand he had in it. There's talk today of the Mavericks' future with aging players and what tomorrow brings. But with Carlisle at the helm, the Mavericks will always know what they're getting, what they got this year that rewarded them with a championship: a winning coach that understands the way the game should be played.  

And a guy who made believers out of everyone.
Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 4:25 pm
 

Five offseason questions for the Heat

Posted by Royce Young



MIAMI -- They didn't win it all. They came up short. And so the Heat are left asking themselves questions today. Why didn't they get it done? What went wrong? And what can they do to fix it?

Reality is, they were two games short of an NBA title and the way the series went, they can kick themselves quite a bit for blowing it. Dallas was absolutely the better team and rightful winner, but remember: The Heat blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead and had Game 4 in their grasp before faltering late again. So it's not like they have a thousand mile road to walk. They're at the gates. They've just got to break through.

But here are five questions they'll be asking this offseason.

1. What's missing?
Obviously the weakest link on the team is the point guard position. The Heat tried out Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers and eventually Mike Bibby before coming back to Chalmers in Game 6 of The Finals. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade handle most of the playmaking responsibilities, but they need someone reliable and responsible to run the offense well and defend his counterpart.

So much the reason the Heat's offense bogged down in big spots was because there wasn't real chemistry or cohesiveness on the court. That could be remedied by having a solid floor general next to LeBron and Wade to make sure each set is ran properly. Chalmers isn't a horrible option, but he's a really strange player. One second great, the next horrible. And consistency is extremely key here.

2. Is Erik Spoelstra the right man for the job?
My opinion (because who else's would it be?) -- yes. There's absolutely no reason to give up on Spoelstra just because of the way The Finals played out. Everyone wants to find a reason for the Heat's demise, and while Spoelstra certainly has blood on his hands, if LeBron hadn't disappeared, Miami would probably be planning a celebration today or at least practicing for a Game 7.

Spoelstra is still one of the youngest coaches in the league and considering all that he managed and had to work through this season, I'd say he did a pretty terrific job. So much outside distraction, so much drama. But Spoelstra took his team -- which has a ton of talent of course -- to within a couple wins of a championship. Could he have done better? Duh. But there's a lot of blame to go around with the Heat. Just like the Mavericks won as a team, the Heat lost as one, top to bottom. Continuity is a good thing and pinning it all on Spoelstra simply isn't fair.

3. Is there something structurally wrong with the roster?
Yes, absolutely. Not in terms of Wade and LeBron not fitting together. But just in terms of vision. Pat Riley, for as good a job he did in constructing this monster of a team, sort of panicked and didn't stick to his original plan of filling out the roster with young talent that can grow alongside Wade, LeBron and Bosh. Instead, he sort of panicked and started piling up aging veterans at minimum contracts.

I mean look at the back end of that roster. Jamaal Magloire, Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Eddie House, Mike Bibby, Juwan Howard -- that looks more like a group that should be playing in a Saturday morning men's league, not the NBA Finals. That's half the active roster too.

Riley needs to scrap the veteran plan and look to find some young talent to develop that fits around his big three. Players that can adjust, adapt and improve as they go along. A really nice core is there. Bosh, Wade, LeBron, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and even Joel Anthony can be a good piece. But the Heat need talent, not older guys trying to sail one last championship. There might be some growing pains to go through next season if Riley went that direction, but that's what LeBron, Wade and Bosh are for. They can carry you through while the young guys figure it out.

4. What's the offseason plan?

Say goodbye to all the expirings. Just let them walk right out. Peace out Mike Bibby, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (he's retiring anyway), Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and even Mario Chalmers. I'd let them all go. Eddie House and James Jones both have player options so you have to think they'll exercise those.

But between Miami's top six players, they have almost $67 million tied up. So figuring out how to fill in a roster around those guys will be a challenge. And a lot of where their future goes depends on the new collective bargaining agreement. Assuming the system stays somewhat similar to what we have now, a couple veteran minimums and a then younger players that can develop. The Heat don't need a ton of depth. There's a flaw in the plan because they need a good point guard and they'll never have the money to get one, but that where Riley's got to earn his money. Go find one.

5. Are they the favorites in the East again?
Right next to the Bulls, absolutely. It'll likely be a three-team race between the Heat, Bulls and the aging Celtics. Orlando could make some noise and the Hawks aren't terribly far off. Even the Knicks could challenge for that four-seed with a full season of Amar'e and Carmelo.

But the Heat simply have the most talent in the conference. There are issues on the roster -- big ones -- but that should tell you how talented Wade, LeBron and Bosh are. They were able to win 58 games and reach the NBA Finals in spite of all those flaws. They need a little more help and a little more structure to the team, but there's absolutely no reason this group can't find themselves right back in The Finals again.
Posted on: June 13, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Governor Kasich: Mavericks are 'Honorary Ohioans'

John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, declared the Dallas Mavericks "Honorary Ohioans" after their 2011 NBA title. Posted by Ben Golliver. john-kasich

Revenge for "The Decision" now bears an executive seal.

John Kasich, Governor of the state of Ohio, took the unusual step of honoring a team with no geographical ties to his jurisdiction. On Monday, one day after the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals, Kasich's office released a press release noting that the governor had issued a resolution that declared that the Mavericks, their friends, family and fans are now officially "Honorary Ohioans."

Why would he do this? Retribution, of course.

The Heat were led by Ohio native former Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who opted to take his talents to South Beach last summer rather than return to play for the Cavaliers. In return, fans in Ohio booed him mercilessly during his two return visits to Cleveland and openly rooted for the Heat to get bounced from the playoffs.

The resolution specifically praises Dallas' "loyalty, integrity and teamwork" and specifically praises Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki for choosing to re-sign with the Mavericks last summer. Kasich's resolution bears the official seal of Ohio, bestows upon the Mavericks "all privileges and honors" that goes with the title "Honorary Ohioans" and is signed at the bottom.

You know who definitely finds this hilarious and awesome? Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who issued his own decree on Sunday night. 

Below is a small version of the official resolution. Click here to read the whole thing.

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com.

governor-resolution
 
 
 
 
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