Tag:Pat Riley
Posted on: March 11, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 9:00 pm

New CBA may force Heat to move Bosh

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a hard cap may force the Heat to break up the Miami Triad and trade Chris Bosh
Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the upcoming CBA could lead to drastic changes to superteams, most notably the Miami Heat. Berger reports that some executives believe that should the NBPA cave to the owners' demands of a hard cap (which for them is approximate to worrying about gardening after a nuclear winter - if things reach that point everything's ruined anyway), the Heat would be in a position where their current structure built around the Triad would be untenable. Which would force them into a tough decision. Which of the three to keep?

Okay, so it's not a hard decision, as Berger points out: 
The most obvious candidate to be subtracted from the Big Three is Chris Bosh, who hasn’t been able to produce the kind of impact Miami could have gotten from 2-3 cheaper role players. Bosh also has complained recently about not getting the ball in the post enough. Whether or not he has a point, this sort of griping at a time when the Heat were in crisis mode won't make Riley any more eager to pay him $16 million next season -- especially if Miami falls far short of its championship goal in Year One.

Bosh is easily the most expendable of the three, not only from the perspective of Wade and James being superior players, but due to Bosh being a gangly stretch-four who struggles with rebounding and post-play, despite his impressive performance Thursday night against the Lakers. Bosh isn't necessarily expendable to the Heat considering his abilities, but should a team put together a sizable package of talented role players featuring rebounding and potentially a decent point guard (I know what you're thinking, sounds like Cleveland, let's just move on), would Pat Riley really ignore a phone call once the season is over, even before a new CBA? 

But then, there's the big issue. Who would want Bosh after this season? It's hard to place a team that would look at Bosh who has been revealed as a B-level superstar among his A-level teammates, who would be looking for a stretch four with a rail-like frame and a nice mid-range jumper, and who has shown to be mentally frail with a streak of egotism that may be the only area he rivals LeBron. That doesn't exactly paint a picture of the star you toss assets onto the outgoing wagon for, which means that should the Heat be forced to jettison Bosh under a new CBA, they may be in worse shape than they're in now. You know, worse than third-seed in the East with three of the ten best players in the National Basketball Association. Difficult life that they suffer with. 

Still, Bosh is a top-flight player and there will always be teams looking to add stars to their roster, especially those with cap room, and a desperate need for players to attract ticket holders. But should this doomsday scenario come to fruition, the Heat would be just one of several teams facing an inability to maintain the stacked rosters they've worked so hard to procure. Consider it the revenge of the abandoned, and yet another dramatic reformation of the roster landscape of the league. 
Posted on: March 10, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 11:52 am

No, seriously, Pat Riley isn't coaching the Heat

Pat Riley denies for the 100,000,000th time that he's considering taking over as head coach of the Heat for Erik Spoesltra. 
Posted by Matt Moore

This story won't die. The Heat could win seven championships in a row and the first losing streak they went through, everyone would run to Pat Riley and start bugging him about when he was going to take over coaching the Heat. Riley made this bed when he axed Stan Van Gundy, a great coach in his own right to take over the 2006 championship club. There's no getting past that with the media. We live for patterns and recurring stories. It's just the way the beast operates. But for his part, while the Heat are falling apart/melting/losing a number of regular season games against good teams in a row, Riley is being painfully clear that he has no intent of Brutus-ing Erik Spoelstra.

From the New Jersey Star-Ledger: 

Star-Ledger: Did you look online this morning? There was yet another headline about Erik Spoelstra’s job security. 
Riley: “Write it off. Write it off. It’s the media being neurotic. It’s their need to make a story, create a story, and make that story come true. And that ain’t going to happen. Write it off. We’re just in a tough time right now, we’ll get through it.”
via Big East Tournament: Miami Heat GM Pat Riley tries to avoid talking about team's issues | NJ.com.

Riley went on to say that the Heat need a legit big man but they wouldn't get it this year, which makes everyone stare awkwardly at Joel Anthony. At least Erick Dampier and Zydrunas Ilgauskas have the excuse of being oldser than dirt. 

Riley's not taking over this team. He's moved past the point of wanting to coach. And if it becomes dire enough for him to have to take the reins, he's not doing it with less than 20 games left in the season. It's too much upheaval, too much for him to try and get caught up on, too much for him to have to ramp up to in too short of time. The Heat are what they are, for better or worse. The sooner we can all accept that, the sooner we can move on to saying Larry Brown should be brought in to coach the Heat. Wait, what?

