Pat Riley on Dwyane Wade as an activist: ‘People believe him. People will follow him’

Dwyane Wade paid tribute to Joaquin Oliver this week by writing Oliver’s name on his sneakers.

MIAMI – Six weeks after Dwyane Wade left Miami in 2016 to sign with the Chicago Bulls, his 32-year-old cousin, Nykea Aldridge, was killed when she was caught in the crossfire of a gang war. Wade, feeling more emboldened by returning to his hometown, spoke out about the gun violence that gripped the city that year and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump using the tragedy for political gain.

Six days after Wade returned to Miami last month, 14 students and three adults were shot and killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. Ten days later Wade learned the parents of 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver buried their son in a Wade jersey. Wade was back on his platform calling for changes in gun laws and reminding everybody that he will not be silenced.

Was Dwyane Wade put in Chicago and Miami for a reason?

“It definitely crossed my mind,” he said.

Wade’s return to South Florida transcends the basketball court. Sure, he has energized the city and the Heat fan base. The online demand for his Heat “Vice” jersey continues to outweigh the supply. And he turned back the clock with two vintage performances this week in which he averaged 26.0 points and knocked down a game-winning contested jump shot against the 76ers.

But he also returns to a community in which his voice resonates, especially with children who look to him as a role model. Because of that Wade promises he will not “shut up and dribble” when it comes to social issues.

The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade celebrates after scoring the winning basket against Philadelphia on Tuesday. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS)

“It comes with age,” Wade said about his comfort in taking a stance. “You get older you stop worrying about things the same. As well, you go through life you get educated on a lot of things. There’s a lot of things I’ve learned over the last two, three years, experiences that changed me, that’s changed my outlook. I’m comfortable getting behind, supporting and talking about things that I want to and I’m not really worried about the repercussions of it.

“I feel that I do understand even more now sitting here at 36 the responsibility of being in a position like this. It’s not just making a lot of money and being on SportsCenter or things like that. I know my role in this life and I try to live up to it and I will continue to.”

Wade joined the Heat in 2003 five months after his 21st birthday. He was bursting with energy and talent. His contributions to the Heat then primarily were on the court. But as he has grown and matured, that impact has become far reaching.

“There was such a purpose attached to his life before he even came into the world,” said Jolinda Wade, Dwyane’s mother, a pastor at New Creation Church in Chicago. “Dwyane is a blessing to the world. I believe that he is strategically placed to serve whatever purpose that is attached to his life at that particular moment.”

Few have seen Wade grow and mature in his professional setting as has Heat president Pat Riley, who drafted Wade and then coached him in his early years.

“When he was first here he was young, he wasn’t naïve, he was excited and he was about the game only,” Riley told The Post. “He has matured in a way like I haven’t seen many players. Very sophisticated and almost worldly to a certain extent. How he expresses himself articulately whether it’s social media or whether it’s on a microphone. And he’s right on.

“I think everybody has seen Dwyane grow over the years in these areas, grow through adversity, grow through maturity, grow through being a great player and winning championships, just getting older.”

Riley coached Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for nine seasons with the Lakers, after playing against him in high school and with him in the NBA. Jabbar, 70, is one of the more outspoken social and political activists of his generation. And although Jabbar’s causes were different growing up in the 60s and converting to Islam, Riley sees similarities in Jabbar’s an Wade’s paths.

“I don’t know if Dwyane has the depth in those issues that Kareem has because of their age but I think one day he will,” Riley said. “When you’re seeing things from 15 years in the NBA and 10 years prior to that what he saw in Chicago, it definitely formulates a base of reference for you to be able to fall back on, and Dwyane is continuing to get educated by life and he knows to speak to life in a very succinct way.”

Wade said the first time he felt confident enough to speak out was after Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American, was shot and killed in 2012 by a security guard in a gated community in Sanford during a physical altercation between the two. Martin was unarmed.

George Zimmerman was tried for the crime and acquitted on self-defense grounds but that did not stop the protests, one coming from the Heat and led by Wade and LeBron James. Wade posted a photo of himself wearing a hoodie to his Twitter and Facebook pages one month later.

“That was the first time for me where I really started getting behind a lot of issues, whether it was politics, whether it was tragedies, and I started doing a lot of things in the community,” Wade said.

