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Tag:Miami Heat
Posted on: November 20, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 2:55 pm
 

The LeBron James Curse File: Oregon gets hit

By Matt Moore 

For those of you uninitiated, we've been having a little fun with the idea that LeBron James is cursed, for whatever reason ("The Decision," karma, his various public-comments-related disasters, the voodoo doll, etc.). It's not serious, though that hasn't stopped people from losing it over the suggestion it might be. To review: 

  1. He predicts the Heat will win multiple championships, then he "shrinks" in the Finals
  2. He extends a pre-existing sponsorship deal with Ohio State, then they undergo their biggest scandal in school history, resulting in the departure of Jim Tressel. 
  3. That same agreement also brought in the University of Miami to the Lebron James Brand. Then there were the the allegations involving prostitutes and rampant violations and the downfall of the program. 
  4. He became a partner with the same group that owns the Red Sox in buying the European football club Liverpool FC, and the Red Sox suffer one of the worst collapses in major league baseball history, as not only do they lose to the Orioles, but have the Rays come from behind to beat the Yankees, eliminating them from postseason play, which is followed by a Boston media report outlining all the ways the entire organization has fallen apart. Did we mention the general manager and manager of the two-time championship core also left the team over the debacle? 
On Saturday night, LeBron James was in Oregon visiting the Nike campus, and decided to make an appearance on the Oregon sideline. 

This picture was grabbed by @WhitneyKBlaine on Twitter, showing LeBron with the Ducks mascot.  The Ducks were in a position to move into the national title game after all the teams in their way outside of Alabama which already lost to LSU and Arkansas, who plays LSU next week. It took a remarkable set of failures to put them in position, but a win put them back in the driver's seat for a national title game appearance. 

38-35 USC. That's the sound of a duck with a championship belt going down the toilet. 

And to make matters worse:

 

We've tried to make it clear in previous posts on this subject we're just messing around. Maybe. Kind of. But seriously. The man appears and teams suffer inglorious fates and massive failures. He's the harbinger of FAIL. The Black Angel of LULZ. 

This is all in jest but man, it has not helped for teams to be associated with the two-time MVP. 

Posted on: November 19, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Warren Sapp calls LeBron James a 'pretty boy'

Posted by Ben Golliverlebron-james-pretty-boy

One thing we know about 330-pound defensive linemen: they love piling on. 

MySanAntonio.com reports that Warren Sapp -- a monstrous former All-Pro defensive tackle and current television analyst -- decided to jump on top of the massive pile of NFL players who have questioned whether Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James is tough enough to play professionall football.   
“How about LeBron do one-sixth of what Jordan did, let’s see him go win a championship,” Sapp said.

“Go do that. Go see if you can conquer your sport before you come over here because them boys on defense, we like pretty boys like that. We want to split them.”
Sapp made the comments on an NFL Network broadcast.

The idea that James, who was a high school football stand-out, might be interested in the NFL arose back in October, when Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll started recruiting him on Twitter.

The backlash from football circles at the time was swift and furious.

Cincinnati Bengals corner Leon Hall said: “It wouldn’t be easy. I recommend he keep his NBA contract and just play the Madden video games if he misses football.”

"He's the mentally weakest person I've ever seen," added former All-Pro linebacker Chris Spielman.

Sapp's comments are another indication that James is respected as an athlete but not feared. While he plays hard, James lacks a certain ferocity, not to mention a championship, that would serve to insulate him from this type of macho criticism. Sapp's analysis boils down to one part football provincialism and one part psychological challenge.

Sapp knows as well as anyone that his critique will be rendered moot if and when James wins a title. He's just getting in his shots while he can.
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:54 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 9:19 pm
 

Wade pledges loyalty to Jordan despite lockout

Posted by Ben Golliver

wade-jordan

NBA legend and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan has drawn the scorn of NBA players past and present over the last few months, thanks to his hard-line, anti-player stance in the league's ongoing labor negotiations. 

In case you missed it, Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace said that Jordan betrayed NBA players, former New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury called Jordan a "fake sellout", Golden State Warriors wing Klay Thompson and Indiana Pacers wing Paul George agreed that Jordan was a "straight hypocrite", and Washington Wizards guard Nick Young pledged never to wear Jordan's sneakers again. Jordan has generally enjoyed that rare combination of being loved, feared and respected, so all the criticism has been unusual, to say the least.

One prominent NBA player still has Jordan's back, though. Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade, one of Jordan Brand's major marketing faces, expressed his loyalty to his sneaker boss in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel on Thursday
"I really didn't need to get involved in all that," Wade said. "Obviously I wear a different hat than certain other guys that got involved in it. And I stay away from it. I have an obligation and I have a job to do and I'm going to do my job."

