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Miami Heat open at home against Grizzlies

When you are desperate for NBA content, you take what you can get.

So it is every August with the league’s schedule release, which just tells you that your team is playing all the teams you would expect them to play — only adding the when to the who.

So now we know some things about the Miami Heat.

They open at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.

They go to Philadelphia with Jimmy Butler on November 23. 

They host the LeBronaires — the Los Angeles Lakers — on December 15, unless Bron skips it again.

They welcome back Josh Richardson (and the 76ers) on December 28, and will likely give him a nice ovation.

Oh, and Hassan Whiteside returns with his shooters (on the Blazers) on January 5. That might not be quite the same enthusiastic reception from some.

Here’s the big thing: as of now, the Heat have only six national TV games.

The rest of the schedule is out at around 5 p.m.

 

O Captain! My Captain! What Haslem return means for Miami Heat

The OG is back to protect the CULTURE for a 17th season. Jimmy Butler was the “orca” acquisition Riley had been craving, but don’t discount the importance of bringing back Mr. 305 for the Miami Heat.

We all know the narrative around Haslem at age 39, UD has seen the twitter chatter too. Yet, anybody who questions what Udonis brings to the Miami Heat locker-room is either blind or ignorant. Rarely does the last man on the roster provide such unmeasurable value and return on investment. He’s more than a player-coach. He’s the literal human embodiment of HEAT CULTURE. That mantra we all love – The Hardest Working Best Conditioned Most Professional Unselfish Toughest Meanest Nastiest Team In The NBA – that IS Udonis Haslem. His entire life-story could be the first chapter in Spoelstra’s Team Handbook, given to players at training camp. 

In 2016, HEAT fans were left bewildered and broken-hearted when Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade went through a bitter divorce. It felt like the world had been turned upside down. The infamous HEAT CULTURE was in peril. Who was there to pick up the pieces and keep it all together? The Captain. And truthfully, besides that season we all wish to forget, UD’s presence has never been more vital inside 601 Biscayne Blvd.

Playing with Udonis Haslem is a right of passage if you’re suiting up for the Miami Heat. That C on his chest wasn’t just given to him. He’s earned it! UD not only gets players to buy into the CULTURE, he enforces it. Just ask Quentin Richardson, who told a fantastic story of Haslem introducing him to HEAT CULTURE on his Knuckleheads podcast. How can we let Jimmy Butler start his Miami Heat tenure without Udonis Haslem by his side? It just wouldn’t feel right. Jimmy yearns to have guys like UD alongside him in the fight. 

Last season was all about celebrating Wade’s One Last Dance tour. This season should be all about passing on the torch to the next generation. The process has already started, especially with Bam, as Haslem noted in an Instagram post that made all of Miami misty-eyed. But his mentorship goes beyond Bam. UD has a tremendous impact on every player that dons a Miami Heat jersey, on and off the court.

Need some proof? Look no further than this exceptional write-up from local legend, Barry Jackson, where Goran Dragic gushes over UD’s importance to this team. He’s clearly Spoelstra’s most trusted advisor and confidant. When a message needs to be delivered to the team, all he has to do is look down the bench at #40. Not only does Udonis know exactly what needs to be said, but it’s the emotion, honesty and Championship experience behind those words, that resonates with players. 

And this season, with the loss of Juwan Howard, who else can Spo lean on to be his “player-liason” when things get a little rocky – because they always do. That’s not a knock on Spoelstra, but we all know his history. At one point it was Fizdale that would help smooth things over between Erik and a player. When Fizz left, that role was handled by Juwan Howard. Well, now Juwan is in Michigan.

Spoelstra needs that extra voice to help instill confidence in whatever decision he’s making. Especially in regards to players falling in and out rotations, sometimes overnight. Nobody knows that better than Udonis who rapidly went from the starting lineup to the end of the bench. That’s something to keep in mind if Spoelstra wants to insert Justise Winslow as his starting PG and have Goran Dragic run the second team. Haslem, the ultimate team first warrior, is the perfect person to help Goran transition mentally into this new role as sixth man and mentor to #PointJustise. 

Point blank, Udonis Haslem can go out anyway he wants. He’s earned that! The man that leads HEAT Nation into a frenzy anytime he hits a baseline jumper, grabs that last rebound, or tell Lance Stephenson that he’s going to f*** him up, and that’s real – a personal favorite of mine.

UD that has shed blood, sweat and tears for the city he loves and the state tattooed on his back.

That type of leadership never gets old. That’s why Miami loves him. 

That’s why #40 will hang in the rafters. 

That is why he’s the Captain.

