Heat assistant Juwan Howard to interview for Pistons head coaching vacancy

  

Heat assistant Juwan Howard (middle) will interview for the Pistons head coaching job. (Photo by Manuela Davies/Getty Images)

Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard will have another interview for a head coaching job.

Howard will speak to the Detroit Pistons about their coaching vacancy, the Palm Beach Post has confirmed. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the story.

Howard, 45, met with the Knicks about their head coaching vacancy a month ago. About a week later New York announced the hiring of David Fizdale, the former Heat assistant and Memphis head coach.

The Pistons have been searching for a coach since former Heat assistant Stan Van Gundy was fired May 7. Van Gundy was the organization’s head coach and president of basketball operations. Heat executive Shane Battier spoke to the Pistons about a front office job but ultimately withdrew his name from the search.

Howard is from Chicago and played three seasons at the University of Michigan. He spent 19 seasons in the NBA, playing for eight different teams, but never for the Pistons. His last three years were with the Heat where he was a part of the 2012 and 2013 championship teams. He joined coach Erik Spoelstra’s staff immediately after retiring and worked in player development his first season along with being an assistant.

Howard’s only head coaching experience came in the 2016 Summer League where he led the Heat’s teams in Orlando and Las Vegas. Howard’s duties have including working with the Heat’s big men and serving as their defensive coordinator.

Dan Craig was the Heat’s lead assistant coach this past season.

Van Gundy spent the last four years in Detroit. The Pistons missed the playoffs in three of Van Gundy’s four seasons, qualifying in 2015-16 before being swept in the first round by the Cavaliers. Detroit was 39-43 this past season, ninth in the Eastern Conference.

Van Gundy spent more than 12 years with the Heat, including two full years plus 21 games of the 2005-06 season as head coach. Pat Riley replaced Van Gundy early in the 2005-06 and led the Heat to their first NBA title.

Others reportedly being considered for the Pistons job: Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, former Raptors coach Dwane Casey, former NBA star and current coach of the Raptors G League affiliate Jerry Stackhouse and TNT analyst Kenny Smith.

Former Cavaliers executive David Griffin has been rumored as a potential candidate for the front office position.

[Udonis Haslem voted ‘heart and soul’ of Miami Heat by his teammates]

[Miami Heat ties to Finals not limited to LeBron James]

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

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Shane Battier will remain with Heat front office after withdrawing name from Pistons search

Shane Battier (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI — Shane Battier is staying with the Heat.

After he interviewed for an upper-level position in the Pistons’ restructured front office, it was confirmed Tuesday that Battier has withdrawn himself from consideration and will remain with the Heat. ESPN’s Zach Lowe first reported the news. Continue reading “Shane Battier will remain with Heat front office after withdrawing name from Pistons search”

Would Shane Battier really leave the Heat to take front office job with the Pistons?

Shane Battier has been the Heat’s director of basketball development and analytics since Feb. 16, 2017. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI — The Pistons have their eyes on Shane Battier.

Battier, who is the Heat’s vice president of basketball development and analytics, is one of the candidates the Pistons are interested in to fill an upper-level position in their restructured front office. Miami granted Battier permission to interview for the opportunity in Detroit. Continue reading “Would Shane Battier really leave the Heat to take front office job with the Pistons?”

Shane Battier didn’t always think he would stay in Miami, but now he considers it ‘home’

Shane Battier accepted a front office position with the Heat as the vice president of basketball development and analytics last year. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Shane Battier signed with the Heat in the 2011 offseason, he saw Miami as a temporary home.

More than six years later, Battier is still a South Florida resident. And it doesn’t look like the 39 year-old Michigan native will be leaving any time soon after accepting a front office position with the Heat as the vice president of basketball development and analytics last year.

“There’s a community here that we love and we want to be a part of,” said Battier, who retired following the Heat’s appearance in the 2014 NBA Finals. “When we first got here, we didn’t think we were going to stay, to be honest with you. We didn’t know where we were going to end up, but we didn’t think we were South Floridians. But we love the community, we love the diversity, we love the energy of Miami. It’s home.” Continue reading “Shane Battier didn’t always think he would stay in Miami, but now he considers it ‘home’”

Miami Heat Mailbag: Is there a plan in place for Pat Riley’s successor? Can a star be acquired next year?