Then, after losing his cousin in a year in which Chicago saw 762 murders, the most in nearly two decades, Wade participated in a forum at a YMCA in the South Side of Chicago, not far from where he was raised.

“When you go back and trace his early years, he experienced so much and was around so much of that violence in the South Side,” Riley said. “And he was one of the few that was able to use basketball as a way to get out and to express himself and to become somebody who had a voice.

“Is he going to become an activist or would he ever become an activist? I think one day there is a possibility that he could. People believe him. People will follow him.”

Joaquin Oliver certainly would have had his life not been tragically cut short on Valentine’s Day as he sat in a classroom. Joaquin was excited that Wade had returned to the team he helped lead to three championships and will be remembered for when he is one day enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

And although it was just six days since Wade returned to Miami, Joaquin’s joy must have been overwhelming for his parents to make sure the last time they saw their son he was wearing a Dwyane Wade jersey.

“You play this game and you give everything you have to it and at the end people will argue how good you were statistically, are you in the top, are you not, all that bullcrap,” Wade said.

“It really doesn’t matter. Moments like that is really what the impact is about. What you’ve been able to do for others. What joy you’ve been able to bring.”

Wade has reached out to Joaquin’s family, and Jolinda and her daughter, Tragil, visited the Olivers this week.

Wade feels emboldened by players like James and coaches like Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy, who are outspoken in their opinions on a wide range of topics, including social issues to politics. And he is not surprised when he hears commentators like Fox News’ Laura Ingraham criticize athletes who use their platform by saying they should “shut up and dribble.” In other words, keep their opinions to themselves.

Ingraham directed her comments towards James, who is one of many NBA players who is critical of President Trump.

“It’s not the first time I’ve heard that as an athlete,” Wade said. “She said it to one of the biggest athletes in the world and it got picked up. I was glad it was said to LeBron because now that conversation can start even more.

“We’re people. We’re people who have a tremendous talent God’s given us but we still live in our communities, we still deal with tragedy, we still deal with depression, the stress. We still deal with everything that everyone deals with. … We’re no different than other individuals. … So, yeah, our voice needs to be heard for the parents, for the individuals in the school to bring and share light or attention on what needs to be done and how we can help get it done.”

And Jolinda, for one, will continue to encourage her son to preach.

“There’s not really works that can explain how proud I am as his mother to see the young man he has become, through life experiences, being a father, understanding that he has a bigger purpose than just playing basketball,” she said. “For him to be the voice to speak the way he speaks and to share his heart, I love it.”

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

Goran Dragic, Pau Gasol to have EuroBasket reunion tonight when Miami Heat host San Antonio Spurs

Miami’s Goran Dragic (right) and San Antonio’s Pau Gasol meet on the court for the first time since Dragic’s Slovenia team defeated Gasol’s Spain team in the EuroBasket.

MIAMI – The most stunning victory in Slovenia’s march to the EuroBasket championship this summer was over powerhouse Spain in the semifinals.

Slovenia, with tournament MVP Goran Dragic as its leader, defeated a team with NBA players Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio and Willy Hernangomez, 92-72.

Even Dragic was surprised by the convincing victory.

[Heat guard Dion Waiters said he will warmup tonight with the ‘mindset’ he will play against the Spurs]

[Heat 3-point specialist Wayne Ellington has a shadow, and it’s rookie Matt Williams Jr.]

[Finally healthy, Josh Richardson says: ‘I want to dunk on everybody now’]

“We went for the win, of course we didn’t imagine it would be 20 points,” said Dragic, who tied for team-high honors with 15 points and added six rebounds and five assists in the game. “But we were in such a good rhythm. We played our best basketball of the tournament (in that game). We were confident we could beat Spain.”

Dragic and Pau Gasol are back on the court tonight for the first time since when the Heat face the Spurs. Dragic, 31, and Gasol, 37, have been competing for a long time both in the NBA and internationally.

“Huge respect,” Dragic said. “I think he can be a Hall of Famer. He won multiple titles in Europe and in the NBA. He’s still playing at a high level and you can see that he’s taking care of his body and he’s all in. You can only respect players like him that put so much of their game and into their life of basketball and he’s a great player.”