"That's on Nick Young," Wade said. "That's his moment. Obviously, that's his own choice and decision and, you know, that's something he's going to have to deal with. I can't let that affect me. I have my own things to run, my own stuff to think about what I'm doing with my own shoes.

"Obviously, I heard about it, because you can't do nothing but hear about everything now, because there's nothing else to do."
When Wade refers to the fact that he wears a "different hat" than the players critical of Jordan, what he actually means is that he has his own very popular signature shoe with Jordan and that he is compensated handsomely for it. In 2007, BusinessWeek.com reported that Wade was pulling in roughly $10 million a year in shoe endorsements. By comparison, Young, who is signed with Nike according to the Washington Post, has made $7.4 million in NBA earnings during his 4-year NBA career.

Put simply: Jordan almost certainly pays Wade more money in one year than Young has made in his lifetime. We shouldn't be surprised in the slightest that the two men have different takes on MJ's role in these labor negotiations.

Wade, a Chicago native who grew up idolizing Jordan, modeling his game after No. 23, has earned nearly $70 million in NBA salary and tens of millions more off of endorsements. He could very well find himself on the owners' side of the table in future collective bargaining negotiations if he chooses to follow in Jordan's footsteps after he retires.

For better and worse, Wade, like Jordan, is so fully invested in the massive business system that surrounds the NBA that outside perception of their moral stands doesn't even come under consideration. The "job" and the "obligations" come first, second and third.
Posted on: November 16, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 12:03 am
 

Bosh: Lockout is NBA's revenge for Big 3, Melo

Posted by Ben Golliverchris-bosh-250

During the ongoing NBA lockout there is plenty of blame to go around, but very few people who are willing to accept it.

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh is used to being criticized, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that he is one of a very few major figures in professional basketball to admit that his actions played a key role in the current labor impasse.

Bosh, who left the Toronto Raptors to join Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami during the summer of 2010, told the Sun-Sentinel that he believes the hard-line stances taken by owners during the current collective bargaining agreement negotiations are motivated in part by the Big 3 teaming up.
He said it would not be a stretch to believe the Heat's signing of himself, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the 2010 offseason contributed to the league's belief that the work rules had to change.

"I think so," he said.

But he said efforts to block such an approach are misguided.

"I mean, if you look at the free agents coming up in the same situations, with Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, they can control their own fate," he said. "They have the power to control that and I think that's a great thing. In any job you want freedom to negotiate.

"With us doing what we did, and Carmelo going to the Knicks, I think that has a lot to do with it. Hopefully we can keep that and guys can come and go and make the deal that's best for them and their family."
Is Bosh correct? Definitely.

If there's one mantra that has been preached by the NBA throughout the negotiations, it's competitive balance. What could be more of a competitive imbalance than three All-Stars agreeing to join together to form a superteam core and then actively recruiting role players to produce a perennial title contender in the NBA's most desireable market? Pretty much nothing.

Same thing goes for the New York Knicks. What could be worse for competitive balance than Amar'e Stoudemire heading to the Big Apple, followed in short order by Carmelo Anthony forcing his way there during a midseason trade, with buddy Chris Paul just biding his time, waiting for his opportunity to hop on?

What's more, such talent consolidation only exacerbates the inherent monetary benefits that go with being in large or desireable markets. If an entire generation of superstars wielded its power to determine where they played as successfully as James, Bosh and Anthony, there is little doubt the gap between the NBA's haves and the have-nots would increase.

Examining the NBA's most recent proposal, it's clear that the owners have taken a number of steps to help incumbent teams keep their stars and to create an environment in which those teams, stars in hand, will be able to build around them. Severe luxury tax penalties, a severe restriction on the mid-level exception for tax payers, shorter contract lengths and continued Bird Rights all combine to limit a player's options in free agency and tip the balance towards the home team. Players could still leave once they hit unrestricted free agency, of course, but they would take a bigger hit, relatively, than they did in the old agreement.

The upside, the league would argue, is that their incumbent teams would be better able to compete for talent to build around the stars because they wouldn't be tied up by as many burdensome, useless contracts and there wouldn't be high-end competition from luxury tax payers for free agents. Most everyone concedes that there aren't enough stars to go around to ensure total parity in the NBA, but the league's proposal would appear to take meaningful steps in that direction.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Obviously that depends on your point of view. For Bosh, or fans of his star-laden team, the NBA's proposal would represent a major step back. Disgruntled fans of the Raptors and Cavaliers, though, might have a different opinion. One thing is for sure: If everyone involved in the labor negotiations was as honest and willing to implicate themselves as Bosh was here, the negotiations would be in a far better place.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 5:30 am
 

Shaquille O'Neal disses Chris Bosh in new book

Posted by Ben Gollivershaq-bosh

We can't count on the NBA these days, but it's good to know that basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal will keep right on dissing Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, lockout or no lockout.