Why are 76ers fans acting so stupid?

There’s a reason for the Miami Heat to have a rivalry with many of the teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

The Knicks…. naturally, though that’s now going back more than two decades to any real relevancy.

The Pacers, because of all those times Paul George fell short in South Florida, after his stops at Tootsie’s.

The Magic? Well, everyone wanted this to be something, but it never was, since Orlando has had Mickey Mouse front offices for so long.

The Celtics? Yeah, f— Paul Pierce. Forever and always.

The Bulls? For a while, for sure. And the sight of Joakim Noah still makes you wretch, wherever he is stealing money these days.

And of course, the Cavaliers, because of that whole LeBron thing. Heat 2, Cavaliers 1.

But the 76ers?

How could anyone get worked up about the 76ers? They haven’t won a championship since 1983, five years before the Heat were born. They have faced the Heat in just two playoff series, one win apiece. They spent half a decade bottoming out, telling you to Trust the Process, and while they came out of it with Joel “Out-Due to Something” Embiid and Ben “Scared to Shoot” Simmons, they also botched a number of picks, from Okafor to Noel to Fultz. Oh, and Dion Waiters is from Philadelphia, and but it’s not clear whether Heat fans are reclaiming him again yet.

Now, though, the Heat and 76ers have made a trade for the first time since Miami sent Arnett Moultrie (who?) there. Jimmy Butler is with the Heat, or will be, once he stops partying in Amsterdam. Josh Richardson is with the 76ers, and he suddenly went from an entirely overlooked player to the greatest 3-and-D guy who has ever lived according to the anti-Miami national media.

And even though many believe Richardson will fit well, and even though Butler wasn’t in Philadelphia very long, 76ers fans just can’t get over Butler wanting out of their fair little city, and choosing no state tax, beaches and a winning organization instead.

Evidence: this cute little Players Tribune parody.

The title is Why I’m Retiring to Florida.

Here’s a clever excerpt:

A big reason all my teammates love me is my drive to win. Winning is literally the only thing I care about, so leaving a championship contender in Philly was tough. But the lifestyle that comes with being rich, famous, and retired in South Beach was just too good to pass up.

I couldn’t be more excited to begin my four-year retirement tour with the Miami Heat. Just look at how they treated Dwyane Wade last season! Although it was close, the Heat had more Wade nights than the Sixers did Iverson nights, and that ended up playing a big part in my decision. I fully expect a Wade level send off from these Miami fans, and I think Adam Silver might even give me an honorary spot in the next few All-Star games.

This is, um, confusing.

The 76ers have achieved the lofty heights of the second round of late.

Give them that.

But there’s a small issue with mocking Butler for leaving a winning situation for a non-winning one.

Basically, it’s bullshit.

I’ll leave you with this, the same way Allen Iverson left Ty Lue.

 

 

Why do you hate the Heat, America?

The NBA’s best legal tampering period is right around the corner and Miami is being left out.

USA Basketball Men’s National Team Training Camp opens in Las Vegas on August 5th. And so far, there’s been zero mention of any Miami Heat players – specifically Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow – being invited to participate. Now, that could change. Guys are seemingly dropping out every second.

But we all know the national biased against Heat players.

A month ago, Josh Richardson was just “a nice player” to some. Yet the second he’s traded to Philly everybody loves him, even Team USA apparently. So, it feels safe to say the roster will pretty much remain as it currently stands. And that is a damn shame. Not just for Bam and Justise, who deserve to be in Vegas, but for the Miami Heat organization.

USA Basketball isn’t just patriotic, it’s strategic. Besides All-Star weekend, where else can you find the game’s best talents training together, in a single gym? And fans in Miami know all about the benefits of great players spending ample time together, on and off the court. Yes, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James were friends before USA Basketball. But it was the Gold-Medal winning Redeam Team that really strengthened their bond. It also served as a trial run for what would become the eventual Big 3 in Miami with Chris Bosh, another USA Basketball running mate.

Great players want to play with other great players. They notice who gets the accolades and attention. That stuff matters. That’s why when Jerry Colangelo (Director of USA Basketball) calls, players should ALWAYS answer.

Now I’m not saying that if you send Bam and Winslow to Vegas for practice they’re coming back to Miami with another All-Star. But I am saying that putting them in a competitive environment amongst elite talent, will only further elevate their game. More importantly, their contacts around the league. If I’m the Miami Heat, I want Justise to go to Team USA practice and prove that his PointGOD skills have gotten much #Better. And just imagine the OoooooooOOOOooooo echoing around the gym as Bam throws down a breakaway dunk.

