Injury update: Looks like the Heat will have the complete group tonight, except for Dion Waiters

Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside stands on the court before the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI — Hassan Whiteside is on track to return from injury in Thursday’s home game against the Bulls … and so is Bam Adebayo. Continue reading “Injury update: Looks like the Heat will have the complete group tonight, except for Dion Waiters”

Today’s matchup: Heat look to extend winning streak to three vs. struggling Bulls — maybe without Hassan Whiteside

MIAMI HEAT VS. CHICAGO BULLS

When: Sunday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Records: Miami 9-9, Chicago 3-14

Miami Heat players including forward James Johnson (16), Kelly Olynyk (9), Wayne Ellington (2) and Goran Dragic (7) celebrate in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Justise Winslow

F: Josh Richardson

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Dion Waiters

G: Goran Dragic

Bulls

F: Denzel Valentine

F: Lauri Markkanen

C: Robin Lopez

G: Justin Holiday

G: Kris Dunn

Scouting report: Heat center Hassan Whiteside is questionable after missing Saturday’s practice because of soreness and swelling in his left knee, the same knee that forced him to miss five games earlier this season. The Heat are still without swingman Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) and forward Okaro White (left foot surgery). … The Bulls will be without David Nwaba (right ankle sprain), Zach LaVine (left ACL), Cameron Payne (right foot) and Nikola Mirotić (maxillary fractures). … The Heat defeated the Bulls 97-91 in their first matchup of the season on Nov. 1 at AmericanAirlines Arena. Goran Dragic scored 20 points and Tyler Johnson added 19 points of his own for Miami. Rookie Lauri Markkanen led Chicago with 25 points and eight rebounds in that game. … The Bulls have been one of the league’s worst teams this season, as they own the NBA’s worst record and net rating. Chicago enters the game on a four-game losing streak and has been outscored by an average of 24 points per game during the skid. … Markkanen leads the Bulls in scoring with 14.6 points per game on 40.1 percent shooting from the field and 34.5 percent shooting from 3-point range. … The Heat are averaging the fourth-most 3-point shot attempts in the NBA with 32 per game this season and rank 14th with a 3-point shooting percentage of 36.1. … Miami has faced six teams this season that currently have a losing record, and have posted a 5-1 record in those games. … Among the 97 players who are averaging at least four 3-point shot attempts per game this season, Heat guard Wayne Ellington ranks 15th with a 3-point shooting percentage of 43.0 percent.

[A tall order: Heat forward Justise Winslow shuts down Timberwolves’ 7-foot Karl-Anthony Towns]

[Wayne Ellington ignites Miami Heat’s 3-point ‘party’]

[Heat forward James Johnson saddened by news that injuries may force friend Derrick Rose to step away from NBA]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Five takeaways: Buoyed by Hassan Whiteside’s return, Heat snap three-game losing streak

Chicago Bulls guard Justin Holiday bats the ball away from Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson during Wednesday’s game. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI – This is exactly what the Miami Heat needed.

Struggling to a 2-4 start that included three consecutive losses at home, the Heat were in desperate need of a victory with the season’s longest road trip looming.

Enter the Chicago Bulls.

Although it wasn’t easy and Miami appeared to try to give away this game at times, the Heat escaped with a much-needed 97-91 victory Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena, snapping a three-game losing streak.

After building a 15-point lead in the first half, Miami (3-4) went cold and allowed the Bulls to storm back and go ahead by six points. But Miami was fortunate it was playing the worst offensive team in the league. The rebuilding Bulls (1-4) entered with league lows in point per game (89.8)  and field-goal percentage (.385). They finished shooting 40.4 percent from the floor, including 25.0 percent on 3-pointers after making five of their final six.

“It was just good to finally get a result after a lot of the work these guys have been putting in,” said coach Erik Spoelstra, who turned 47 on Wednesday. “I liked all the emotions these guys had to go through. We got the lead and when they got back in it, these guys were just crushed.”

Hassan Whiteside returned after missing five game because of a bruised bone in his left knee and finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds in 26 minutes. Goran Dragic led the Heat with 20 points while adding five rebounds and six assists. Dion Waiters had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Heat end this season-long six-game home stand 3-3 and now hit the road for six games, starting Friday in Denver.