The Palm Beach Post reports that O'Neal takes a swipe at Bosh in his new autobiography, Shaq Uncut, which is set for release on Wednesday.
“Some guys come into the league without a ton of props, so there’s not a whole lot of pressure on them. Then they sign a big deal and all of a sudden they’re thrown into the spotlight. Chris Bosh is like that. He’s getting all this attention, so he starts believing he’s really good. C’mon now. We know better. He’s a player who can put up some numbers, but he’s not an elite player. He was in Toronto eight years and they were never a factor, never a playoff team. Don’t get with those other two guys and start pounding your chest. I ain’t buying it, and I’m not the only one.”
Bosh's Raptors twice made the playoffs but did not advance out of the first round.

All things considered, this is a disappointingly tame criticism from O'Neal, at least by his own standards.

In 2009, the Arizona Republic reported that O'Neal had much harsher words for Bosh after a dispute over his free throw shooting technique.

After Shaquille O'Neal scored 45 against Toronto on Friday, Raptors star Chris Bosh said O'Neal had benefited from officials ignoring his three-second lane violations.

"I heard what Chris Bosh said, and that's strong words coming from the RuPaul of big men," O'Neal said. "I'm going to do the same thing (in their next meeting) I did before - make him quit. Make 'em quit and complain. It's what I do."
RuPaul is a well-known drag queen.

Then, back in July, O'Neal was quick to slight Bosh in his analysis of the 2011-2012 championship contenders.
"The Miami Heat, they've got a lot of great players, the 'Big 2.' They will be back," O'Neal said from Louisiana during the broadcast, when discussing the NBA Finals and how Dallas was able to beat Miami for the title. "LeBron James is taking a lot of criticism, but I know LeBron very well. He hears everything that everyone is saying, so I think he's going to come back and have an MVP year this year." 

"Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, you know, they're great players, they're probably the greatest backcourt ever assembled," O'Neal said. "And you know, they're going to get back. They're going to get back. They play well, they went through a lot, they put a lot of pressure on themselves. That's how they like it. And they will be back."
And that's essentially the theme he has going in his book. James and Wade are great; Bosh is an afterthought. It's not a particularly original assessment -- millions of casual fans reached the same conclusion last year -- but it is interesting to hear it from O'Neal's perspective.

At various points of his career, O'Neal was a talented rookie looking up to established Hall of Fame centers, the best player in the league leading a title contender, a second fiddle on a title contender, and a broken down big man who couldn't stay healthy long enough to get on the floor. That's a lot of different roles and they combine to shape a uniquely qualified perspective. The truly elite players in the game have each other's respect, even if it's begrudging. O'Neal, for example, threatened to kill Kobe Bryant when the two were Los Angeles Lakers teammates, but the Palm Beach Bost notes that O'Neal compliments Bryant in his book: "Kobe is a scientific dawg. He works out every day, practices every day. Most of the other stars are just dawgs, not scientific dawgs." 

I guess this all comes down to that old adage about respect being taken and not given. Whether because of his personality quirks or the nature of his face-up game, it's clear Bosh has not compelled respect from O'Neal. The interesting question to watch going forward: Will O'Neal's tune change if Bosh contributes to a Heat title?

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk
Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 1:14 pm
 

The biggest lockout loser could be Miami

Posted by Royce Young



With an NBA season hanging in the balance, thoughts are shifting to who has the most at stake right now. Who loses the most without a season? Players? Owners? Fans? Teams?

All of the above, really. But in terms of dollars and cents, Miami loses the most. Not the Heat though -- the city.

According to CBS Miami, the city will lose some $200 million without an NBA season. Parking next to the arena is currently going for just $3. A nearby Buffalo Wild Wings has already seen its sales drop dramatically from last year.

It shouldn't be surprising though. When a $4 billion business disappears, things are affected. A report from Cleveland says the NBA accounts for 35 percent of annual downtown restaraunt revenue. Estimated losses for Portland are $59 million. For Oklahoma City, $60 million. For San Antonio, $90 million.

Some cities like Memphis have considered filing a class action suit against the league because taxpayer funds were used to build a new arena that now is sitting empty.