Dragic was drafted by the Spurs in the second round in 2008 and two days later traded to the Suns. He remembers talking to NBA scouts during a European camp but is not sure if he was interviewed by the Spurs. He does remember working out for the Suns.

But he has followed the Spurs partly because his former teammate, Rasho Nesterovic, now the president of the Slovenian Federation, played for San Antonio and won a championship in 2005.

Dragic admires what coach Gregg Popovich has done and how the Spurs have won five titles since 1998-99.

“It’s the structure. You can see it,” Dragic said. “The coaching staff does an amazing job. They have a system the players are comfortable in and they’re not going away from that. They play kind of like a European style of basketball.”

Dragic isn’t the only fan of the Spurs’ success and system, which has them 3-0  even with start Kawhi Leonard sidelined because of a quad injury.

“It’s remarkable what they do and how they reinvent themselves every year,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The faces change but their standards and excellence remain the same. Now they’re doing it retro and totally old school the way people said you can’t do it. And they’re doing it by still building a top caliber defense not playing with incredible pace and not playing with the three-point line right now. Playing with post-up, back-to-the-basket options and they’re still beating everybody. They’re averaging less than 20 three-point attempts a game, averaging No. 1 in post ups. These are numbers from the 90s.

“You just have to credit Pop and their program and the players they like in their program and their adaptability that allows them to sustain that excellence.”

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


Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra disappointed Rodney McGruder, Hassan Whiteside snubbed in post-season

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra believes Hassan Whiteside deserved better in the balloting for the league’s top defensive players. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

We take a short break from free agency news to update you on Erik Spoelstra’s feelings about the league awards. …

The Heat coach defended his team this week against the snubs in the voting for the All-League rookie and defensive teams by 100 media members.

Spoelsta was especially disappointed that Rodney McGruder did not make an All-Rookie team. McGruder, who started 65 games and played in 78 this season, received 61 votes, the most among the players who did not make the first or second team. He was two points behind Dallas’ Yogi Ferrell, who played in 36 games.

“I was extremely disappointed about the lack of recognition for Rodney McGruder and what he did for us this year,” Spoelstra said. “He was one of the toughest, most competitive, detailed, defenders in the league. He took on the challenge every single night as one of the best wing defenders. Forget about being just a rookie. … an impactful pro.

“What we did during the second half of the season was as much about the mentality and toughness Rodney McGruder gave for us as it was anybody else. I was so disappointed he didn’t get recognized for that.”

Spoelstra added he thought McGruder was “a lock” for at least one rookie team, adding there was discussion about him possibly being rookie of the year.

“He had that kind of impact. I think he led all rookies in minutes, quality minutes for a team competing for the playoffs. And the challenge he took every single night guarding those wing prolific scorers was tremendous. He showed great growth. This won’t stop him. This just adds more fuel to his fire.”

Spoelstra then moved on to players like Hassan Whiteside and James Johnson receiving little credit for their defense.

The Heat finished fifth in the NBA in defensive rating, fifth in opponents’ points per game (102.1) and seventh in opponents’ field goal percentage (.450). Yet, only Whiteside’s name appeared on the list when it came to the All-Defensive team and Defensive Player of the Year voting.

Whiteside had 25 votes for the All-Defensive team, which placed him sixth among ‘other players receiving votes,’ and he was sixth in the Defensive Player of the Year voting with three third place votes.

“It was disappointing not to see Hassan recognized,” Spoelstra said. “We all felt he was a much better team defender this year than in the year he was recognized. And he’ll continue to keep on getting better as his understanding the game gets better, how to impact winning more, how to impact team defense more and not just with statistics. I think hopefully if we can build a winning team and he continues to progress then he’ll not only get recognized for not only one of the All-Defensive teams awards but hopefully something better.”

Whiteside was second team All-Defense in 2015-16.

Additionally, Johnson, who was among the best players in the league statistically when it came to holding players he guarded below their normal field goal percentage, was not among the 49 players who received votes for the All-Defensive teams.

Spoelstra said he believes the Heat “flew too much under the radar” the first half of the season because of their record.

“Only the last eight weeks of the season did anybody acknowledge or recognize what we were doing and it probably was a little bit too late, which was unfortunate,” he said.

One person in the organization was recognized and that was Spoelstra. He finished second to Houston’s Mike D’Antoni in the Coach of the Year balloting by the media and shared the award with D’Antoni in the voting by the coaches.