Everyone in the gym will walk away saying – I need to go to Miami and play with those guys!

So fine, have it your way America. Bam and Justise will sit this one out while Marcus Smart and Thaddeus Young represent our country.

Hopefully USA Basketball will have a brighter future.

Important Update: WE DID IT!!!

 

Is Bam the Heat’s bridge to the future?

There is a lot of buzz around Bam Adebayo.

Especially now that Hassan Whiteside is no longer around.

The Heat’s 2017 first round pick was a metrics standout after he finally replaced Whiteside in the starting lineup last season, and the Heat — publicly and privately — have not been shy about their feelings for him. As long as he doesn’t get traded for someone like Bradley Beal (a story for another day), it appears Adebayo will receive the 30 minutes per night he should, and get a chance to showcase his talents.

But it’s not just the skills the Heat like — it’s his makeup.

On the night he was drafted, a team official told me they had a huge binder on Adebayo, talking to anyone and everyone who knew him, and that official described him as “the anti-Hassan.” Someone who works with the team. Someone who doesn’t need constant validation. Someone who gets it.

And when you get it, you get praise like this from the keeper of Heat culture on your birthday:

View this post on Instagram

@bam1of1 I'd be lying if I said I've had or could ask for a better young fella!!! As much as you nag, aggravate, and antagonize the hell out of me, you make it a joy to come to work everyday. The way you see the game. The way you approach the game. Who you play for. Why you play. And how you reach your goal of getting there all falls in line with the young UD. Although different styles we not that different at all kid. Been looking for someone to take this shit and run wit it and from where I'm sitting it's you! You have the mold of a lifer!! It was never more evident then watching you finish the season the way you did last year… Never complained. Just lead by example no matter the circumstances mentally or physically. This bout all the good shit you gonna hear from me til next year so enjoy it kid. Lol. We gon have a lil fun for ya bday then it's back to verbally abusing you. Lol. HBD young fella!!! Idk how old yo ass really is but it's still a blessing to see another year!! Lol. Love ya lil bro/son!!! #og

A post shared by Udonis Haslem (@ud40) on

“Been looking for someone to take this s— and run wit and from where I’m sitting it’s you!”

And of course, the skills do matter.

He showed off some in the Miami Pro League.

Skip to about 1:05.

Yeah, that’s a 7-foot man.

And that’s why I’m saying this:

 

Dan Dakich the latest to slander Erik Spoelstra

We don’t know how Jorge Sedano puts up with this.

Sedano, born in Miami and raised on local radio, is now in Los Angeles, and doing some sideline and analyst work for ESPN.

This gives him the great opportunity — or misfortune — to share a broadcast with the likes of Dan Dakich. You may remember Dakich from all those Heat-Pacers battles, since he’s an Indiana broadcaster who likes to talk about his Sno-Cone.

Now this…

Poor Jorge.

You can argue against Erik Spoelstra being a top-3 coach; last season, his performance didn’t warrant nearly that high a ranking.

But to say he’s “just a guy” is ludicrous. He’s the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA for a reason.

And then there was this foolishness from Dakich, about how anyone wins with LeBron.

Spoelstra has been an easy target for years, while Brad Stevens is beloved, and it’s confusing.

 

It’s funny about Miami fans.

They’re all over Spoelstra for his rotations — last season they had some cause — but then they are all over anyone who doesn’t recognize Spoelstra’s general competence.

Especially when that someone sounds as cartoonish as Dakich on this subject.

 

 

Miami Heat fans need a Herro… and a Xanax

Prefacing this by saying we love you all.

(We need you, anyway.)

But Miami Heat fans can be a little neurotic at times.

Maybe it was the insanity of the Big 3 years, which raised expectations to an unreasonable level. But lately, it seems like Heat fans are always on edge, and always extreme.

The latest example is the Tyler Herro situation.

When Pat Riley and the Heat made the Herro pick a couple of weeks ago, the majority of Heat fans freaked out. The entire crew of Miami Heat Beat threatened to quit. The poll I posted on @5ReasonsSports ran 70-30 or more against the selection. You all were comparing Herro to Jimmer Fredette and creating new “washed” memes for Riley.

You weren’t very nice.

And now, after a few impressive summer league games — and yes, they’ve been impressive — now I’m being bombarded with questions about why the Heat haven’t signed Herro yet.

Enough that I felt compelled, from out here in Las Vegas, to address it.

Of course, this is why most of you are doing it.

If Herro remains unsigned, he can be traded without waiting out the 30-day window.

