Tag:Miami Heat
Posted on: December 3, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 10:04 pm
 

Dwyane Wade's new Jordan Brand 'flight' ad video

Posted by Ben Golliver



With the 2011-2012 NBA season finally back on "play", Nike and Jordan Brand can put away the "Basketball Never Stops" and "Love The Game" ad campaigns and get back to selling their athletes. 

Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade is one of Jordans' three signature athletes -- New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and New Orleans Hornets (for now) guard Chris Paul are the others -- and the sneaker brand unveiled its latest commercial for him earlier this week.

Jordan's theme this year is "Flight", whether that's flying by someone off the dribble, flying through someone on the way to the basket or flying over someone to finish at the rim. Wade's commercial is a straightforward and unspectacular take on the "flight" theme. The spot opens with Wade's defender stepping in to intercept a pass on the perimeter and looking to take it to the house for a dunk on the other end. Wade's instincts kick in and he prepares to leap through the air as the basketball court transforms visually into what looks like a massive skateboarding halfpipe. Wade uses some Matrix-like moves to scale a lift-off platform before the scene returns to the court, where he has now timed his leap perfectly to execute a chasedown block. The crowd reacts, Wade smiles at the baseline cameras and the tagline "This is flight" flashes across the scene. End scene.

Compared to Jordan's lockout efforts, this new ad is far less profound or evocative. Rather than making you rethink what you thought you knew about professional athletes and their dedication to the sport, this is all visceral: "Holy cow, he's way up there, doing extraordinarily athletic things." This isn't necessarily a bad approach. Many fans -- and consumers -- might feel strongly that the time for overthinking is over now that the NBA season is finally back.

RELATED: Dwyane Wade pledges his loyalty to Michael Jordan during the NBA lockout
Posted on: December 2, 2011 5:53 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 5:57 pm
 

Preview: NBA sets 5-game Christmas slate

Posted by Ben Golliver

nba-christmas

The NBA made its full 5-game Christmas Day slate official on Friday, releasing the opening night schedule in advance of Tuesday's full 2011-2012 schedule release. Here's a full game-by-game rundown for your holiday planning purposes. It's probably best to just ask for a divorce from your entire family right now.

Game 1: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks 12 p.m. ET TNT

A rematch of the 2011 Eastern Conference series that saw the Celtics rudely show the Knicks the door in four games, New York enters with homecourt advantage and, presumably, a return to full health. Amar'e Stoudemire's back should be better, Carmelo Anthony underwent offseason elbow surgery and veteran point guard Chauncey Billups who went down in the playoffs has had more than six months to get right.

The Celtics bring back their core four All-Stars in Rajon Rondo, Paul Piece, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, but there are plenty of questions as to who will make up the supporting cast. Be prepared to hear the words "last stand" for Boston and "Chris Paul" for New York ad nauseum on the broadcast. 

Game 2: Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks 2:30 p.m. ET ABC

The Big 3 and company must travel to Texas where the Mavericks will get to celebrate their 2011 NBA Finals victory over the Heat on opening night. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban couldn't have asked for anything more. Despite loads of roster questions and taking to the road on Christmas, Miami should enter the game as favorites, given that Vegas is convinced they are clearly the odds-on pick to win the 2012 title. Given how much time and energy LeBron James and Dwyane Wade spent working out and playing hoops this summer, it's a fair mantle to give them.

The big question for Dallas will be how much of last year's title-winners return? The roster is littered with free agents, including the staple of the defense, center Tyson Chandler, a major wing, Caron Butler, and key role guys in guards J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson. The free agency period will be a flurry of activity in Big D. 

Game 3: Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers 5 p.m. ET ABC

A marketer's dream: two supersize markets and storied franchises with two of the biggest names in the game head to head in the dream time slot on the league's showcase day. It was worth ending the lockout just for this game.

The Bulls will begin their quest back to the Eastern Conference Finals, hopefully with a new rotation piece or two to make the life of 2011 MVP point guard Derrick Rose easier. The Lakers usher in a new era under first year coach Mike Brown, who will have just a few weeks to learn that All-Star guard Kobe Bryant is in charge and his job is mostly to just push the right buttons when it comes to headcases Andrew Bynum (violent outrages), Pau Gasol (heart ache) and Metta World Peace (just about everything). 

