News

Miami Heat: Recap From Pat Riley Media Conference Call

Miami Heat President Pat Riley held a conference call Friday with local media. 

Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports was on the call, here are some of his takeaways along with others from local outlets.

 

Riley spoke about Andre Iguodala and the organization’s reset:

 

 

 

On Waiters, JJ, and Winslow:

 

Riley about the one that got away (for now).

 

Subscribe to the 5 on the Floor podcast here for more exclusive Miami Heat content.

Dwyane Wade to Have Jersey Retired by Miami Heat

Dwayne Wade is coming home.

A Miami Heat legend will get his due in February. According to a report from the Orlando Sun Sentinel, Dwayne Wade will have his jersey retired on February 22 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This will be exactly two years and two weeks after Cleveland traded Wade back to Miami.

When you look at his resume, it’s truly impressive in regards to what Wade did throughout the course of his career. A three-time NBA champion, the 2006 NBA Finals MVP, and a 13-time NBA All-Star are just some of the things he has accomplished. Wade had success from the get-go,  making the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2004.

In addition to those accomplishments, he was named the MVP of the All-Star Game in 2010 and was the NBA scoring champion in 2009. That year, he scored 30.2 points per contest. It was the best season of his career, and a performance that is not going to be forgotten.

Although the years with Lebron James were some of the best in Miami Heat history, the 2006 NBA Finals was where Wade was able to make his most significant mark in the postseason.

2006 a major year in Miami Heat history

Wade played in 23 games in the 2006 postseason, starting all of them. He made 219-of-441 field goal attempts, scoring 653 points.  That was Dwayne Wade at his best, and it was fascinating to see him  play at that high a level. The way that Wade and Shaquille O’Neal held down the fort during that run was impressive. That was just one of the many highlights for Wade in what was a storied career.

Do you want tickets? You’re going to have to pay up. According to prices from StubHub, the lowest possible seat cost at the moment is $158.10. If you want to pay that, you’ll be sitting in Balcony Corner, seat 403.

For a night like this, it’s worth it. Wade embodied the Miami Heat from the time he arrived in the organization.  It will certainly be great to see him back home at American Airlines Arena.

Exclusive: The Reason for Dion Waiters’ Latest Suspension

 

During another grueling back-to-back, which the Miami Heat split — this time against the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks — it was apparent they could have used another playmaking guard who could break down the defense and get to the basket, thus taking some burden off All-Star Jimmy Butler. That’s been the reality in many games lately, as Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow recover from injuries.

So why isn’t Dion Waiters available to help the now 19-7 team?

Five Reasons Sports Network has learned the primary reason for Waiters’ latest suspension, this one for six games and his third of the season totaling 14 games. The active suspension, officially for “failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination” was levied Dec. 12 and extends through the Heat’s Dec. 23 game against the Utah Jazz.

According to three sources, it was inspired by an Instagram post of Waiters hanging out on a boat during a time when the team was made to believe he was unavailable because he was sick. Waiters’ Instagram account (@Waiters3), with more than 350,000 followers, is now private, and no such photo is currently still posted as a regular picture post or Instagram story. But apparently the Heat saw something that troubled them.

According to one source, on its own, this infraction may not have warranted such a lengthy suspension, but it’s due to the cumulative effect of all of Waiters’ distractions, cutting against the team’s valued “Culture” during what has been a less tolerance approach to the season. (Heat president Pat Riley acknowledged after the 2018-19 season that he had “let the culture slip” and would not again). Hassan Whiteside, with his tendency to be mopey and me-oriented, was sent to Portland in a trade that netted team-first center Meyers Leonard. Another veteran, James Johnson, has had his own problems getting back in the mix after being sent away from the team during training camp because he didn’t meet the Heat’s conditioning-related goals for him.

But at least he’s played a little. Waiters has not.

This 6-game suspension came after one for seven games, stemming from Waiters’ “panic attack” on a team charter to Los Angeles in November after reportedly eating a “THC infused edible.” After that incident, the Heat, coincidentally or not, played one of their least focused games of the season. And that situation came after he was suspended one game to start the season after acting out on the bench and on social media, in a way the team didn’t appreciate, especially as it reflected his attitude toward Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

According to multiple sources, that’s not all that Waiters has done to create what the team has deemed a distraction over the past few months, after what it termed “fresh start” for the now-28-year-old. The Heat originally signed him to a short, make good contract in 2016, and after he flourished during the season-ending 30-11 run, signed him to a four-year contract amid limited competition from outside suitors. Then he had ankle problems and the disagreements with the team began in earnest during the approach to his rehabilitation.