Category: NBA
Posted on: March 8, 2011 11:39 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 6:20 am

Heat fans chant 'We want Riley'

Miami crowd chants for president, former coach Pat Riley as Spoelstra's Heat struggle through loss again. 
Posted by Matt Moore

In the midst of the Heat's latest embarrassing loss, this time to the Blazers, the Miami Heat crowd turned on the home team pretty hard. While attendance wasn't stellar, lacking as it has all season, those in attendance became restless as the Blazers kept the lead by following up Heat runs with definitive performances from its whole team, especially the bench.

The result? Miami's crowd joined the throng of people nationwide claiming that the Heat would be better off with their president as coach rather than Erik Spoelstra. From ESPN's Tom Haberstroh
Yep. "We want Riley" chants at AmericanAirlines Arena. Heat down 9 with just under 7 mins left.

It's too late for Riley to step in -- way too late. He's been too far removed from the coaching decisions for most of the season and on top of it, he's made it clear his heart's not in it. This isn't 2006. While the Heat could use a coach of Riley's mold in terms of his ability to motivate superstars and manage the X's and O's, it's just past that point. They're locked into Spoelstra, for better or worse. 

But the fans do have a point. It's not just the inability of Spoelstra to make the obscene amount of talent he has mesh.  It's the lack of focus and the simple breakdowns.  Defensively, turnovers, you name it, the Heat lack a mental edge. And that falls on Spoelstra. Riley is a known quantity, he has been at that level. But the biggest reason for a Riley return is a little more complex. Riley has coached great big men. Erik Spoelstra has never coached a great big man, and his work with Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony reflect that. 

It's a bandwagon fanbase in Miami with the current pricing structure after the formation of the Triad. And those chants will keep coming as long as the Heat are losing.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:39 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 2:11 am

LeBron says Heat call themselves "The Heatles"

LeBron James calls the Miami Heat "the Heatles" in comparison with the legendary rock band, due to their ability to sell out on the road wherever they go. We compare and contrast in an all-too-serious endeavor of an altogether silly comment.
Posted by Matt Moore

In a move that's sure to make everyone much less critical of the collective ego of the Miami Heat, LeBron James said in his postgame comments after the Heat dispatched the short-handed and "Revolution No. 9"-esque Bobcats that the Heat referred to themselves as "The Heatles" since they sell out wherever they go. It should be noted that Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reminded us tonight, LeBron has used the "Eatles" gag before with Drew Gooden, Damon Jones, and James calling themselves "the Cleatles" in 2006.

Now, comparing his fledgling basketball team to the greatest rock and roll group of all time isn't even the dumbest thing LeBron's said in the past month (you may remember the 2010 pop hit "I Want To Contract Your Hand"). But it's right up his alley to make a ridiculous allusion which will only further the overwhelming amount of vitriol directed towards he and his Fab ... er ... Three ... when Bosh shows up. People love the Beatles. Love the Beatles. They were representative of both the childhoods of many and their parents, but a cultural revolution and the idea that the world could be a better place through listening to music made by drug users and makers of ridiculous film.  They were also much, much cooler than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, and Wade's pretty cool. 

Still, if we're going to venture down this long and winding road, we might as well take it all the way. And with that, here is the comprehensive guide to the similarities and dissimilarities of the Beatles and the 2010 Miami Heat. 

LeBron James is clearly John. Complicated relationship with his mother: check. Periodic moments of delusions of grandeur (okay, not so periodic): check. Rampant mood swings particularly when brought under criticism: check. Brilliance in performance to an almost genius capacity in chosen field: check. Two sons: check. 

Both James and Lennon shared early flashes of strain against traditional roles, as Lennon was one of the first to seek out experimentation with new instruments and creative ideas counter to the verse-chorus-verse traditional concept (along with George Harrison), LeBron began redefining the small forward position in the modern age with his ability to both distribute and rebound along with dropping a fat 40 in any given night.  The two also began their professional careers when they were in their teens. 