Here are our five takeaways from the win:

Whiteside story: It wasn’t the 3-point shot he nailed in the first quarter, giving him two in two games which is two more than his first 218 games, but it was more the way he attacked the glass and moved under the basket that showed Whiteside was ready to play. Spoelstra wanted to keep Whiteside’s minutes under 30 and we saw why as Whiteside looked fatigued at times. “It was different, because it had been such a long time since I played five-on-five,” Whiteside said. Whiteside grabbed nine rebounds in the first quarter and had a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) with 3½ minutes to play in the first half. Whiteside said after the game it was the first time he’s played 5-on-5 since the injury and had forgotten how fast the game was played.

“He hasn’t done a crazy amount of full-court work,” Spoelstra said. “I thought his first seven minutes were outstanding. His rebounds, he was grabbing those 12 feet above the floor. His defense was great, communication was great. Then I though he hit the wall.”

Dragic to the rescue: Dragic continues to be the Heat’s most consistent player. The veteran point guard appears to will the Heat though their rough patches and did so again Wednesday when the offense was bogged down in the second half. Dragic, who has felt sick the last two days and was sent home Tuesday, closed the third quarter with a 3-pointer to put the Heat up by three and opened the fourth with a nifty and-one, taking the ball around his back and flipping it in before being fouled to push the Heat’s lead back to six points. Dragic then threw a 25-foot bounce pass to Bam Adebayo, whose dunk gave Miami a seven-point lead. Dragic continues to lead the Heat in scoring with a 19.9 average.

“Goran is a closer,” Spoelstra said. “He was under the weather tonight. He just finds a way, it’s uncanny. He’s going to get in the paint all night and he’s going to make your offense look better.”

Evolving lineup: Spoelstra went with his fourth different starting lineup in seven games. Not only did Whiteside return but Okaro White replaced the ailing James Johnson at power forward. Johnson has right knee tendinitis and did not play and Spoelstra said the team is being proactive to make sure it does not become an issue. The starting five had mixed results. After a slow start offensively (2-of-8 from the floor) the unit got it going and led Chicago 18-6 when Tyler Johnson entered the game. It helped that Chicago missed all but one of its first 10 shots. The second half was a different story, with Miami starting 3 of 11 from the floor and being outscored by six points before Johnson entered the game.

Ball security: The Heat entered the Chicago games ranked 20th with 16.3 turnovers per game, nearly three more per game than last season. They committed at least 19 turnovers in three of their past four games, something they did six times the entire 2016-17 season. But Wednesday was more to Spoelstra’s liking. The Heat continued to be aggressive taking the ball to the basket and finished with just 11 turnovers – five coming in a stretch of just more than seven minutes in the third quarter.

“It was a roller coaster game for us,” Dragic said .” We opened the game well. The third quarter we kind of let them back into the game. We’re happy how we bounced back.”

Hit the road: The Heat follow their longest home stand of the season with their longest road trip. Miami opens the six-game, nine-day trip in Denver on Friday before traveling to L.A. to face the Clippers, Oakland to play the Warriors, Phoenix, Utah and Detroit. The Heat will be spending a lot of time on the road this month. Following Wednesday’s game against Chicago, Miami plays 11 of its next 14 away from home, then three home games Nov. 15 (Wizards), Nov. 19 (Pacers) and Nov. 22 (Celtics).

“We’re happy with the win,” Dragic said. “It’s kind of a confidence boost before a long road trip.”

[Miami Heat jerseys, intro video will have old-school feel this month]

[Hassan Whiteside expected to return tonight against the Bulls]

[Turnovers are an issue, but Erik Spoelstra wants the Heat to stay ‘aggressive’ and not to play ‘passively’]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Tonight’s matchup: Hassan Whiteside returns, James Johnson not expected to play as Heat look to snap 3-game skid against Bulls

CHICAGO BULLS VS. MIAMI HEAT

When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Records: Chicago 1-4, Miami 2-4

Chicago’s Robin Lopez and Miami’s Hassan Whiteside tip-off to start a game at American Airlines Arena last season. The Bulls are in full rebuild mode this season. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Bulls