A pair of rookies, Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, have taken minutes that many expected Waiters to get if he was fully recovered from those ankle problems this season, and in shape, which he said he was and largely appeared to be during his training camp and preseason action. And now Duncan Robinson has emerged in the perimeter rotation as well. Even so, with Winslow and Dragic sidelined, there appeared to be an opportunity for Waiters, a capable playmaker, a decent defender and an improved long-range shooter, to at least to showcase himself for a trade that would benefit both him and the Heat. Now, after this latest social media snafu, it appears even more likely that he won’t play for the team again.

The problem, of course, is finding a team that wants the rest of his contract, which expires after next season. Miami has a little more flexibility to find a trade as of today, December 15, since that is the date that many players around the league (signed in the offseason) are eligible to be moved.

But for Waiters….

“There’s been no interest,” one source said. “None. Zip.”

This latest incident won’t help. The team is reluctant to include an asset, whether a young player (such as Winslow or the emerging Derrick Jones Jr.) or a draft pick (Miami has a limited stock of second round picks) just to move Waiters.

Stay with Five Reasons Sports for more, including tonight’s new episode of the Five on the Floor podcast. The Heat play in Memphis on Monday night.

The Miami Heat ended the Five Reasons curse!

Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat may win another championship together someday.

But they will never accomplish anything quite like this.

Since Five Reasons Sports Network was born in 2018, we had 12 watch parties prior to Saturday evening. One didn’t count for our record — it was FC Barcelona against Real Madrid, and we don’t really have a horse in that fight. But the other 11 were Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins or Miami Hurricanes road games.

And we lost them all.

Every single one.

And some weren’t close. That included a Heat at Milwaukee Bucks game last season, when we gathered at Duffy’s in North Miami Beach.

So we expected the same Saturday at GQ’s Drafthouse a little further north, in Lauderhill in Broward County.

Top team in the East as the opponent.

Road game.

No Jimmy Butler — and a thin bench due to suspensions.

Then, a 21-point deficit.

So did we all just drink too much?

Or did our halftime giveaways — shirts and autographed cards — turn the tide?

Did this really happen?

Did the Heat… win? In overtime, no less?

Yeah, it happened.

It happened even with the Heat shooting free throws at an Andre Drummond clip in the last few minutes.

It happened even after Derrick Jones Jr. got hurt (groin) and Kendrick Nunn (great again) fouled out.

It happened even with me posting premature tweets about them winning.

It happened even with us all dressed horribly.

It happened, because Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow were relentless on defense, and Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk were major contributors on offense.

And now can it happen again?

We have another watch party, Nov. 26 at Duffy’s in North Miami Beach for the game against the Rockets.

Yes, Harden and Westbrook. On the road.

But we’re on a winning streak.

And the Heat are different this season.

We just promise we won’t do this:

 

Miami Heat suspend Dion Waiters before zero tolerance season

“I let the culture slip.”

With those words — spoken after last season by Miami Heat president Pat Riley — you knew the next season would be different. Riley felt burned after he gave much-criticized lucrative long-term contracts to non-stars in 2016 and 2017 and then those players returned the reward by slacking on their conditioning.

And before it even begins, this season is different.

First, Riley banished James Johnson from training camp not for failing the conditioning test — he passed — but for failing to meet Riley’s special weight requirement.

Now, Dion Waiters, who had weight issues last season but got himself in better shape this offseason, has been told he isn’t “in Heat shape” by Erik Spoelstra (we posted that video), and has been steered toward a bench role as Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro have gotten preseason starts.

And he’s been openly unhappy about it.

So now he’s been suspended for one game.

Notice the language.

“Number of unacceptable incidents.”

Remember Waiters telling Ira Winderman that he wasn’t cool with coming off the bench, even after he flourished in that role against Charlotte in the third preseason game?

Remember this from Spoelstra about what he wants from Waiters, which Waiters then somewhat contradicted right after?

Here was Waiters:

There was some speculation that Waiters was away from the team for three days this week after Charlotte game because of a disciplinary action, though my sources did confirm an actual personal issue unrelated to his unhappiness.

Even so, it doesn’t seem to be stopping.

Here are some tweets that tell the story:

 

Instagram always remembers, and this doesn’t appear that it is going away anytime soon. Unless Waiters ends up elsewhere:

We know how this goes.

Just ask Hassan Whiteside. In Portland.

Heat Camp: the best of Miami’s first day of training

Heat Camp is on its way!

And we are as excited as you to follow how the Miami Heat works towards a new season that comes with lots of expectations.

I made the trip to West Palm Beach for the opening of Miami Heat training camp at the former Northwood University — which is now Keiser. The media saw only the last couple of plays of the scrimmage before Erik Spoelstra and the players were made available.

Here are my observations from both Twitter accounts…

 

 

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will be around a while

If you ask Erik Spoelstra, he’ll tell you he could have been fired three times.

At least three times.