Game 4: Orlando Magic at Oklahoma City Thunder 8 p.m. ET ESPN

The biggest question mark on the schedule: What will the Orlando Magic look like on Christmas? With rumor after rumor swirling around All-Star center Dwight Howard, and GM Otis Smith admitting that he is now open to trade possibilities, Orlando will carry a massive media storm into Oklahoma assuming that Howard isn't already dealt. Guard Gilbert Arenas will likely be shown the door with the amnesty clause and the Magic figure to be players on the trade market given their mediocre, overpriced roster parts.

If the Magic figure to be engulfed in turmoil, the Thunder should be just the opposite. Oklahoma City returns every important member of its rotation, including All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. A solid sleeper pick to win the 2012 NBA Finals, Oklahoma City has a carefully constructed top-8 that covers just about every base there is to cover. Playing in front of a raucous home crowd should make this a great coming out party for the maturing Thunder.

Game 5: Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors 10:30 p.m. ET ESPN

The nightcap will be headlined by All-Star forward Blake Griffin, the league's most explosive up-and-coming inside force. Griffin's still-underrated sidekick, Eric Gordon, will get a nice opportunity to reintroduce himself to a national television audience.

Golden State has undergone a major makeover from the ownership level on down over the last 18 months and new coach Mark Jackson will make his professional debut. The Warriors figure to trot out their excellent backcourt one-two scoring punch in Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry and may even have a revamped post presence if they are able to get something done during free agency. The fifth game on the NBA's Christmas slate has shootout written all over it. Staying up late will be worth it.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:18 am
 

No rings for Mavericks on Christmas



By Matt Moore
  

As much as everyone outside of the state of Florida may have wanted to enjoy watching the Heat as the Mavericks get their championship rings, it's not to be. Those interested in schadenfreude will have to settle for the Miami 3 watching the Mavericks' first championship banner be raised. 

WFAA in Dallas reports that Mark Cuban has informed them the Christmas Day season opener against the Heat will not be ring ceremony night for the Mavericks. It's customary for the first home game of the season to be ring ceremony night, but Cuban says that due to so many people likely having made other plans for Christmas in light of the ongoing lockout, he didn't want to leave them out. 

However, the banner will be raised to the rafters so fans can celebrate their championship team on their home floor for the first time. The Heat of course lost to the Mavericks in six games in last season's Finals.

The story should be about the Mavericks, but it will, as always, be about the Heat. How will they react watching the banner they were two wins away from obtaining be raised in front of them? Does it spell an omen or serve as motivation? Will it affect how they approach their first game of the season? A loss would leave the Heat 0-2 in season openers under the new Triad after last year's loss to the Celtics in Boston.

Either way, it's going to be a fairly brutal process for the Heat to sit and watch the title they nearly won be celebrated on their opponents' home floor. Great drama, just the thing to kick off the season with to start moving past the lockout.  
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Heat's Miller out 2 months after hernia surgery

Posted by Ben Gollivermike-miller

NBA practice facilities finally opened on Thursday morning, and Miami's opened with a bang.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem told reporters that Heat forward Mike Miller underwent hernia surgery during the lockout and is expected out for an extended period of time as he recovers.

"They say 8 weeks, but I'm not a doctor," Haslem said, according to ESPN.com.

A 2-month absence would keep Miller out of training camp, preseason, and roughly the first month of the NBA's regular season.

The Heat were already facing a decision on whether or not to amnesty Miller, who struggled with injuries last season and averaged just 5.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 41 appearances. A solid all-around forward when healthy, Miller is an intelligent, hard-working floor-spacing and ball-moving threat. But he plays the wing, where Miami is fully loaded, and is set to $5.4 millon this year with a contract that runs through 2014-2015.

The best arguments for keeping Miller would be that he is primed for a bounce-back year from near career-lows in every category and that the thin Heat need his veteran reliability on a roster that obviously lacks depth after the Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. But if he can't get on the court for nearly half of the abbreviated 2011-2012 season, those arguments go straight out the window. An ultra-patient argument could be made that the Heat don't need him until the postseason anyway, but the injury list is so long at this point it gets harder and harder to justify waiting.

For billionaire Micky Arison, swallowing the money still left on Miller's contract isn't that bitter of a pill, especially because Miami can re-allocate those cap dollars to a Mid-Level Exception target like free agent Samuel Dalembert, among others. The Heat don't have any other terrible contracts for whom they would want to save the amnesty clause for later, so the table is set for a swift, clean break.

Miller, for his part, recently put his house on the market, so he's clearly prepared if the Heat do pull the plug.
Haslem on recovery time for Mike Miller's hernia surgery.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:16 pm
 

Miami Heat are odds-on favorite to win NBA Finals

Posted by Ben Golliver.

nba-trophy

The Miami Heat's redemption question will commence with the highest possible expectations.