We all know that a season without the NBA greatly changes things for a lot of people. We've all heard players pretend to apologize to arena workers about it. We've all heard David Stern pretend to call this a tragedy. People are hurt by this. Cities are being damaged. Maybe it's irresponsible for businesses and cities to put so many eggs into the NBA basket, but it's just the way it is.

I live in Oklahoma City. And the overhaul the city has seen in the three years the Thunder have been here is incredible. But right now, a newly renovated arena is sitting there with new outdoor video boards and a brand new grand entrance that nobody is using. And the city is not only paying for that still, but not reaping any of the rewards that were promised to it because of a team.

Projections in OKC early on said the city would add an extra $50 million to the economy with an NBA franchise. But that number is around $60 million now and growing. People wanted an NBA team here regardless, but to that casual person, the promise of an economical boost was enough to vote yes on a new tax to get a team. And now citizens are getting absolutely no return on their investment.

Everyone is losing. Everyone. Except the lawyers. They're winning big.

Via The Post Game
Posted on: November 12, 2011 9:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Fight with Pat Riley led Miami Heat to trade Shaq

Posted by Ben Golliverpat-riley-shaquille-oneal

Shaquille O'Neal will be remembered as one of the NBA's greatest players, but his ugly exits from city after city caused plenty of controversy and wound up staining his legacy and lowering his career ceiling.

The scorched earth farewell from Orlando and the battle of egos with Kobe Bryant that led to his departure from Los Angeles are well-known. But there was also the move from a title-winning Miami Heat squad to the Phoenix Suns, a blow-up that might not have attracted as much attention because O'Neal was already past his prime, but nevertheless had plenty of eye-popping drama.

In an ESPN.com excerpt from his forthcoming autobiography, Shaq: Uncut, O'Neal lays out the story behind why he left South Beach for the Southwest. O'Neal admits that he threw a teammate to the ground while exchanging profanites with legendary coach Pat Riley, all while approaching Riley, who was 62 at the time, as if he was going to punch him.

The encounter, O'Neal writes, began when Riley attempted to throw guard Jason Williams out of practice only for O'Neal to step in and tell him to stay.
I tell Pat we're a team and we need to stick together, not throw guys out of the gym. Pat is screaming at me and says if I don't like it, then I should get the hell out of practice, too.

That's when I said, "Why don't you make me?"

I start taking a couple of steps towards Pat. Udonis Haslem steps in and I shove him out of the way. Then [Alonzo Mourning] tries to grab me. I threw him aside like he was a rag doll.

Now it's me and Riley face-to-face, jaw to jaw. I'm poking him in the chest and he keeps slapping my finger away and it's getting nasty. Noisy, too. He's yelling "F--- you!" and I'm yelling back, "No, f--- you!"

Zo is trying to calm us both down and he has this kind of singsong panic in his voice. He keeps saying, "Big fella, no big fella, big fella!" I finally turn around and tell him, "Don't worry. I'm not going to hit the man. Do you think I'm crazy?"

Everybody was kind of backing away from me because I had that murderous "Shaq is about to go off" look on my face. They knew better than to mess with me at that point.

So, if you're keeping score at home, that's teammate-on-teammate violence plus threatened elderly violence.

Shortly thereafter, O'Neal writes, Riley contacted his agent and said that a trade was in the works. O'Neal played his first game with the Suns in February 2008. The Heat won just 15 games that season and took a step towards rebuilding; O'Neal enjoyed a mini-resurgence in the desert. One of those mutually-beneficial trades, I guess.

The biggest lesson here is that it was Riley's way or the highway in South Beach. Having won and lost with the biggest egos of multiple generations of NBA players, it's no wonder that he took the plunge on acquiring LeBron James without hesitation. Dealing with O'Neal nose-to-nose with your credibility challenged is perfect training for the many personality challenges that James brought to the table last season.

If Riley could motivate a title out of O'Neal, who was apparently capable of really flipping out when the going got tough, it's difficult to bet against him coaxing one out of James, too. Of course, it's Erik Spoelstra, and not Riley, who must physically stand, unflinching, when questioned and challenged on the practice court these days. 

RELATED: In new book, Shaquille O'Neal writes that he was physically abused by his father 
Posted on: November 12, 2011 9:04 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 10:03 pm
 

Heat to waive Mike Miller with amnesty clause?

Posted by Ben Gollivermike-miller

Will it be one-and-done for Miami Heat forward Mike Miller?