Andy Elisburg, Pat Riley and Nick Arison celebrated the Miami Heat’s championship in 2013 (Getty Images)

The dog days of the NBA calendar are around the corner so Heat fans are starting to look into the future, on and off the court.

We look at that day when Pat Riley decides to ride off to Malibu, the chances of the Heat acquiring a star player – either through a trade or free agency – next year and more.

If you weren’t able to ask a question, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter to @Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44.

From @Diehardheatfan1: What do you think Pat Riley’s big move will be moving forward down the road? Do you foresee him getting a superstar? If so, who?

Let’s put it this way, if there is one available Riley and the Heat will be in the conversation. The biggest reason is now he has the assets, even though that does not include draft picks. Riley has several more players on affordable, reasonable annual contracts since the James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk signings that could be used in a package for a star player or to open cap space to sign a big name free agent.

As to who will become available, that’s difficult to say. Two years ago nobody believed the Bulls would move Jimmy Butler and a year ago Paul George being traded from Indiana wasn’t even a thought. Right now the thought is possibly New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins, who will be a free agent next summer. But the chances are other stars will be on the market, too, by the end of the upcoming season or, if the plan is to pursue a player through free agency, Miami could make moves to open cap space.

From @abdrrhmnkyklk: If Riley were to step down today, who would replace him? Spo as a coach-president with Elisburg serving as GM or Elisburg as GM directly?

The question every Heat fans never wants to know the answer to because that means Pat Riley is retiring. We all know the day is coming. But when?

In September Riley said he and Micky Arison have talked about a successor plan and several names likely came up, one being Spoelstra who has been mentored by Riley since both arrived in Miami in the summer of 1995.

Spoelstra loves coaching and he has no desire move on just yet. But he did address the possibility of having a role similar to Riley’s one day during a podcast with The Vertical following the season.

“I’m a Pat Riley disciple,” he said. “He’s always pushed me and nurtured me for the next step, so yes. I would love to have that opportunity years down the line for the Arison family because I believe in them so much as human beings. They’re such good people and family oriented.”

The Heat hired Shane Battier in February to head the analytics department and some speculated Battier was being groomed to be Riley’s replacement. And of course there is Elisburg, the man Riley continually praises for his knowledge and ability to put together a deal.

“Whatever one day Micky or Nick (Arison) wants to do then I think they have a good blend of people,” Riley said last week. “One thing about that, now there’re a lot of opinions, there’re a lot of voices. As people begin to grow in an organization, they want more of a position, more say. Their opinions are stronger. They have more confidence, which I do like. Andy and I get in arguments all the time.”

So to answer your question: To be determined.

From: ChrisHypeTrain: Opinions on Lonzo and reboot of the lakers?

Tom: Ball has been impressive and will help the Lakers. He clearly has been the story of summer league but remember, it is just summer league. Ball is more of a pure point guard that any of the top picks in the draft and the young players around him seem to trust his leadership and passing ability. In that sense he will help a young team like L.A. His scoring has surprised me but his shot remains a concern and it will be interesting if he has success with it at the NBA level. The Lakers will be improved but they are a long way from the playoffs.

Anthony: The Lakers won’t be a playoff team next season, but Ball sure does look impressive in summer league games. If Ball can continue to impress when the real games start, he could be another factor that helps Magic Johnson attract a star to Los Angeles. Will it be LeBron James or Paul George? Or maybe both? The Lakers are clearly planning to make a big splash next summer. But this upcoming season won’t be full of wins. It should be full of fun, though, with Ball running the show.

[LeBron James is back in Miami and he seems nostalgic]

[Heat President Pat Riley’s unique solution to stop teams from tanking]

[Could the Miami Heat be holding onto their exception for Dwyane Wade?]e, where do the Miami Heat stand?]

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With combine over, Miami Heat now setting up private workouts

 

Miami Heat president Pat Riley and vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer now will turn their attention to bringing in prospects for work outs. (AP Photo)

CHIGAGO – The first step of the six-week grind leading up to the NBA draft is complete and the Miami Heat now are 20 interviews into the process.

The Heat contingent led by President Pat Riley, CEO Nick Arison, GM Andy Elisburg, vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer, coach Erik Spoelstra and director of basketball development Shane Battier conducted 20 interviews, watched hours workouts and set up private workouts during their three days at the draft combine in Chicago.