Bodog.com lists the Heat as the odds-on favorite to win the Eastern Conference and considers the Heat the top bet to win the 2012 NBA Finals.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company are the favorite to win the 2012 Finals at 9/4 with the over/under on their regular season win totals set at 48.5 during the 66-game season. They are 1/1 odds to win the Eastern Conference.

After Miami, the rest of the top-5 title contenders include: the Los Angeles Lakers (5/1), Chicago Bulls (7/1), Oklahoma City Thunder (15/2) and the defending champion Dallas Mavericks (17/2). After that group, the next tier includes the Boston Celtics check in at 12/1, the New York Knicks at 20/1, the Orlando Magic at 22/1, both the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs at 25/1 and the Portland Trail Blazers are at 30/1.

The teams with the worst odds are the Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards, all listed at 150/1. The Toronto Raptors are dead last, listed at 200/1.

The defending Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls are listed as 5/2 odds to repeat in 2011-2012. The defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs are listed as 10/1 odds to repeat.

With last year's Finals appearance, another year to gel and a Mid-Level Exception with which to add a serviceable center, it makes sense that Miami, who blew fairly easily through the Eastern Conference playoffs, is listed as the best bet. The Lakers and Bulls are both right about where you would expect them, with the Celtics taking a hit due to questions about their hole in the middle and overall depth and age concerns.

The Mavericks drop a bit because of questions circling how many of their important free agents -- Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson -- will return.  The Thunder, who appeared in the Western Conference Finals and bring their entire rotation back intact, might be the best value on the board, given their combination of superstar talent (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook), valuable role players (Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka) and an excellent tertiary scorer in James Harden.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Sam Dalembert and the Heat share mutual interest?

Posted by Royce Young

Everybody's favorite game is back now that the lockout is (sort of) over: Fill out the Heat's roster! Last summer, it was a mad dash for Pat Riley to fit in pieces around LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. He did it by using his mid-level exception on Mike Miller and then piled in veteran minimum contracts to go with a few rookie deals.

It worked, and it didn't work. The Heat reached The Finals, but they definitely were missing an inside presence. Joel Anthony served his position relatively well, but the big man by committee structure wasn't all that successful. Juwan Howard, Anthony, Jamaal Magloire, Erick Dampier, Dexter Pittman -- I wouldn't say any of those were really a hit.

So here they are again with free agency coming and they're looking at the big man market. There's Tyson Chandler, but they have no shot at him. Same goes for Nene and Marc Gasol (unless there's a sign-and-trade, which there won't be.

Where could they turn? Here's an interesting name: Samuel Dalembert.

Via ESPN.com:
Don't count out the Miami Heat. Dalembert lives in South Florida, wants a chance to win a title and is Pat Riley's No. 1 target. If no team offers him significantly more than the mid-level, Dalembert could be Miami-bound.
Also, consider this from FoxSports.com:
Dalembert wouldn't say he would agree to [the mid-level exception]. But he did say "what is best for you might not be for the most money." And he definitely likes the Heat.

"I'm keeping all my options open, but Miami could be a good fit for me," Dalembert said.

Why is that?

"If you look at the playoffs with Dallas, you saw what Tyson Chandler did," Dalembert said, referring to the 7-foot-1 center who helped the Mavs beat the Heat in six games for the title last June. "He was basically a key ingredient for them to win a championship. And Miami didn't have somebody like that. Somebody able to stop (foes from) getting second shots and somebody able to rebound and finish. I could fill that role and be an asset for that team."
A paycut is the only way the Heat can get to Dalembert and it would have to be a big one. He earned $13.4 million last season and that was while not playing a whole lot in Sacramento. He earned it because he emerged as a major defensive presence in Philadelphia but his production has tailed off some due to injuries, and possibly age (he's 30).

It makes a whole lot of sense in every way, except for the money. Dalembert's Haitian-born, which isn't far from South Beach. He has relatives in the area. He lives in nearby Boca Raton. Dalembert's potentially "missing piece" material for a team that desperately needs a dominant rebounder and shot blocker. Which in previous days, Dalembert was exactly that. As Tom Haberstroh of Heat index notes, despite a disappointing 2010-11, Dalembert still grabbed 19.3 percent of his team's rebounds, which is far above his positional average.

The Heat could have competition though. The Knicks need big man help desperately and are more in a position to pay Dalembert better money. Not a whole lot better, but better regardless. And the interest is said to be mutual there as well.