F: Paul Zipser

F: Lauri Markkanen

C: Robin Lopez

G: Justin Holiday

G: Jerian Grant

Heat

F: Okaro White

F: Josh Richardson

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Dion Waiters

G: Goran Dragic

Scouting report: The Heat will have Hassan Whiteside back in the lineup but probably will not have James Johnson’s services.  Johnson has right knee tendinitis and will be available if needed but is not expected to play. Whiteside has missed five consecutive games since bruising a bone in his left knee in the season opener at Orlando. After going through a full workout Wednesday morning, Whiteside will warm up prior to the game with the intention of playing. … Whiteside averaged 29.0 points and 14.0 rebounds against the Bulls last season while Goran Dragic averaged 17.7 points and 8.7 assists. … The Heat and Bulls finished 41-41 last season with Chicago claiming the final playoff spot by virtue of winning the season series 2-1. This season the Bulls are in full tank mode after trading Jimmy Butler during the summer and buying out Dwyane Wade’s contract. Chicago’s four losses have been by an average of 16.5 points including 101-69 to OKC on Saturday. … Chicago is last in the league in scoring (89.8 ppg), field goal percentage (.385) and offensive rating (91.0). … One bright spot has been rookie and No. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen who is averaging 15.6 points and 9.6 rebounds. … The Bulls are without Zach Levine (ACL), Nikola Mirotic (concussion), Cameron Payne (foot) and Bobby Portis (team suspension). …

[Turnovers are an issue, but Erik Spoelstra wants the Heat to stay ‘aggressive’ and not to play ‘passively’]

[Mailbag: Should Miami Heat make a play for disgruntled Suns guard Eric Bledsoe?]

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The Miami Heat have had some practice scuffles but nothing that has landed a player in the hospital

Heat forward James Johnson steps in to protect Hassan Whiteside during a games last season. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

ORLANDO – Udonis Haslem has seen his share of dustups at practice. But an all-out brawl with two players exchanging blows and one of them landing in the hospital with two facial fractures and a concussion? Not in Miami, or many other places other than Chicago.

“Players get heated and our guys get competitive and we’ve had some near altercations but we do a good job of stepping in before it gets to that point and making sure it doesn’t escalate,” said Haslem, the Heat captain who is in his 15th season with the team.

“We try to do a good job of getting in between and breaking it up before it can get to that point, kind of try to be proactive.”

The Bulls suspended Bobby Portis for eight games Wednesday after a heavyweight brawl at practice between the 6-foot-11, 230-pound Portis and 6-10, 220-pound Nikola Mirotic. Portis landed one punch that broke two bones in Mirotic’s face and caused a concussion.

James Johnson made it clear nothing like that would happen at a Heat practice.

“That’s their locker room and that’s their culture and what they do,” he said following Wednesday’s shootaround as the Heat prepare for their season opener in Orlando.

“I can’t speak for their team or anything else. I know we resolve things a little bit different over here.”

Johnson, the Heat’s unofficial enforcer, made is seem the worst he’s seen since joining the Heat in 2016 is a lot of words but little action.

“We hash it out like professionals and like men,” he said. “You know it can get chippy out there at practice, it can get chippy out there in the games. But war is war and figuring it out in the locker room is a totally different thing.”

Not that anybody would consider testing Johnson, who is a second degree black belt and owns a 27-0 record in MMA and kickboxing matches.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he’s witnessed some incidents during his time with the Heat, even some that got a bit more physical when Pat Riley was the coach.

But none in which a player was injured.

“We’ve had some close encounters,” Spoelstra said. “And then back in the day with Pat there were a couple of scuffles.

“When you get to it then you handle it. Every situation is different. It depends on the context. It’s not just a set-in-stone rule.”

Guard Goran Dragic has seen hard fouls lead to bad blood, but nothing more that shouting and shoving.

“I was part of teams in practice if somebody makes a hard foul those two guys get into their faces, but not throwing punches,” he said. “Everybody wants to win, everybody is competitive and sometimes things will happen. But I was always part of a team that somebody would step in between. At the end of the day we’re a team.”

[Erik Spoelstra: Heat coaching staff went ‘immediately silent’ after watching Gordon Hayward injury]

[A look at each player on the Miami Heat’s 15-man roster to start the season]

[Hassan Whiteside ready to take that next step to becoming true leader, All-Star]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

 

 

Heat president Pat Riley on Dwyane Wade: ‘Any opportunities that are there, we’re always going to approach that’

Heat president Pat Riley was careful when talking about Dwyane Wade’s situation with the Bulls.

MIAMI – With the Chicago Bulls and Dwyane Wade seemingly moving toward a buyout, Heat president Pat Riley was asked about Wade returning to the city where he played for 13 seasons.

“I feel great about our relationship that we had over the 13 years,” Riley said today while addressing  the media before the start of training camp. “Anything that happens from a personnel standpoint down the road or any opportunities that are there, we’re always going to approach that.