Miller represented the final piece of the Heat's free agent puzzle bonanza during the summer of 2010, hopping aboard after guard Dwyane Wade re-signed and forwards LeBron James and Chris Both took their talents to South Beach.

Targeted as a floor-spacing shooter and all-around team guy, Miller dealt with injuries throughout the 2010-2011 season and never had the impact his 5-year, $30 million contract demanded.

This week, the Sun-Sentinel reports that Miller has put his Miami mansion on the market, listing it for $9 million, and is openly discussing the possibility that he might be waived by the Heat using the amnesty clause that is expected to be a part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
The veteran forward said Wednesday he is just taking stock of the current situation in both his career and the NBA. And that means taking stock of his 9,968-square-foot estate with the $180,000 in annual property taxes.

"It's a couple of things," Miller said. "Just preparing myself; never know what can happen."

"If anything happens with the amnesty, this is just going to be a business decision and I can respect that," he said. "Teams will only get one opportunity to use it. I can respect that part of it."
The Heat face two questions with regard to Miller and the amnesty clause. Do they amnesty him? And, if so, when? Remember, the current amnesty clause proposal would let a team use it at any apoint during the next two seasons and potentially for the duration of any current contracts. In other words, the decision wouldn't need to be made immediately.

Besides Wade, James and Bosh, the Heat have just three players under contract that can meaningfully contribute: Miller, forward Udonis Haslem and center Joel Anthony. Point guard Mario Chalmers is a restricted free agent and could return to the team as well. The Heat will also have a mid-level exception to play with, and they figure to use that to beef up their frontcourt depth. So, at most, that's a core of eight players (including the MLE target) plus a whole lot of youngsters and minimum salary players to fill out the roster. The Heat are stretched thin with Miller; without him, they would be stretched really thin.

While Miller didn't live up to his contract last year, finances alone aren't the major concern in any amnesty decision, as using it would require Heat owner Micky Arison to pay Miller the balance of his salary and settle for zero on-court production in return. Waiving Miller now would be all about reducing the payroll to free up salary cap flexibility, but it's not totally clear yet how helpful shedding his salary will be. If the Heat do retain Chalmers and use their mid-level exception, they will be fairly close to the luxury tax line, and probably above it, even if they waive Miller. They'll be paying out big dollars with or without him, an eventuality that Arison seems to have no problem with. 

There is talk, however, that the value of a mid-level exception would be significantly smaller for luxury tax paying teams than for non tax-payers. If this winds up being true, keeping Miller and re-signing Chalmers could put Miami in the luxury tax and, theoretically, could limit their potential targets in free agency by reducing the total dollar amount Miami is able to offer with their mid-level. In other words, if Miller is cast out immediately it's likely to happen so that Miami can bring in a full mid-level free agent who can play meaningful minutes and wouldn't settle for the smaller mid-level available to luxury tax payers. (Note: The specific mechanics for what would be available to Miami, and when, will not be set in stone until a new CBA is reached.)

Let's not lose sight of the fact that it's a virtual guarantee that Miller has a better season in 2011-2012 than he did in 2010-2011. He played a career-low in games last year and averaged career-lows in minutes, points and assists. He's still just 31; he's primed for a bounceback campaign in one form or another. Even if he underperforms his past peak production, he's only on the books for $5.4 million, so it will be very difficult for him to be outrageously overpaid unless he can't physically take the court. On paper, he's still the same versatile, intelligent perimeter threat that can serve as an outlet for Wade and James. If Miller goes, Miami would need to address the hole he leaves and they will need to pay to do so.

An attractive option, then, would be to simply punt on the Miller decision. While Miller is on the books officially for $24 million over four more years, Miami essentially has a team option for $5.4 million thanks to the amnesty clause. Waiting until next season to execise the amnesty would give Miami another year to show why he was a top Heat target in 2010 and to see if the developed chemistry between the Big 3 and their supporting pieces that was often on display during playoff series victories over the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls can be realized in the sequel season. If injury does strike again, Miami could always amnesty Miller prior to the 2012-2013 season and go mid-level exception hunting at that time. 

The least risky play for Miami, then, is to give Miller a swan song, bring back Chalmers (unless his price is really stepp), and get the best big man they can find with the mid-level, regardless of whether they are able to use a normal mid-level or a reduced luxury tax payer mid-level. If the season does wind up starting sooner rather than later, maintaining continuity from last season and keeping their options open going forward would seem to be the prudent play during a crunched free agency period and a shortened season.

Miller is smart to list his house for sale so that he has a jumpstart if things go south for him in South Beach. But there's still a decent chance he's back for redemption with the Heat whenever the lockout ends.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com