Now, I understand the differing opinions about Westbrook. For me, everything should be on the table for Westbrook other than Bam Adebayo, who was out here watching from the Heat bench yesterday — and then wasn’t allowed back in the building right away by security because he wasn’t wearing a name badge (I’m serious; he’s 7-feet tall; and he was polite, of course). I like Justise Winslow a lot, and I’m intrigued by Herro, but Adebayo is the unique piece on the Heat roster, a big who fits the modern game perfectly and is also a perfect Heat culture fit.

But even if you’re against the Westbrook deal under most circumstances (and I get the reasons for that too), let’s have some perspective. I watched Herro struggle to shoot early against a Chinese team that wouldn’t get much run at the local JCC. I’m enamored by his shooting form (high and quick), and I’ve been impressed by his aggressiveness, especially in transition. He appears to be more than a shooter.

Heat officials have told me that Herro is further along than they expected. They’re telling me, not the league, so I don’t think they’re just trying to pump his value. They like him.

But come on.

This is summer league we’re talking about.

And this is an All-Star we’re talking about, in Westbrook.

Let’s let it play out.

And stop freaking out.

 

Craziest night in NBA history? Tweet recap from Vegas

While some of you were sleeping….

The NBA never does.

Especially when most of it is in Las Vegas.

I am too, with my phone, so I went on a bit of a tweetstorm after the news came that everyone was waiting for but no one expected (especially a bunch of “insiders” who should be outside the industry at this point).

First, after the Miami Heat essentially won the trade war by dominating China (there goes our Tyler Herro, with 23 points in 23 minutes), and Zion Williamson made his summer league debut (which included a casual 360 degree windmill in warmups and later a minor knee injury) and we had an earthquake here (felt it in my room after I had returned at halftime of the Pelicans game), we had a different kind of Kawhi-nd of disturbance.

Leonard is a Clipper. And so is Paul George. And Jerry West sent the next 3,000 Clippers picks to the Thunder. And the Lakers just gave away the rest of their cap space to continue the KCP era. And the Heat are more likely to act now, I think. And a bunch of other crazy stuff.

I’m too tired to recap the rest, so here are some tweets.

Make of them what you will.

 

 

Dwyane says hello, J-Rich says goodbye

It’s not official official until July 6th, when the NBA’s free agency moratorium ends, but everyone knows Jimmy Butler is coming to the Miami Heat — including the guy most responsible for recruiting him here.

So Dwyane Wade, who had warm sentiments for outgoing players Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside on social media, went back to Instagram to let Butler know publicly what he’s surely been telling him privately.

With a little mockery of course.

Meanwhile, Richardson was at the Miami Pro-Am, watching his now-former teammate (but still close friend) Bam Adebayo and others.

Richardson received an ovation.

This came after Rook 2 thanked the Miami fans in a way they always wished that LeBron James had.

That was a little different from Whiteside’s departing thoughts — which the wife of new Heat center Meyers Leonard had some fun with.

Welcome to Miami, Elle.

 

 

El Miami Heat de Butler y Adebayo

El Miami Heat ha estado muy activo en esta agencia libre.

Pat Riley nos volvió a engañar, y volvió a hacer de las suyas para armarle un equipo a la medida de Erik Spoelstra.

Cuando se pensaba que el Heat iba a ver los toros desde la barrera, nos hemos encontrado con mucho movimiento de parte de la gerencia encabezada por Pat Riley.

Jimmy Butler había dicho desde la temporada pasada que quería venir a Miami. De hecho, en uno de los episodios de Cinco Razones Podcast Stefano Fusaro, de ESPN, nos lo había confirmado.

El Heat pudo hacer malabares y conseguir a la estrella que deseaban, y se deshicieron de la pesadilla que se había convertido Hassan Whiteside.

Ahora, nos podemos concentrar a visualizar el posible quinteto titular del Miami Heat y la rotación que va a utilizar Erik Spoelstra.

En el episodio 43 de Cinco Razones Podcast nos encargamos de analizar ese equipo que se perfila hasta los momentos para la próxima temporada, a la espera de que termine el periodo de agencia libre en la NBA.

¿En qué posición terminará el Miami Heat en la temporada regular? ¿Podrían llegar a una semifinal de conferencia al menos con este nuevo roster?

 

Escucha todos los episodios de Cinco Razones Podcast haciendo click en este link. Ricardo Montes de Oca, Leandro Soto y Alejandro Villegas acuden constantemente a los juegos del Miami Heat en el American Airlines Arena. No hay máquina de helados como en el Marlins Park, pero igual se quedan hasta el final de los juegos, a veces, cuando no se van a Bayside…