More than that, though, is that Lennon always sought to both embrace and reject the idolatry of their rock and roll lifestyles. Lennon very much sought to reach the "toppermost of the poppermost" in both creative and commercial success, while James and his merry band of LRMR men want to build a global empire. Lennon had a fierce rejection of the public eye once Beatlemania ran him ragged, and James began to slough off being the ultra-nice hero beginning with his refusal to shake Dwight Howard's hand in the 2009 playoffs. 

And then, naturally, in the end, there's the rather ugly similarities between how Lennon left the Beatles and LeBron James left the Cavaliers, a kind of bizarre inverse similarity. Lennon left the greatest musical collaboration of all time to spread his wings on his own. This is the point where I quote "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and reference "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." James left a situation where he was forced to be singularly great and solely profound on his own floor in order to join the greatest starting five collection of talent since... well, the Lakers. But it sells like rock and roll. 

Dwyane Wade is Paul, there can be no doubt. Commercially viable, easy with the press without having to overly strain himself, easy in the spotlight and more than happy to simply pursue pop songs, in this case, championships instead of messing with overt artistic revelations (global branding). Yet oddly underrated in that department as well, as some of the finest songs of the Beatles' peak era (Rubber Soul through Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) came from Paul, while Wade himself is redefining the combo guard position, sometimes playing the small forward to LeBron's point guard and at times the point guard to LeBron's shooting guard. 

Again we see the similarities in reverse, as Wade had a prolific solo career that was still never as recognized as it should have been prior to his collaboration with the Triad. 

Wade and Paul also enjoyed, ahem ... the company of several young ladies, though Wade's marriage to his childhood sweetheart is more reminiscent of John's relationship with Cynthia Lennon.  Like McCartney, Wade is comfortable as the front man of his band and has been proactive in the management of his assets. 

I would love to tell you that Chris Bosh is a perfect compliment to George Harrison, but the comparisons simply aren't there.  Harrison was a savant, and a driving force in both the life of John Lennon until the breakup of the Beatles, and in the creative mojo that transformed the band from mop head magazine covers to transcendent artists that influenced everyone from U2 and the White Stripes to the Beastie Boys and Kanye West.   Bosh on the other hand, would have been better replaced by Amar'e Stoudemire and while the explanations for his play being of an All-Star caliber are sound, watching the way the Celtics outright dominated him along with other tougher inside tandems leaves doubt, no matter how well he played against the Lakers. Harrison was quiet and enigmatic, Bosh is desperate for attention in the hurricane of media he operates in and has always sought out the limelight. If anything, with his videos featuring cowboy hats and other nonsense, he's more the Ringo type, but perhaps that's too cruel.

In this scenario, it should be said that Pat Riley bears a striking resemblance to George Martin, "the Fifth Beatle." Having the vision to take them to the next level, knowing how to manage their egos, trusting in their creative vision, it all flows in line with Riley's work as GM of the Heat. Of course, if the Heat flounder in the playoffs, undergo a massive transformation and never recover, all of these translations are pointless. Okay, they're pretty pointless anyway, but the comparison still is fun to contemplate. 

Of course, there's one huge difference between the two teams. After the Beatles made it big, they always sold out in England. In other words, they always sold out at home. Can't say the same for the Heat. 

Maybe the strongest conceptual relationship, though, exists in the friendship itself. Brought together by a common interest (basketball, music), the groups became thick as thieves and seemed for all the world like the closest lads in Liverpool/South Beach. Never mind that in this scenario the Olympics in Beiijing is boarding school. But for all the intimacy that such time together can afford, the bonds still weren't warm enough to keep the group together as it spread apart with maturity. Yet the Heat grew together in part because of that maturity, or immaturity, as some have reasoned. The Beatles never expressed much public regret about their friendships ending, and if the Heat were to detonate this whole idea this summer after a failed playoff run, it's hard to see too many tears being shed by Dwyane Wade or LeBron James. Wade would go on trying to win championships and James would go on trying to build his brand just as McCartney continued making music and Lennon continued trying to build the brand of peace until his death in 1980. 

At the end of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup between the Cavs and Celtics, Kevin Garnett spoke with LeBron James and while not explicitly suggesting he make his decision one way or another, did bring James' mind around to the complexities of the decision. Likewise, Bob Dylan, an older and more experienced musician, introduced the Beatles to marijuana and in doing so, brought them into a new age of musical experimentation which led to their best work. 

The recurring theme of Wade's injuries and the conspiratorial nature of the calls he received in the 2006 Finals do translate favorably to the "Paul is dead" hoax that came out of "Revolution No.9." 