“But right now he’s under contract with Chicago and I wish him the very best.”

Riley ended the quote by saying: “Did I finesse that enough for you?”

Wade and the Heat parted ways last summer of 2016 when the 12-time All-Star returned to his hometown, signing a two-year, $47 million deal. Wade then exercised his player option this summer, returning to Chicago for $23.8 million despite a rocky homecoming in which he feuded with teammates.

Bulls executive vice president John Paxson acknowledged Thursday there have been discussions about a buyout and the Bulls would be willing to accommodate a request from Wade but reiterated that any talks of a buyout would need to be “advantageous” for the organization.

Wade would be free to sign with any team if the two sides agree on a buyout.

“We want to work with Dwyane because we respect him very much,” Paxson said on on WSCR-670 AM. “If he doesn’t want to be here, then we want to do (the buyout). But again, the bottom line is always — and it has to be — that we have to do what’s in our best interest.”

[Miami Heat 2017 training camp preview: Hassan Whiteside is back with some new faces behind him on the depth chart]

[How hard should the Miami Heat push Goran Dragic in training camp?]

[Pat Riley on trip to bring relief to Florida Keys: ‘We couldn’t believe what we were seeing’]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Report: Dwyane Wade may have to give up money to accommodate Bulls buyout

Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) walks to the bench during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 in Chicago. The Mavericks won 99-98. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

One of the motivating factors that led Dwyane Wade to leave the Miami Heat for the Chicago Bulls last offseason was the extra money the Bulls offered Wade, but Wade may soon be asked to give some of that money back.

The 35-year-old Wade, who opted into the second year of his two-year, $47 million contract in June, finds himself on a Chicago team that is rebuilding, and though speculation is that the Bulls may look to buy out Wade’s deal, if they do, they may not be willing to pay him the full $23.8 million he is owed this season, according to the Chicago Tribune.

>> Miami Heat select Weston-based Ultimate Software as uniform patch sponsor

Bulls executive vice president John Paxson appeared on “The Mully and Hanley” show on WSCR-670 AM in Chicago on Thursday and said that any talks of a buyout would need to be “advantageous” for the Bulls.

“We want to work with Dwyane because we respect him very much,” Paxson said Thursday. “If he doesn’t want to be here, then we want to do (the buyout). But again, the bottom line is always — and it has to be — that we have to do what’s in our best interest.”

Paxson also acknowledged that there is “some dialogue is going on,” but reiterated that, though the Bulls would be willing to accommodate a buyout request from Wade, any buyout agreement would need to be in the team’s best interest.

>> Miami Heat to hold public scrimmage at Florida Atlantic University on Sept. 30

At least for now, it appears that if Wade wants out of Chicago, it’ll cost him a chunk of his expected salary.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

Miami Heat captain Udonis Haslem to Dwyane Wade: ‘We’d love to have you’

Miami’s Udonis Haslem hugs Dwyane Wade after a game last season in Chicago. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Miami Heat captain Udonis Haslem has some advice – and a message – for his good friend, Dwyane Wade.

“My advice to him is, ‘Hey, we’d love to have you but take it one step at a time, take it one day at a time,” Haslem said today on the Joe Rose Show on 560WQAM. “The situation with Chicago and everything that’s going on it’s just a frustrating situation on both sides and I think he just made a decision based on frustration.”

Haslem, who is about to start his 15th season with the Heat, spent 13 of those with Wade. With speculation Wade and the Chicago Bulls are headed for a breakup via a buyout, Haslem is hoping to be reunited with his friend.

“We kind of understand the direction Chicago is going in,” Haslem said. “We kind of understand the direction that Dwyane wants to go in the last couple of years of his career. The business side of things sometimes doesn’t always allow both sides to co-exist.”

Wade, 35, bolted Miami a year ago to sign with his hometown team but the homecoming was rocky with Wade clashing with teammates, having his differences with coach Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs after winning the tiebreaker against the Heat to earn the final seed in Eastern Conference.

Still, it was not bad enough for Wade to leave $23.8 million on the table, picking up the final year of that contract. But ever since he decided to return, talk of a buyout started.

And those conversations typically start with the Heat.

If the sides are able to agree to a price, Wade could sign with any team for the pro-rated minimum or possibly an exception, which the Heat still carry.

Haslem, who has won three titles with the Heat, was asked about a variety of other topics:

On his career: “I can’t imagine things playing out any better for me. I would do it out all over again and I would do it exactly the same way. I would go undrafted. I would go to Europe. All that was a part of my journey I had to take to get to this situation. It’s been an amazing journey, frustrating at times but I had to understand what my purpose was.”