Next up is Tuesday’s draft lottery in which Alonzo Mourning will represent the Heat in front of the cameras and Elisburg will be behind the scenes, about 30 private workouts in Miami and then the June 22 draft.

The Heat enter with the 14th pick and have just a 1.8 percent chance of moving into the top three.

Most of the players the Heat interviewed this week are projected to be selected in the second round or go undrafted.

Although Miami enters the draft with just one pick, it could trade into the second round.

The following list includes 17 of the 20 players who confirmed to the Palm Beach Post that they met with the Heat this week:

OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana

Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon

Chris Boucher, PF, Oregon

Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana

PJ Dozier, SG, South Carolina

Josh Hart, SG, Villanova

Isaiah Hicks, PF, North Carolina

Wesley Iwundu, SG/SF, Kansas State

Peter Jok, SG, Iowa

Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State

Jonathan Motley, PF, Baylor

Semi Ojeleye, PF, SMU

Devin Robinson, SF, Florida

Kobi Simmons, PG, Arizona.

Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina

Derrick White, SG/SF, Colorado

Nigel Williams-Goss, OG, Gonzaga

Anunoby and Boucher both tore an ACL last season. Anunoby is the highest ranked among those interviewed and is projected to be taken in the mid first round. But he still is unable to work out so the Heat did their vetting at the combine rather than bring him to Miami. He is hoping to be ready before training camp. Boucher, a projected second rounder, said his target date for full recovery is Oct. 1

The next step is to bring in about 30 players for private workouts. These workouts will include most every player projected to fall somewhere between No. 10 and 25 in the draft, among others. In other words, the player Miami takes with the 14th overall pick – assuming it does not get lucky – likely will be working out at AmericanAirlines Arena in the next month or so.

Florida State shooting guard Dwayne Bacon has a workout scheduled for Friday. Other players who said this week they expect to come in for a workout include TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA; Ivan Rabb, PF/C, California; and Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina.

Look for players like Wake Forest power forward John Collins, Gonzaga center Zach Collings, FSU power forward Jonathan Isaac, Louisville shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, Creighton center Justin Patton, UCLA center Ike Anigbogu, Purdue power forward Caleb Swanigan, Texas center Jarrett Allen, Duke shooting guard Luke Kennard, Duke power forward Harry Giles and shooting guard Terrance Ferguson, who played in Australia last season, to work out for the Heat.

BY THE NUMBERS

The highs and lows from the anthropometic testing at the combine:

Tallest players (without shoes): Jeanne Jordan, France, 7-0.75; Thomas Welch, UCLA, 6-11.5; Omer Yurtseven, NC State, 6-10.5; Zach Collins, Gonzaga, 6-10.25; Thomas Bryant, Indiana, 6-9.5.

Shortest players: Juwan Evans, Oklahoma State, 5-10.75; Frank Mason III, Kansas, 5-11; Derrick Walton Jr., 5-11; Kadeem Allen, Arizona, 6-1; Four at 6-1.25..

Heaviest player: Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina, 276.6.

Lightest player: Kobi Simmons, Arizona, 166.2.

Lowest body fat: Devin Robinson, Florida, 3.2.

Highest body fat: Tyler Lydon, Syracuse, 13.6.

Highest standing reach: Jonathan Jeanne, 9-5.5.

Shortest standing reach: Frank Mason, Kansas, 7-10.

Largest hand width: Harry Giles, Duke, 10.75; Moritz Wagner, Michigan, 10.75.

Smallest hand width: Juwan Evans, Oklahoma State, 7.75.

[Baylor’s Jonathan Motley on meeting Heat’s Pat Riley: ‘It was just an honor to be in (his) presence’]

[NBA draft could produce handful of “special” players, many more ready to help right away]

[Former Florida State star Dwayne Bacon to work out for Miami Heat]

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Several prospects on Miami Heat radar at NBA Combine

TJ Leaf walks off the court after UCLA lost to Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament South Regional. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – It wasn’t quite the Wonderlic, but Kansas State’s Wesley Iwundu received a question from Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra at the NBA Combine that he’s sure he will not hear from any other team.

“If I roll the ball under the table, who would get it you or Rodney McGruder?” Spoelstra asked the 6-foot-7 wingman who counts the Heat forward – and former Wildcat – as a “good friend.

“I said ‘Rod is my guy, but for sure I’ll get it,’” Iwundu said. “Just some fun competition there. Rodney is a good guy.”