Have we mentioned that Chris Bosh hired a documentary filmmaker to cover his free agency this summer? The passion for film certainly translates here as well. A Miami Heat "Help!" film would do much to repair their public image. Okay, that's a lie. But it would be really funny.

Dare we say that Jim Gray is the equal to Ed Sullivan?

The best inverse relational aspect that people are hoping and waiting for? 

They're all hoping LeBron becomes buds with Allen Iverson prompting him to leave the Heat hanging in order to join Iverson on some weird Sixers team that runs the Princeton offense or something. Yoko'd.

And yes, Spoelstra's best comparison is Pete Best, despite not having been replaced yet. Hard to get around it. Other candidates include: Mo Williams, Delonte West, and the entire city of Cleveland, Ohio.

Your complete Heatles Discography so far:
"A Hard Day's Night" BOS 88 MIA 80
"Baby's in Black" UTA 116 MIA 114
"Twist and Shout" MIA 96 ORL 70
"Yesterday" MIA 118 CLE 96
"Ticket to Ride: MIA 113 NYK 96
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" MIA 96 LAL 80

Posted on: December 1, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 11:18 pm

Tampering and the price of Heat Stroke

The Miami Heat are being investigated by the Cavaliers regarding tampering charges. We look at the burden of proof and the possible fallout. Posted by Matt Moore

And boom goes the Comic Sans.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a high-powered Midwestern law firm to investigate their suspicions that the Miami Heat broke NBA tampering rules while pursuing LeBron Jamesnotes, and owner Dan Gilbert has privately vowed he won’t relent until he has a thick binder of findings to drop on the desk of the NBA commissioner, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

(via Cavaliers probing Heat's signing of James - NBA - Yahoo! Sports )

As Ken Berger elucidates , this is a sticky situation that 's going to be awfully difficult for Cleveland to prove. The burden of proof is obviously on Cleveland and you're trying to not only prove that the meetings took place but the conversations that occurred without recording or documentation and the context within which the conversations took place.

Still, if the Cavs do plop down the "binder" on Stern's desk, he's going to have to proceed with caution. He was already viewed as a willing participant in the Heat's summer shenanigans. With a thorough report on his desk he'll have to give it the consideration it requires. Not because Dan Gilbert levied it, but because word is that Gilbert wasn't the only owner concerned that something was amiss.

Fines aren't really going to be a big problem for the Heat were they to wind up guilty as charged, so to speak, since they're producing so much revenue thanks to the Big 3. Front office suspensions are hard to see as troublesome since Pat Riley is really the only one in charge, he's pretty much done his job for the year, and it's not like ownership is going to make a change away from Riley.

Which leaves draft picks. The Heat have traded or swapped the most picks they can over the next four years. Removing draft picks would mean losing high first round picks who aren't likely to get playing time on a team obviously committed to the veteran role player approach.

In other words, losing some draft picks and some dough to get LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh for six years, even if they're struggling now?

I believe the phrase is, "Worth it."

Whether it was moral or not, that's another, and possibly irrelevant question.

Boy, the owner talks about the CBA are going to loads of fun when Micky Arison and Dan Gilbert show up at the same time. Awkward.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 8:08 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 8:46 pm

LeBron James and his Kingdom of Ruin

As the Heat get set to visit Cleveland Thursday night, and the NBA world turns its eyes on a hurt and angry fanbase, we look at the very real dangers and complicated emotions at work as LeBron James returns to the place he once called home.  Posted by Matt Moore

"Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done..."

And lo, what a Kingdom LeBron hath made.

Thursday night, as you may have heard from a few hundred thousand places , LeBron James returns to a very different Cleveland than he left five months ago. Awaiting him tomorrow night will likely be the most hostile crowd in modern NBA history, and that includes the crowd that engaged in a fist fight with Ron Artest amid the stands in Detroit. The Malice in the Palace was a spur of the moment debacle from a heated rivalry. This is an explosive situation that's been under pressure for an entire calendar season with everything from recession stress to the very personal nature of sports fandom, and how it relates to the city of Cleveland slowly raising the temperature higher. The situation James faces tomorrow night is all together more intense and deeply rooted, and considerably more dangerous than any we've seen since free agency began.