But that was one award Spoelstra did not want to talk about.

“Somebody asked me how I felt about the coach of the year,” he said. “None of us felt disappointed about that. We weren’t even thinking along those lines.”

Later, this was as close as he came to acknowledging the achievement.

“You’re in a group with the studs of this profession,” he said. “That alone is enough.

“One, to be able to work for a first class organization which I do and then to be recognized with a guy like (Gregg Popovich) who is the gold standard and Mike who anybody would have voted for him to be coach of the year.”

And now. … back to free agency.

[2017 Free Agency Preview:  Is there more pressure than usual on the Heat to get it right this summer?]

[Add ‘culture’ to the Miami Heat’s list of selling points in free agency]

[Heat have balancing act to consider early in free agency]

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

Vote: Should Heat coach Erik Spoelstra win the NBA’s Coach of the Year award?

Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat follows the play during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Erik Spoelstra already won one coach of the year award this offseason. Will he add another award to his resume next month?

Spoelstra was named the co-winner of the inaugural Michael H. Goldberg National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award earlier this month, sharing the honor with Houston’s Mike D’Antoni. On Friday, it was revealed Spoelstra is a finalist for the NBA’s Coach of the Year award that will be announced June 26 during the first ever NBA awards show televised by TNT. Continue reading “Vote: Should Heat coach Erik Spoelstra win the NBA’s Coach of the Year award?”

Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra named NBCA co-Coach of the Year

Erik Spoelstra’s peers recognized him for the job he did in leading the Miami Heat to a .500 record this season. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

After nine seasons, two titles, four trips to the Finals and seven playoff appearances, the Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra finally has been formally recognized as one of the  best coaches in the league.

Spoelstra was named co-winner of the inaugural Michael H. Goldberg National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award it was announced Sunday. He shares the honor with the Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni.

The award, voted upon by league’s 30 head coaches, is named for the longtime executive director of the coaches association who died earlier this year. The winner of the media voting will be announced June 26.

Dallas Mavericks coach and NBCA President Rick Carlisle recognized Spoelstra and D’Antoni.

“Congratulations to Mike and Erik on their outstanding work this year,” Carlisle said. “And somewhere up above our good friend Michael Goldberg is very proud.”

Spoelstra, 46, guided the Heat to the biggest turnaround in league history, going from 11-30 in the first half of the season to 30-11 in the second half. Miami is the only team in league history to finish at .500 after being 19 games under at some point during that season. The Heat tied with the Bulls for the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference but the final playoff spot went to Chicago because of the tie-breaker.

This, despite Miami leading the league with 328 player games lost to injury or illness.

Spoelstra is 440-282 in his nine seasons as head coach. The closest he ever came to winning a coach of the year award was following the 2012-13 season after Miami finished 66-16.  Denver’s George Karl won the media award with a 57-25 record. Spoelstra was runner-up, 214 votes behind. The season ended with the Heat winning their second consecutive title under Spoelstra.

In the other three years of the Big Three in which Miami averaged nearly 53 victories, went to the Finals each year and won the 2012 title, Spoelstra received one Coach of the Year vote. … combined. That was a first place vote in 2010-11. The next year 15 different coaches received at least one vote as did 10 different coaches in 2013-14 .

Heat President Pat Riley believes coaching this team, which lost Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and included seven new players, was a different challenge for Spoelstra.

“There’s always challenges when you have great teams that are supposed to win. … And then there’s this kind of challenge in which I think he’s handled with great experience and by staying the course,” Riley said.

Heat guard Goran Dragic posted a video late in the season endorsing his coach for the top honor.

“In my opinion, he should win Coach of the Year,” Dragic said. “Everybody knows how we started the season and how we’ve bounced back, and a lot of credit goes to Erik.”

D’Antoni, 65, led the Rockets to the third best record in the NBA (55-27) and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference in his first season in Houston. D’Antoni improved Houston’s win total by 14 and put James Harden in position to become a legitimate MVP candidate.

Houston is D’Antoni’s fifth head coaching job.

Other coaches to receive votes included Washington’s Scott Brooks, Memphis’ David Fizdale, Golden State’s Steve Kerr, Milwaukee’s Jason Kidd, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, the Clippers’ Doc Rivers and Utah’s Quin Snyder.