This free agent market doesn't have the big name, splash type players in it, but it does have potential championship pieces. Dalembert being one of them, and he's going to draw some big attention.
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 3:55 pm
 

Nene is going to get PAID

By Matt Moore 

We've already told you that Nene is the top free agent in the market. But the thing is, it's a weak market. The best players are in restricted free agency and therefore are difficult to acquire. The unrestricted market is full of players with huge limitations or age and injury concerns. As such, you'd expect spending to be limited. After all, teams just got done holding a five-month lockout based on saying that spending to much on players is the problem. 

Nope! Back to the market with their pockets full of change they go!

First, from the New York Post:  
The players the Nets likely will pursue have been out there: Nene, Tayshaun Prince, Jamal Crawford. Then there is always the sign-and-trade route, which seems more feasible again as the new deal apparently will allow for immediate sign-and-trades like in the past.
via Nets ready to get to work on Williams, 'going home soon'.

OK, well, sure, the Nets want to sign him. The Nets are always looking to overpay for a free agent. See: Outlaw, Travis. But surely there's not some sort of huge buyer's market for him, right? Nene is excellent at what he does, but he's not a star. Teams aren't goin to go gaga... oh. From the Houston Chronicle:  
The Rockets have some hard decisions to make. They’re going all out for free-agent center Nene. He’s 29 years old and coming off a season in which he averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Nene is 6-11, 250 pounds, and Morey believes putting him in a lineup with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin would give the Rockets three to build around.
via Rockets will target Nene in free agency, and if they don’t get him, will consider a full-blown reconstruction. | SportsJustice | a Chron.com blog.

Then you have the Nuggets, who have a world of cap space and every intention of re-signing the Brazillian center. If this winds up being an arms race, they have a good chance as anyone, given Nene's comfort level there. Then there's the possibility Nene could forgo the money and instead opt to chase a ring, putting the Knicks and Heat on the radar. Either way, Nene's goin to be the most sought-after player on December 9th, and there's a pretty good possibility that after a summer talking about controlling costs, a team is going to dramatically over-commit in pursuit of Nene.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:45 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 10:46 am
 

LeBron: I understand fan anger, miss the boos

Posted by Ben Golliver

lebron-james-decision

How long has the NBA lockout lasted? The NBA lockout has gone on so long that Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James has finally realized that "The Decision" wasn't the best idea.

Less than six months ago, the 2011 NBA Finals just lost, James took a hard line against those who criticized him in the aftermath of the television special in which he announced his intention to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat during the summer of 2010.

"At the end of the day," James said, "all the people that were rooting for me to fail, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that... They can get a few days, or a few months, or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point."

That was June. Now it's November, and James has criss-crossed the country and traveled the world, bringing basketball to all sorts of far reaches and raising loads of money for charity, all while spending the longest amount of time away from the court since he entered the NBA in 2003. All that time off has him singing a different tune.

In an interview with The Guardian, James says he totally understands why people would have been upset by the decision and goes so far as to apologize for hurting people.
Was James taken aback by the ferocious criticism of his screening of "The Decision"? "Um, yeah. I was surprised by it because I was making a decision for myself. I was doing something that I believed was going to make me happy and freshen me up. But looking back I can understand why a lot of people were upset. That definitely wasn't my intention: to upset people."

Does he wish he could change what he did in the summer of 2010? "I can't say I would change anything – because it would change so much that is leading to the future. But, yeah, there is definitely a better way I could have handled it, as far as the whole TV thing is concerned, and the same goes for the build-up to the announcement. A lot of people were hurt by it – and I definitely apologise to them. At the same time, you should never be afraid to do what you believe in."
What's more, absent the postseason pressure and with some time and space to reflect, James even says he misses the negativity that followed him from arena to arena during the 2010-2011 season.
James even claims to miss the booing that usually trails him. "I miss it right now with the lockout, feeding off the opposing crowd and them booing you – in a good way. Some of 'em, they boo you because they don't like you personally – but they don't know you personally. They haven't had the opportunity to sit next to you. If they did, they might have a totally different idea about you."
Just to recap: Five months ago, James encouraged his haters to enjoy their pointless lives because he wasn't going to change. In November, James misses their criticism, realizes those critical of him aren't doing so blindly, and says that he's sorry if people were hurt by his actions. He refuses to directly express regret, but all the ingredients are there. This isn't a total personality transplant, but it's definitely a makeover.

It's always been said that absence makes the hard grow fonder. Who would have guessed that phrase applied to superstars and their haters too?

Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
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