There may have been more disgusting outbursts at games in the league's infancy, given the racist overtones that have marked our country and with basketball having been so closely tied with the African American community since its own inception into our culture. But what LeBron meant to Cleveland, and what he means now, has helped to create a powder keg which is complicated by the current economic climate, a half-century old legacy of sports failure for a town whose culture is drenched in sports revelry, and moral values inherent in the middle of our nation. "You just don't do what LeBron did, and you certainly don't do it how he did it," is the prevailing wisdom in Cleveland.

Whether you agree with what James did, or how he did it, or not, the situation remains. Cleveland fans need to vent, to express their disappointment, hurt, and feeling of betrayal. They need closure, but don't feel like they can have it while the party goes on in South Beach, even if it's turned kind of lame and no one knows why Jamiroquai showed up and is DJ'ing. They really feel like they need this. And maybe they do. The real problem here has been the NBA's compliance with making what is already a looming debacle into something altogether worse.

The league could have done their best to maintain damage control on this. They could have scheduled it for a run-of-the-mill Tuesday night early game in January, or even February. Let things go for a while longer, to defuse, and certainly not put it on TNT. As it stands, the NBA has given the world front row seats and put Cleveland on stage, leaning back and saying "So, Cleveland? What have you got?" This situation was going to be volatile no matter where or when it occurred. But it did not have to be promoted, adding more fuel to the fire.

Why is this important? Because for every plea for reasonable behavior from Ohioans, for every demand of some level of decency from a proud and decent fanbase , there is still that concern. Clevelanders aren't denying the possibility of the unspeakable occurring, because they know it is a very real possibility . It's possible that nothing unfortunate will occur, likely even, given the security measures being deployed by the Cavs and the NBA. But there are any number of other scenarios that could occur. LeBron getting pelted with beer is one of the less scary threats. From people rushing the floor to flipping the bus as it tries to leave the arena, to objects which are not soft plastic and liquid being thrown, there is a distinct possibility of something happening Thursday night which could do significant damage on the scale of The Punch or the Malice at the Palace.

Think I'm overreacting? Read the message boards, the comment threads, the Twitter pages. Realize that large groups of people are planning chants which insinuate some of the downright most disgusting rumors this side of a daytime talk show. But really, just get a sense of how much even reasonable Cleveland fans want to see James suffer. They resist their impulses because they are, after all, reasonable people. But many people in attendance will not be. Man of those people will be drinking.

For James, you have to wonder if he's really going to get anything out of this game. He can't feel good about himself in this context. He may not feel bad about himself because of his massive ego, but he almost certainly isn't happy with so many people openly hating him. James has never fed off the boos like Jordan did, like Reggie Miller did, like Kobe Bryant does. He isn't naturally dispositioned towards anger. He's drawn to laughter and clowning. Part of him may want to punish Dan Gilbert, but on the other, he's walking into a former home as the most hated man in the state.

All of this gets past the fact that at some level, LeBron James is probably a little scared to go to work tomorrow. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. No one should have to be scared for their safety to go to work, but there's also no heroism in what James is doing. He created this mess and now he has to live with it. Playing under those circumstances may prove to be more than he can handle, and the Heat aren't playing well to begin with.

As for the game itself? Miami should roll. Mo Williams is better than Carlos Arroyo, but it's not leagues. J.J. Hickson is better than Bosh in muscle but not skill. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are obviously superior to their counterparts and neither team has a legitimate center. That said, that hasn't stopped the Heat from playing terribly at times, nor from Cleveland playing better than expected. And if ever there was an opportunity for an emotional lift, the Cavs may have it. A win would endear this team to the city like no playoff appearance or All-Star birth could. This is all they want, to see the once and never King broken on their home floor, with their venom raining down upon him.

This is Dan Gilbert, fanning the flames and playing the victim while he himself is partially responsible and continues to get rich off the misery.

This is a Heat team wholly unprepared for the vitriol they have inspired the world over, and especially in a quiet Midwestern city.

This is a group of professionals for the Cavaliers who just happen to be caught in the crossfire.

This is a superstar who could have been the next great nexus of talent, fame, and popularity.

This is a fanbase torn and driven to extremes, rising up not as one, but as a stadium full of individuals venting their very personal rage to their former idol.

This is LeBron's Kingdom of Ruin. Long it may reign.