Iwundu is one of 67 players to participate in the three-day NBA Combine at the Quest Multisport Complex. The Heat will interview their allotted 20 players by Friday and then work out others in Miami before the June 22 draft.

Several players made available to the media on Thursday said they met with the Heat in the last two days. Others have an interview or workout scheduled.

“I think they try to stress you out and see if you can handle it,” said Semi Ojeleye, a 6-7 power forward from SMU who met with the Heat.

Several Heat executives were involved in the interviews including Spoelstra, President Pat Riley, GM Andy Elisburg, vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer and director of basketball development Shane Battier.

The Heat interviewed players at the combine who are not coming to Miami for a private workout, many being possible targets if they trade for a second-round pick or even sign as undrafted free agents.

Miami has the 14th pick entering Tuesday’s lottery and just a 1.8 percent chance of moving into the top three. Miami does not own a second round pick.

“It’s all part of the process,” Kammerer said about the interviews at the combine. “What this does is it gives you a little bit of a feel whether there is anything there that concerns you.”

Two players on the Heat radar played their college ball in Florida. Florida State’s 6-6 shooting guard Dwayne Bacon will work out in Miami next week and Florida’s 6-8 forward Devin Robinson has a meeting scheduled with the Heat at the combine on Friday. Robinson attended the Heat-Lakers game this season in Miami.

UCLA’s TJ Leaf, a 6-10 power forward, has yet to meet with the Heat but said he has been in contact with Miami and expects to work out at AmericanAirlines Arena sometime after the combine.

Leaf, who is leaving after his freshman season, is projected to be drafted anywhere from No. 10 to No. 20 overall. And he does his homework, studying the rosters of team’s that have shown interest in him.

“Coach Spoelstra did a heck of a job with that roster,” Leaf said, adding that Dion Waiters “really came along” and singling out the play of center Hassan Whiteside and point guard Goran Dragic.

“They have a lot of weapons,” he said. “I think if they would have made the playoffs they could have made some noise.”

The Heat also met with Jordan Bell, a 6-9 power forward from Oregon projected to go late first or early second round. The conversation steered toward his defense. Bell was named the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year.

“Teams like that who are mostly defensive minded those are the teams I fit best on because I hang my hat on playing defense, blocking shots,” Bell said. “An organization like that would be a great fit for me.”

Others who have interviewed with the Heat at the combine: a pair of South Carolina shooting guards, Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier; Villanova shooting guard Josh Hart, Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, Iowa shooting guard Peter Jok and North Carolina power forward Isaiah Hicks.
Kadeem Allen, a shooting guard from Arizona, met with the Heat at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.

North Carolina wing Justin Jackson, the ACC player of the year, said the Heat are interested in him but nothing has been set up as of yet.

[Ray Allen talks about Miami, post-basketball life, and Dwyane Wade’s looming free-agent decision]

[Could Toronto Raptors free agents Kyle Lowry or Serge Ibaka be on the Heat’s radar?]

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When it’s all done, Miami Heat will interview/work out about 50 players

Miami Heat contingent at the NBA Combine at the Quest Multisport Complex in Chicago included from left to right: Eric Amsler (Director of Scouting), Chet Kammerer (Director NBA Scouting), Adam Simon (Assistant General Manager), Nick Arison (Chief Executive Officer) and Keith Askins (Director of College and Pro Scouting). (Photo by Manny Navarro/Miami Herald)

CHICAGO – The Miami Heat interviewed 15 players the last two days and will speak to another five on Friday at the NBA Combine in Chicago.

The interviews – conducted by Heat officials including President Pat Riley, GM Andy Elisburg, coach Erik Spoelstra, vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer and director of basketball development Shane Battier – help the team vet any player they have a remote chance to acquiring. Those talks, tough, are just one part of the process of getting to know a player on and off the court.

“We’re still looking for somebody who can make a jump shot,” Kammerer said. “We’re not working on a debate team. We keep it all in perspective.”

The interviews took place at the hotel. Later on Wednesday the players hit the court for the first time for drills and scrimmages. Each team requests 30 players (10 from their ‘A’ group, 10 from a ‘B’ group and 10 from a ‘C’ group) and is assigned 20.

The Heat talked to seven players from their ‘A’ group.

“You get a feel for his character a little bit, priorities, his life,” Kammerer said. “It’s all helpful but it’s all part of the process.”