Once when the Miami Heat were recruiting LeBron James and Chris Bosh, after Spoelstra had taken his first two Heat teams to the playoffs — but first round exits. If James had demanded Pat Riley or someone else be the coach, what would Riley have done?

Another time, when the Heat started 9-8, and held a players’ only meeting in Dallas.

And of course, when the Heat — mostly due to James’ meltdown — lost to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals.

But he hung in, and he’s still here, now the second longest-tenured coach with one team in the entire NBA, a few days ahead of Rick Carlisle and a few years behind Gregg Popovich. Spoelstra has been outspoken about how quickly teams give up on coaches — it’s about the only thing he’s outspoken about. He, however, has never had the problem. And he won’t, after the Heat did this officially on Saturday:

Woj and Erik Spoelstra are represented by the same agency, so it’s not a surprise it was spilled that way. Coach contracts are one of the Miami Heat’s most closely-guarded secrets.

Spoelstra has seemed weary the past couple of seasons, and it’s probably been about more than his new baby. He had to play a lot of guys for contractual reasons. But now he has a true star again in Jimmy Butler, someone who shares his sensibilities. The roster is much less cluttered. And Hassan Whiteside, and all the moping, is gone.

What will be interesting now is to see how involved Spoelstra will get in personnel matters. He’s had more influence in recent years, but the Heat have about eight cooks stirring that pot.

Either way, he’s here to stay — and the Heat are better for it.

Pat Riley: “Jimmy Butler is a top 10 player”

Pat Riley weighed on the new Miami Heat players right after Jimmy Butler’s introductory press conference.

For him, and for many of us, Butler is a top ten player in today’s NBA.

But he talked a lot about many other things.

Check out his most relevant quotes from today’s appearance:

 

Join us on Monday September 30th when we cover the Miami Heat Media Day at American Airlines Arena. Five on the Floor and Cinco Razones Deportes Network members will be there bringing you the highlights of the day we were all waiting for, since the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Marlins are just terrible nowadays. Do not worry. Your Miami Heat coverage is right here!

The Heat have their Hero and Herro together

The Hero and Herro.

Well, this was refreshing.

As the Dolphins tank away everything but their toilets at the Davie practice facility, we’re getting closer to the no-tank team in town getting rolling again.

The Miami Heat open training camp on October 1st.

The Dolphins will likely have lost four games by then.

So it was a welcome sight to see new alpha Jimmy Butler back in the United States after his extended European vacation — and even better to see him working with the Heat’s new kid hope, Tyler Herro.

Warm and fuzzy yet?

And no, that’s not Dion in the middle, as some suggested.

What is the best part of this photo, other than the Heat’s present and future together?

The attitude.

I have high hopes for the Heat season, and we have the Hero and Herro.

A Heat team with an uncluttered roster and a chip on its collective shoulder?

Sign us up.

Especially in light of what’s happening with South Florida’s other pro teams.

Need something to wear?..

Go to our merchandise section and check out our no tanking tee.

 

The Miami Heat seems to be the only Miami professional team that is not tanking (the Panthers are from Broward, so do they count?), and we will definitively be very close to the team, as usual, but this time, going very often to the arena, to provide you with interviews, live analysis before and after games and a lot of Alf complaining. Please check out Five on the Floor and Cinco Razones Deportes Network (for Spanish listeners). We will have a blast!

The Jimmy Butler trade is now a Juwan-like mess

There’s this perception that things comes easy for the Miami Heat, because of the historic coup of 2010.

That’s not really true, though.

Alonzo Mourning’s kidney disease, right as Pat Riley had given him an enhanced supporting cast.

Chris Bosh’s blood clots, on the very day Riley traded for Goran Dragic for pick-and-pop perfection.

And, of course, way back when, the time Riley said he had to go to a proctologist to get the 10-foot pole taken out of his rear, when David Stern took Juwan Howard away because of a salary cap technicality. The Heat did rebound well by scooping up Dan Majerle, and making some contending runs.

So here we are once more.

We thought Jimmy Butler was being sign-and-traded to the Heat, and he still might be, but there’s now a major snap. The Dallas Mavericks, the third team in the deal, weren’t on the same page as Miami. And reporters in Dallas say, because of it, the Mavericks’ current critical role in executing the overall deal is over.

At first, it appeared Goran Dragic was going to Dallas, though Dragic’s agent had not been informed.

But then…

And so…

This from the resident cap expert who focuses on the Heat:

 

More from other reporters, including the national guy who is most connected in Dallas:

But this is already so far down the road…

We will continue to update.

But the Heat appear to be stuck. They simply cannot allow the trade to be called off. Too much damage will be done to the fan base, but also to the players.

How do you bring your guys back now?

What do you tell Miami?

We, um, messed up?