For more coverage of Thursday night's Cavaliers versus Heat game: 

Ken Berger is on the scene describing the mood as the stage is set. 

Gregg Doyel doesn't want Cleveland to give the world the satisfaction by acting out of character. 

Berger also breaks down the tampering charges being pursued by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and we try to put them into context

Zydrunas Ilguaskas is pleading for the fans to keep perspective

YouReact with tomorrow's headlines for the game. 

More links in today's Shootaround
Video of LeBron James being booed as he takes the court.
Video of LeBron James being booed during introductions.
Video of LeBron James tossing the chalk.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 1:15 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 1:26 pm

Enablers driving conversation about Heat coach

Posted by Matt Moore

The season started a month and two days ago, but apparently it's never too soon for the new Heat to completely run over their head coach. Despite the fact that the Big 3 signed on to the Heat because of their trust in the organization, and that organization's trust in Spoelstra, a mutiny is afoot. ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that the Heat players are "frustrated" with head coach Erik Spoelstra, wondering if he's the right man for the job. Broussard claims this isn't a "LeBron v. Spoelstra" issue (regardless of timeout bumps ), but one of the Heat players versus the young coach.

Ken Berger will have more on the situation in full detail this afternoon, but there's an element of this story that's worthy of discussion here.

Chris Broussard was of course the reporter to first break that LeBron James' "Decision" would be to head to Miami to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. So naturally his having the story of the Heat's winter of discontent is going to raise some eyebrows. Broussard's connections are most visibly through LRMR/CAA and LeBron's crew of "enablers" as they're often called. That Broussard is specifically making it clear that LeBron is not behind this public relations coup d'etat comes across as a very defensive reaction from LeBron's people.

What's more, if we look at the likely squeaky wheels, all roads lead back to James and his crew, be it CAA, Maverick Carter, William Wesley, or the whole bunch. That's partially because there aren't many other likely suspects. The role players on the Heat, like Eddie House, the injured Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller, James Jones, Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Those aren't strong enough voices to raise discontent. They're not going to be saying anything that the Big 3 are going to disagree with. It's just not going to happen. Their loyalty first and foremost is to the Big 3 who will protect them if as their performances struggle. Which means it's the Big 3.

Chris Bosh? The notoriously soft player without a loud voice in the locker room? That's the guy calling for change? It's Bosh leaking things to Broussard through his people? Or how about Dwyane Wade, who has constantly (to this very day) defended Spoelstra, backed him, up and been behind him? That's the guy who has all of a sudden turned on him? Even if Wade had issues with Spoelstra, he's not going to his agents or entourage to leak to Chris Broussard about it; he's going straight to Pat Riley, the man that won him a championship. That's been Wade's MO the entire way. Say what you want about Dwyane Wade, he's been the model of professionalism in regards to basketball matters outside of that embarrassing introductory event. He's not likely to go to the media first in this scenario.

And even if we get past both of those things, separating Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade from LeBron James' people is kind of difficult. Why? Because they're all the same people. All three are represented by CAA, all three are close with William Wesley.

It's most likely that Broussard is reporting the truth as he knows it, that from his standpoint, LeBron wasn't the one behind this. But if that's the perception he's being given, it's because LeBron's people are purposefully orchestrating it to look that way. All the signs point to the same kind of power play LeBron has been orchestrating throughout his career with alarming frequency.

Remember that James oversaw multiple coaching changes in Cleveland. He constantly pushed for trades to improve his support while bristling at trades that would move players he was close with. (Even trading Zydrunas Ilgauskas was a difficult one for LeBron, even as it was aimed at gaining either Amar'e Stoudemire or the actually acquired Antawn Jamison.) Throughout all of it, James has and a team of people that go far beyond his agent Leon Rose pushing his agenda, running roughshod over the Cavaliers' organization. That tradition seems to be continuing now that the "family" has moved south. The problem here isn't that LRMR/CAA are driving a conversation in the media. The problem is that they're the ones driving the conversation, period.

As Andrew Sharp elucidates this morning , Spoelstra may have to go simply because he isn't capable of containing the beast that's been created. Even if he isn't the problem, he isn't able to help. This team does need a swift kick in the backside and Spoelstra's simply not going to be able to provide that. The question is whether Riley can wrangle the stars from the front office or if he'll be forced to either find a replacement for Spoelstra... or do it himself.

