A look at why Pat Riley lowered outside expectations for the Heat’s 2018 offseason

Miami Heat NBA basketball team president Pat Riley talks to the media during a season ending press conference in Miami, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

MIAMI — A quiet draft night could turn into a quiet summer for the Heat.

Even with all of the rumors swirling around the futures of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, team president Pat Riley lowered outside expectations for the offseason and hinted they would not be involved in those discussions.

It’s not because of a lack of interest in those big-name players. It’s because of a lack of money due to the Heat’s unenviable salary-cap situation. Continue reading “A look at why Pat Riley lowered outside expectations for the Heat’s 2018 offseason”

Pat Riley ready to make pitch for Dwyane Wade to return to Heat

Miami’s Dwyane Wade watches a shot during the playoff series against Philadelphia in April. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

MIAMI – Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade have not had conversations about the Heat legend’s future, but Riley said now is the time to start to “focus” on all these decisions that impact next season.

Wade, 36, completed his 15th season in the league in 2017-18 after returning to Miami in a deadline day deal with the Cavaliers. He was effective coming off the bench and was one of the Heat’s two best players along with Goran Dragic during their short stay in the playoffs, averaging 16.6 points on 44.3 percent shooting in the five games.

Wade said following the Heat’s Game 5 loss in Philadelphia he will decide this summer if he will return, but if he does it will be with the Heat. He has not put a timetable on his decision.

“I haven’t talked to Dwyane,” Riley said early Friday morning following the NBA draft. “I’ve talked to his agent. I think now, over the next nine days between now and July 1st we can focus on all these things.”

Riley said he and Wade have “shared texts” and that Wade has “communicated on a regular basis with a lot of people in the organization but nothing has been decided with Dwyane. We want to have Dwyane back obviously but there’s been no discussion about next year.”

Wade has been busy this summer, jetting around the world, working on business projects and, yes, working out to stay prepared in case he returns. His most recent comments on this future came on Fox Sports Radio in an interview with former teammate, Caron Butler.

“If I decide to come back and play the game of basketball, I would love for it, obviously, to be in Miami,” he said. “It’s just crazy because in this league you never know what will happen. I never thought I would leave Miami. Caron knows that I thought I would be here forever, but things happen.”

Wade left Miami two summers ago and returned after one season in Chicago and a little more than half a season in Cleveland. He played on a minimum contract last season after agreeing to a buyout on his $23.8 million salary with the Bulls. Wade reportedly will seek the Heat’s $5.4 million mid-level exception if he decides to return for a 16th season.

Wade has been linked to close friend and Heat Lifer Udonis Haslem, who entered the league the same year as Wade but has played his entire 15 seasons for the Heat.

Haslem has made it clear he wants to return in 2018-19. Riley was asked Friday if there will be an offer on the table for Haslem.

“Absolutely,” Riley said. “Both Udonis and Dwyane are. … they’ve been together forever and they also deserve the respect to sit and wait on this thing. And so there’s no rush.”

Riley added that with Haslem becoming an “entrepreneur” he “can’t even talk to him anymore. I can invest with him, but I can’t get in touch with him.”

Haslem owns several Subway, Starbucks, Einstein Bros. and Auntie Anne’s franchises.

Haslem, who recently told reporters he is looking for more playing time and would go overseas if he had to, made the veteran minimum of $2.3 million last season.

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LeBron James visits with Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem in Miami during NBA playoffs

Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6), Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) and Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem (40) walk off the floor dejected during second half action of game one of the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs Thursday June 06, 2013, at American Airlines Arena in Miami.(Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post)

HOLLYWOOD — During the Cavaliers’ long playoff run, LeBron James visited Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade in Miami.

When asked about the possibility of James returning to the Heat this offseason, Haslem revealed Thursday that James visited Miami during a break in the playoffs. Continue reading “LeBron James visits with Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem in Miami during NBA playoffs”

Udonis Haslem wants playing time and he’s willing to go overseas to get it

Heat forward Udonis Haslem has played in nine games this season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

HOLLYWOOD — Udonis Haslem wants to play basketball next season, but he’s just not sure if it’s going to be with the Heat.

After spending the first 15 seasons of his NBA career with the Heat, Haslem said he will consider playing elsewhere next season to get more playing time. Elsewhere could mean playing in China or another overseas league. Continue reading “Udonis Haslem wants playing time and he’s willing to go overseas to get it”

A rundown of eight big questions entering NBA offseason: What will happen with LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard?