Spoelstra and D’Antoni will receive their trophy at the NBCA annual meeting of head coaches in September.

[Guard Wayne Ellington’s future in Miami is up to the Heat: ‘This is the place I want to be’]

[Former Heat cult hero Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen looking to take flight out of Miami]

[When it comes to free agency, what a difference a year makes for Heat forward James Johnson]

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



The case for the Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra for Coach of the Year

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra watches during the second half of game against Portland in Miami in March. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The lamest argument against Erik Spoelstra for NBA Coach of the Year is the Miami Heat did not make the playoffs.

That means the vote comes down to how the Pacers did against the Hawks or how the Bulls did against the Nets on the final night of the regular season?

How does that make any sense?

If either of those two teams lose, Spoelstra is deemed the league’s best coach because the Heat make the playoffs with the exact same 41-41 record and exact same 30-11 run the second half of the season?

A run that gave the Heat the second-best record in the league over the final three months, behind the Warriors.

We all know that did not happen, the Heat lost out on the postseason on a tie-breaker and Erik Spoelstra is not going to win Coach of the Year. …

But he should.

That award, which will be announced at the first-ever NBA Awards banquet June 26, likely will go to Mike D’Antoni, who improved Houston’s win total by 14 to 55-47 and put James Harden in position to become a legitimate MVP candidate.

But the case for Spoelstra is strong, and not just as some mercy vote to atone for finishing second in 2013 when he led the Heat to a 66-20 record.

Even with that run in which the Heat played in four consecutive Finals, this was Spoelstra’s best coaching job. And while the burden on a coach should not be dismissed when a team has three (or, as he did during two of those Finals runs, four) future Hall of Famers, Spoelstra’s job was so much more difficult, on and off the court, this season.

Spoelstra is my choice not only for taking a team that did not have one All-Star, current or past, from an 11-30 first half to a stunning reversal in the second half of the season, but for the job he did while not blowing a whistle or scheming on a dry-erase board. He kept this players’ spirits buoyed and kept them from turning into the Nets when they were 19 games under .500 entering of Jan. 17.

“The man has won two world championships,” Heat president, and Spoelstra’s mentor, Pat Riley said during the season. “He’s been in more big, big games with a different team. There’s always challenges when you have great teams that are supposed to win. … And then there’s this kind of challenge in which I think he’s handled with great experience and by staying the course.”

[Goran Dragic’s summer vacation: Trips to dentist, spending time with family, playing for national team]

[Ex-NBA commissioner David Stern: ‘Shame on the Nets’ for resting players on final night of season]

[Does trading for Paul George make sense for the Heat?]

The award should be narrowed to five candidates: Spoelstra, D’Antoni, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, Boston’s Brad Stevens and Utah’s Quin Snyder.

Spoelstra undeniably had the least to work with among the candidates. And it wasn’t close.

Just look at the number of All-Star Games represented on each roster: Spurs 23, Jazz 8, Celtics 6, Rockets 5. …

Heat 0.

And if you want to expand the pool to Washington’s Scott Brooks and the Warriors Steve Kerr (whose team had the league’s best record at 76-12), the Wizards have four All-Star appearances on their roster and the Warriors have 20.

Speaking of the best record: That 2012-13 season when Miami won 66 games, Denver’s George Karl won the award with a 57-25 record. Spoelstra was runner-up, 214 votes behind.

But here’s the most inexplicable number surrounding Spoelstra when it comes to Coach of the Year voting: In the other three years of the Big Three, three seasons in which the Heat went to three Finals, won a title and averaged nearly 53 wins a season, Spoelstra received one vote. … combined.

That was a first place vote in 2010-11. The next year 15 coaches received at least one vote, none named Erik Spoelstra. That same thing happened in 2013-14.

Just three times has the league’s coach of the year not had a winning record, and once he had a losing record, Johnny Kerr whose 1966-67 Chicago Bulls were 33-48.

Hubie Brown won the award in 1977-78 when his Atlanta Hawks were 41-41 and the last coach to win the award without a winning record is Doc Rivers, whose 1999-00 Magic team also finished 41-41 and also missed the playoffs by one game. Orlando finished one game behind the No. 8. This season Heat were tied with the Bulls for the eighth-best record in the conference but lost out on a tie-breaker.