At the core of all this, that's what this situation is about. The Heat need someone to control the Big 3,to get their eyes off parties and enjoying themselves and into committing to the hard work and humility necessary to be truly great. Spoelstra may not be the guy to do that. The 2008 Celtics' Big 3 had more of a solidified voice than Doc Rivers (Rivers was on the hot seat before the Big 3 was assembled; the arrival of the Big 3 allowed the Celtics to mask his biggest problem: managing rotations). The difference is that the Big 3 knew desperation; they were at the end of their careers (comparatively) and knew they'd have to play with outright intensity every night. The Heat lack that and instead are led by two players who lack that passion and intensity, and their third leader (Wade) is trying to make it work with the other two weapons after a career of having to do everything.

This situation is being dictated by LeBron, just as this summer was. While Dwyane Wade is accepting responsibility and saying he has to improve, James continues to deflect. Someone, at some point, is going to have to take responsibility for the Heat. They're going to run out of people to fire, eventually.

In the meantime, we'll keep watching what's being said, and where it's coming from, as the fall of the King continues.

Posted on: November 28, 2010 1:00 am
Edited on: November 28, 2010 1:05 am

Heat hold players only meeting; will it help?

Posted by Royce Young

Remember back in September when people were talking about 72 wins and stuff with the Miami Heat? Well, they better start tightening things up because they only get two more losses if that's going to happen.

And there are just 65 games left. Going 63-2 the rest of the way shouldn't be a problem, right?

The Heat dropped to 9-8 with a loss in Dallas to the Mavericks, 106-95. Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined to score 67 points, following the blueprint exactly. Problem for the Heat was the rest of the team added just 28 points. Even worse, the other two starters added just six, all coming from Carlos Arroyo.

Following the game, which makes losses in four of their last five outings with the only win being over the lowly Sixers, the Heat held a players only meeting that reportedly lasted over 30 minutes. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that locker room. I imagine it was a lot of LeBron yelling about stuff, Dwyane Wade trying to be The Leader and Chris Bosh crying softly in a corner.

A players only meeting reeks of desperation. These guys are worried. They don't know what's going on. You can point fingers wherever you want and most of them are at Erik Spoelstra. But the idea behind this group was that Bugs Bunny could coach the team and they'd win. Players have got to play, especially when there's this much talent there.

 I'm not so sure how much the players only meeting included the other 12 guys on the roster, or if it was really Miami's Big Three talking to each other. Fact is, they've got to play better. That was the plan, that was the idea behind them joining forces. They'd be great and overwhelm teams with talent, and then the other players could fill in a few blanks. Really, after LeBron joined the Heat, most felt like the other 12 guys could be just about anyone . But Pat Riley actually put together a nice complementary roster with proven role players like Eddie House, Zydrunas Ilguaskas and Mike Miller, who of course is currently injured. And not only is the trio not holding up their end, they aren't getting much support either.

Mike Miller's return will certainly help, but he's not going to fix everything. He'll space the floor, but since when is Miller some kind of super role player that is the missing link between an average basketball team and greatness?

Last season's Heat were 10-7 after the first 17 games. Now this group is definitely better - I have no doubt - but there's a reason they're losing. They haven't gelled, they don't know how to play together and role players aren't playing roles well. Basically, they're a jumbled mess of a basketball team. When you formulate how things are supposed to work, it functions around your best player, his key supporting castmates and then quality role players. The Heat have no idea where or how any of those things fit in.

Will a players only meeting get things going a bit? Maybe. It's good that the team understands that there are issues. Issues that the coaching staff alone can't correct. So they got together and talked about it. Or yelled about it. I guess we won't ever really know.

Wade mentioned after the game how the 2006 Heat championship had a losing record at this point and didn't get going until they were beat down by the Mavericks by 40 points. But comparing that Heat team versus this one isn't accurate at all. One group was structured as a team. The other is built as a group of basketball players. There's a big difference.

Things can get better for the Heat with three winnable games ahead with the Wizards and Pistons at home and the huge Cavs game on the road. Those may seem like gimmes, but with the way they're playing now, I wouldn't hand them all three.

But even so, beating average and bad teams isn't good enough for this Heat group. They're supposed to be great, remember? They're supposed to win not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven championships. And ironically, unless the players start working this thing out, that statement might actually be exactly right.
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