In addition, the Heat plan to bring in about 30 players for workouts. Kammerer said none of the players coming to Miami were on their list to interview this week.

Semi Ojeleye,  a 6-7 power forward from SMU, was one of those interviewed by the Heat in Chicago.

“I think they try to stress you out and see if you can handle it,” he said.

The combine includes 65 college players and two who played internationally. The Heat enters next Tuesday’s lottery with the 14th pick and has the lowest chance (1.8 percent) among lottery teams of moving into the top three picks, meaning they likely will stay put.

Miami, though, could trade for a second-round pick and also will be looking to add players who could be developed in the D-League.

The Heat haven’t backed off a player because of a poor interview but it could raise a red flag, which would cause them to dig deeper. Still, as they narrow their list they talk to players’ former coaches as far back as high school and AAU along with teachers.

As for the live scrimmage, Kammerer said it’s not the best setting to evaluate a player.

“You get a feel for how they move without the ball, how they run,” Kammerer said. “You’ll be able to watch some skill. But the game itself? They really haven’t played as a team.

“Usually guards show up better in this setting than the big men do because the guards have the ball. The big men. … he may not touch the ball a lot here. So you don’t walk out of here saying ‘Oh that guy can’t play.”’

[Ray Allen talks about Miami, post-basketball life, and Dwyane Wade’s looming free-agent decision]

[Heat don’t have a second-round pick in 2017 NBA Draft, but they can buy one]

[Could Toronto Raptors free agents Kyle Lowry or Serge Ibaka be on the Heat’s radar?]

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Miami Heat’s Shane Battier surprises high school students with college scholarships

MIAMI — Shane Battier’s playing days are behind him, but his work is not done.

On Thursday, Shane and his wife Heidi surprised 21 Miami Central High School students with four-year college scholarships. It marks the first class of students in the Battier Take Charge Foundation’s new GUIDE program.

“Excuse me, I’m a little emotional right now because to see the look on the kids’ faces,” Battier said with tears in his eyes minutes after delivering the good news to the students. “They’ve been told, ‘no,’ so many times. It’s great for somebody to say, ‘Yes, you do have a chance.’ I was in a similar situation and I was lucky to have basketball to be my ticket. But a lot of kids don’t have a ticket. To give them that chance, it means a lot to me. Continue reading “Miami Heat’s Shane Battier surprises high school students with college scholarships”

Shane Battier attends first Heat practice in new front office role

 

 

Shane Battier returns to Miami as the director of basketball development and analytics. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
Shane Battier returns to the Miami Heat as the director of basketball development and analytics. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI – The table where the Miami Heat’s management team sits to watch practice was overflowing today, the first gathering since returning from the All-Star break.

The usual suspects, President Pat Riley, GM Andy Elisburg and VP Alonzo Mourning were present, along with other executives. And even owner Micky Arison, who checks in whenever possible, was stopped by.

But a new face emerged, at least new to the front office.

Shane Battier attended his first practice as the Heat’s director of basketball development and analytics. Battier, 38, has been at plenty of Erik Spoelstra’s practices as player during his three seasons (2011-2014) but this was his first since being hired Thursday.

“I think it’s great and I think it fits really the history of this franchise since Micky and Pat took over,” Spoelstra said as he team prepared for Friday’s game in Atlanta, which will start a playoff push. Miami (25-32) is two games out of the No. 8 seed.

“There is a lot of diversity on this staff. But what’s really important as you develop a culture is that you have a living, breathing living culture of guys who have been through it. Guys that believe in it. Guys have that proved it.”

Spoelstra cited the Heat’s history of bringing back players in various roles off the court, including Mourning, Tim Hardaway, who spent time as a Heat ambassador; current assistants Juwan Howard and Chris Quinn; and Keith Askins, the director of college and pro scouting and assistant GM for the D-League Sioux Falls Skyforce.

And now, Battier.

“With Shane it took us forever to acquire him as a player,” Spoelstra said. “We always wanted him as a player because we thought he was absolutely a Miami Heat, DNA-type, fabric player.  … He can appreciate the way this team plays and how they compete.

“When we’re able to add somebody of Shane’s championship experience, that’s been through this culture it’s very important for teams. We had him three brief years, but incredible success. … And now we get to get to continue it.”

[Mailbag: With trade deadline looming will the Miami Heat be buyers or sellers?]

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