The teams were similar in that the Magic became known for their “heart and hustle” that season – a label that certainly could be attached to this season’s Heat – and, though not as dramatic as Miami’s poor start and late-season run, Orlando was once eight games under .500 and rallied late by winning 10-of-15 games.

The dagger for Orlando was on the second-last game of the season when it lost a heartbreaking two-point game to the Bucks. A win that would have put the Magic in the playoffs and even given them a chance at the No. 7 seed.

Sound familiar?

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

Former Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale will pass mentor, Erik Spoelstra, when it comes to playoff fine


David Fizdale has a ways to go to catch up to his mentor, Erik Spoelstra, in many areas. But in one, Fizdale is sure to pass the Heat head coach in the next day or so.

After just his second playoff game, the Grizzlies rookie coach is sure to hear from the NBA today after his rant on Monday following Memphis’ 96-82 loss to San Antonio in the Game 2 of their opening round series, giving the Spurs a 2-0 lead.

Fizdale was hot from the start, although he was able to get through two questions before the eruption. He did, though, hint at what was coming when said he would be evaluating the game when “I cool off and have a glass of wine on the plane.”

Then, while answering a third question about the importance of the Grizzlies making a run in the second half – they trailed 56-37 at the half – he unloaded:

Memphis coach David Fizdale reacts to a call during the second half in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“It’s unfortunate I got a guy like Mike Conley who in his whole career has gotten zero technical fouls and just cannot seem to get the proper respect from the officials that he deserves,” Fizdale said.

“It was a very poorly officiated game. Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws, but somehow Kahwi Leonard had 19 free throws. First half we shot 19 shots in the paint and we had six free throws. They shot 11 times in the paint and had 23 free throws. I’m not a numbers guy but that doesn’t seem to add up.”

By now, the only numbers that mattered in the room were Fizdale’s blood pressure. He went on, his voice starting to rise.

“Overall, 35 times we shot the ball in the paint we had 15 free throws for the game. They shot 18 times in the paint and had 32 free throws. Kahwi shot more free throws than the whole team. Explain it to me.

“We don’t get respect that we deserve because Mike Conley doesn’t go crazy, he has class and just plays the game but I’m not going to let them treat us that way. I know Pop’s (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) got pedigree and I’m a young rookie. But they’re not gonna rook us. That was unacceptable. That was unprofessional. My guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game and they did not even give us a chance. “

Fizdale ended his press conference by saying, “take that for data,” slamming his hand on the table and storming out.

This will cost Fizdale at least $25,000, which seems to be the going rate when it comes to disciplining coaches.

Spoelstra lasted 43 postseason games in his coaching career before writing a check to the league for blasting officials. That came before the sixth game of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals. Udonis Haslem was suspended for a flagrant foul on Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough. Spo countered by saying officials were ignoring hits to the head taken by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

“The league does not have a problem with hard fouls on our two main guys,” he said. “In nine games now, there’s been over a dozen hard fouls to the face, some of the tomahawk variety, some have drawn blood. They don’t have a problem with it so we don’t have a problem with it. We’ll focus on what we can control.”

Spo’s bank account was $25,000 lighter for those comments. Fizdale, who may have crossed a different line calling officials “unprofessional,” may be reaching even deeper.

[A rundown of what Heat players had to say during exit interviews — a lot of interesting stuff]

[Miami Heat’s biggest free agents – James Johnson, Dion Waiters – discuss their futures]

[A look at each player on Miami Heat’s 15-man roster: Who will be back next season?]

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


San Antonio Spurs rest forward LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Miami Heat

LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs congratulates Patty Mills #8 of the San Antonio Spurs after he made a shot at the end of the half during game between New Orleans Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on October 29, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs congratulates Patty Mills #8 of the San Antonio Spurs after he made a shot at the end of the half during game between New Orleans Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on October 29, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

MIAMI — The Heat are the beneficiaries of the Spurs’ busy opening-week schedule.

San Antonio held out forward LaMarcus Aldridge from Sunday’s game against the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena. This comes on the second night of a back-to-back set, as the Spurs defeated the Pelicans 98-79 on Saturday night. Continue reading “San Antonio Spurs rest forward LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Miami Heat”