In this Tuesday, May 9, 2017, file photo, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) walk upcourt during the second half of Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

MIAMI — The Warriors have been crowned NBA champions, and just like that the most exciting offseason in sports has begun.

There are plenty of intriguing storylines entering the summer like LeBron James’ future, the Kawhi Leonard-Spurs situation and Paul George’s impending free agency. Here’s a rundown with the eight biggest questions of the 2018 NBA offseason, including our predictions for how each will play out. Continue reading “A rundown of eight big questions entering NBA offseason: What will happen with LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard?”

Dwyane Wade talks about his future with Heat and LeBron James’ decision

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat watches his shot in the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Two of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoff at Wells Fargo Center on April 16, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Heat defeated the 76ers 113-103. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade and LeBron James enter the offseason with uncertain basketball futures.

Wade has to decide whether he will retire or return for a 16th NBA season and James is entering a summer that could include a lot of changes. Those decisions will come later this offseason, but Wade spoke about both situations during a Sunday appearance on Fox Sports Radio’s show featuring Chris Mannix and Caron Butler. Continue reading “Dwyane Wade talks about his future with Heat and LeBron James’ decision”

Does LeBron James wish the Cavaliers still had Dwyane Wade? ‘Oh, absolutely’

Dwyane Wade #9 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers walk backcourt during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center on October 20, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Dwyane Wade is in the middle of his offseason. He’s already traveled to France and attended the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, Monaco since the Heat’s season ended in the first round of the playoffs on April 24.

But LeBron James would prefer if Wade was still in Cleveland preparing for Friday’s Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Continue reading “Does LeBron James wish the Cavaliers still had Dwyane Wade? ‘Oh, absolutely’”

How Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are caught up in Twitter account scandal linked to Sixers’ executive Bryan Colangelo

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade during the 2018 All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

The basketball world is waking up today to a Twitter account scandal that has rocked the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Ringer’s Ben Detrick published a story late Tuesday about five burner Twitter accounts he linked to Sixers president of basketball operations, Bryan Colangelo, that criticized the team’s coach, Brett Brown; players and executives as well as other league executives. Some accounts also revealed sensitive team information. Detrick has found suspicious links to Colangelo for each of these accounts.

One of those accounts took a shot at the Heat’s Dwyane Wade, and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, in response to a February 2017 tweet from Union, who pointed out that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did not visit the White House when Barack Obama was president.

The account belonging to ‘Eric jr’ with the Twitter handle @A1Vic40117560 blasted Union and Wade, saying he sat next to the couple at a restaurant while at the Beijing Olympics and they were “nasty” to a young fan before adding he “never looked at Wade the same after that.”

Here is the post, according to Detrick, who said the account was active between April 2016 and May 2017.

“I sat NEXT to you and (Wade) at Beijing Olympics and saw you both being rude nasty to little kid fan. Had to eat yr pizza. … You showed no respect to this little kid, who are you to stand on high grounds? Never looked at DW the same after that.”

The Beijing Olympics were in 2008 and at the time Colangelo was managing director of the U.S. men’s national basketball team.

Wade responded on Twitter early today, saying Union was not at the 2008 Olympics.  Wade and Union were married in 2014 but they started dating in 2009 according to several reports.

Wade was the leading scorer for the Gold Medal-winning USA team in 2008, averaging 16.0 points per game.

Union posted two responses, one backing Wade’s claim she was not in Beijing at the time.

Another with her original post.

Colangelo issued a statement late Tuesday, confirming the account with the handle @phila1234567 is his, but denied involvement with any of the other accounts, including the one belonging to ‘Erik jr.’

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As wait for Dwyane Wade’s decision continues, Gabrielle Union says she thinks he could play ‘two or three more years’

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat watches his shot in the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Two of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoff at Wells Fargo Center on April 16, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Heat defeated the 76ers 113-103. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

MIAMI — This is going to be an interesting offseason for Dwyane Wade.

It will include a big decision at some point, but right now he’s enjoying a nice vacation. The future Hall of Famer and his wife, Gabrielle Union, have spent the past few days in Monte Carlo, Monaco for the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix to root on friend and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, who finished in third place. Continue reading “As wait for Dwyane Wade’s decision continues, Gabrielle Union says she thinks he could play ‘two or three more years’”

Comparing LeBron James’ legacy with Heat to his last four years with Cavaliers

LeBron James will play in eighth consecutive Finals this year. He has won three titles, two with the Heat and one with the Cavaliers. (Photos Getty Images)

In two weeks LeBron James is going to be playing his final game in a Cavaliers uniform, or he’s not. James is going to hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy for a fourth time, or he’s not.