On this Miami Heat team: “This is the most like-me group of guys I’ve had an opportunity to be around. Guys that felt like they’ve been disrespected, they’ve been overlooked, they have something to prove.”

On visiting Miami Dolphins camp Wednesday: “I was a big deal for me. I never thought 15, 20 years ago when I was sitting across the street watching games on the big screen and listening to the crowd when it was called Joe Robbie Stadium, I never thought I would have the opportunity to talk to those guys, encourage those guys, give those guys some words of wisdom. It’s just a dream come true.”

On the what he told the team: “Three things that it boiled down to for us. We all enjoyed each others success. We genuinely got to the point we are able to sacrifice, strip down, enjoy each others success. The second thing being a good teammate. The third thing getting to know your guys, getting to know their families, getting to know everything about them and maximizing your role.”

[Report says LeBron James “100 percent” leaving Cleveland. Should we strike up the Heat talk once again?]

[The odds are not good for Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside to win MVP]

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Miami Heat schedule 2017-18: Which team will Dwyane Wade be on when Bulls come to town in late March?

Chicago’s Dwyane Wade hugs the Heat’s Goran Dragic fter a game at the United Center in January. (Photo by Getty Images)

When the Chicago Bulls visit the Miami Heat in late March, Dwyane Wade will be facing his old team.

The question is: Which will be is old team?

The schedule, which was released Monday, shows the Bulls visit Miami twice; Nov. 1 during the Heat’s first homestand of the season, and March 29. The chances of Wade being on the Bulls for the first game are pretty high. But with talk of a buyout already starting, who knows which uniform Wade will be wearing late in the season.

 Wade picked up the final year of his contract which will pay him $23.8 million for the 2017-18 season. But with the Bulls in a rebuilding mode, most believe the organization and Wade eventually will come to an agreement on a buyout, perhaps Wade giving back $8 to $10 million, depending on the timing, to become a free agent and sign with any team he desires.

If a buyout is agreed upon, Wade could sign with any team for the pro-rated minimum or possibly an exception, which the Heat still carry. Right now the top candidates would be Cleveland to play with LeBron James, Houston to play with Chris Paul or Miami where played for 13 seasons, became the face of the franchise and won three titles.

After trading Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Bulls vice president John Paxson was asked in June about potentially buying out Wade’s contract. Wade was closer to Butler than any other teammate in Chicago.

Paxson said there had been no discussion about a buyout but added, “I will say this, in this type of scenario it would have to benefit us. It would absolutely have to benefit us.”

Wade’s first year in Chicago was not the homecoming he expected. He clashed with teammates, had his differences with coach Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs after winning the tiebreaker against the Heat to earn the final seed in Eastern Conference.

Paxson, though, emphasized the upside of having the 35-year-old, 12-time All-Star and three-time champion on the roster.

“Dwyane was a great pro last year and he’s been around a lot of different situations,” he said. “He was around Miami when they had a couple rebuilding years, as well, so right now we’re operating under the assumption that he’ll be here.

“But, like I said, if that subject is ever broached by them, then it would have to be advantageous for us.”

Wade had one chance to face the Heat in South Florida last season, a game highlighted by tributes, standing ovations and Wade converting on two free throws in the final seconds to seal Chicago’s win.

Chances are he still will be with the Bulls when they come to Miami early in the season. But the odds of him finishing out the season in Chicago are not very good.

And if he decided to return to Miami, that game in late March could still be one in which he is facing his old team, except that team would be the Bulls.

[One small detail in the 2017-18 schedule should help the Miami Heat. Here’s what it is …]

[Heat schedule notes: 13 back-to-backs, nine games on national television, much more]

[What’s different about the 2017-18 NBA schedule this season? More rest, less back-to-backs]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

 

Mailbag: Will Dwyane Wade ever return to play for the Miami Heat?

Chicago Bulls’ Dwyane Wade walks toward the basket coming out of a break during the second half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics in Chicago, Friday, April 21, 2017. The Celtics won 104-87. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Dwyane Wade isn’t coming back to the Heat this season. But how about next summer when he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent?

We took a look at the possibility of a Wade-Heat reunion down the line in the latest installment of the Heat mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44). Continue reading “Mailbag: Will Dwyane Wade ever return to play for the Miami Heat?”