But one thing is for sure, James will have completed an eight-year run that in the era of free agency is unmatched. … in any team sport. And one that the only players from his sport can equal or exceed are a handful that were part of the game’s greatest dynasty – the Celtics teams that won 11 titles from 1957 to 1969.

LeBron James is going to his eight-consecutive NBA Finals – which start Thursday – something all Heat fans should appreciate considering half of those were while he was wearing those red, black and white uniforms while setting up shop on the shores of Biscayne Bay.

James secured No. 8 on Sunday with another historical performance posting 35 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 blocks while playing all 48 minutes in Game 7 against the Celtics in Boston on Sunday. His night will go down as another in a career filled with transcendent achievements.

But to gauge the level of his greatness think of it this way: Sunday’s game may not even qualify for his top five when it comes to clutch performances. In fact, James’ point total was his average when it comes to Game 7s, of which he now has played in eight and won six. And in his two Game 7s in which championships were at stake, James had 37 points, 12 rebounds in four assists in the Heat’s 2013 victory over the Spurs; and 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Cavaliers’ 2016 victory over the Warriors.

And this is not about who is the greatest ever and comparing James to Michael Jordan – although me belief is James has now surpassed Jordan because of the bigger and stronger James’ ability to do just about everything Jordan could do and most of those things even better.

This about comparing James to himself, but more specifically, the Miami Heat version of James from 2010 to the Cleveland Cavaliers version of James from 2014 to present.

Or put another way: the James who played on the shores of South Beach vs. the James who is playing on the shores of Lake Erie.

James played his first game in Miami at the age of 25. During his four years the Heat averaged 56 wins, advanced to the Finals all four years with two titles. In the postseason (which is what this really is all about), he averaged 26.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists while with the Heat.

James rejoined Cleveland at the age of 30. The Cavs have averaged 52.8 wins the last four years, advanced to the Finals all four years and are in pursuit of their second title. In the postseason, James is averaging 30.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.2 assists in the last four years.

So much depends on the next two weeks but if Cleveland is able to somehow pull off the upset, James equaling his title count with this supporting cast compared to having Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh by his side for four years on the Heat is indeed an achievement that at least equals what he did in Miami.

And part of that conclusion: Neither title in Miami will mean as much to James as the championship he brought Cleveland in 2016, fulfilling a promise for a city that sits about 35 miles from his hometown of Akron and one that he spurned in 2010 and hoped to fall back into their good graces four years later.

But even if Cleveland falls short this year, what James has done the last four years individually borders on the superhuman.

Consider: James had two players who are Hall of Fame locks in Wade and Bosh as his wingmen for four years in Miami and Wade is undeniably James’ greatest teammate. And some may even say they underachieved with two titles seeing the Heat clearly were the more talented team (and heavily favored) in the 2011 Finals when they lost in six games to Dallas and Miami started fracturing when attempting to three-peat against San Antonio, which was a slight favorite, in 2014.

Kevin Love has been with James all four years in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving for three. Both could one day end up in the Hall of Fame, Irving especially if he continues this trajectory. And Irving was a stud the last two years, the closest thing to what James had in Wade in Miami. But the consistency with Irving and Love (of which injuries certainly has played a part) is not close to what James got with Wade and Bosh.

Still, whether James is able to pull off the upset in these Finals, the weight on his shoulders the last four years in Cleveland was a much heavier load than what his carried in Miami.

With the exception of Boston’s Game 5 victory, James has been indefatigable in the postseason, perhaps saving his best for last (if this is his last season in Cleveland) by taking on more of the burden this postseason than he has in any of his last seven trips to the Finals.

James is averaging 34.0 points this postseason, his most since he was forced to put up 35.3 points a game to get the Cavs to the Eastern Conference finals in 2009. He has been without Irving, who was traded to Boston before the season started, and an inconsistent and at times broken down Love, who missed Sunday’s Game 7 entirely because of a concussion.

And, yes, the level of competition in the East the last four years has not exactly been stellar, especially with the Celtics missing their two best players in Irving and Gordon Hayward this season, but it could be argued the Heat never faced a team like Cleveland has the last three seasons in Golden State. The Warriors were the clear favorite to win the Finals the last three years and the Cavs once again will enter as underdogs this year.

Win or lose, James’ legacy is secure.

Now about that greatest-player-ever thing. …

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