Posts Tagged ‘Miami Heat’

 NBA: Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings
Gordon Hayward is officially bound for Beantown, with the Boston Celtics announcing Friday they signed the prized unrestricted free agent.

After spending the first seven years of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz, Hayward tested the open market for the first time this summer, meeting with his incumbent team in addition to the Celtics and Miami Heat.

In a saga documented by his agent, Mark Bartelstein, Hayward changed his mind multiple times before making the “gut-wrenching” choice to leave the only club he’s ever known for greener pastures in Boston.

Hayward personally announced the decision with a post on The Players’ Tribune, indicating he thinks he can win a title with the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals this past season. The Indiana native is also excited to reunite with Brad Stevens, who was his coach at Butler and currently mans the sidelines for the men in green.

The Jazz and Celtics reportedly discussed sign-and-trade options involving Hayward and small forward Jae Crowder, but Danny Ainge ultimately elected against compensating his new star’s former club.

Although nothing materialized on that front, Boston did need to clear cap space in order to pay Hayward the max, so the organization shipped off starting shooting guard Avery Bradley – who has one year and $8.8 million left on his contract – to the Detroit Pistons.

The Celtics rolled out the red carpet for the 27-year-old Hayward, enhancing their recruiting meeting with a video at Fenway Park and appearances from stars he’d join in Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford.

Hayward’s coming off his best season yet, as he averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and a steal over 73 games. He also earned his first All-Star nod and led the Jazz to the West semifinals.

In Boston, he’ll round out a talented Big Three and boost the club’s chances of taking down the Cleveland Cavaliers, who eliminated the Celtics in five games in the East finals.

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Everyone in the league has their own solution to address tanking, but Miami Heat president Pat Riley’s suggestion might be the most entertaining.

Riley wants non-playoff teams to play a tournament for the right to select first overall, instead of having a random lottery with weighted odds determine their fate.

“What I’d like to have is a two-out-of-three lottery playoff … The lottery teams play a tournament for that (No. 1) pick,” Riley told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel on Monday.

Riley added, “No more tanking at the end … so play for it. Let’s have a little playoff for the top pick in the draft.”

The current rules reward those at the bottom and penalize teams that come closest to making the playoffs. A franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers that had no aspirations of winning landed the second pick for a third straight year, while a team like the Heat that refused to tank after a 11-30 start got the No. 14 selection following a brilliant finish.

Under Riley’s structure, there would always be an incentive to build the strongest roster possible. The Heat didn’t make the playoffs, but their roster would have ranked as a favorite to win the lottery sweepstakes and take the top pick. At the very least, it would create an entertaining product.

But there are flaws, too, with Riley’s plan. Low playoff seeds might choose to tank into the lottery if they prefer a strong chance at a pick over a small chance in the postseason. This structure might also leave poor franchises without any chance of upward mobility through the draft.

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The Miami Heat announced they have officially waived power forward Chris Bosh. In a move of pure class, the Heat have also decided to retire Bosh’s jersey.

“He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise,” said team president Pat Riley. “The No. 1 will never be worn by another player and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters.”

By waiving the 33-year-old, the Heat will enter the NBA’s official free agency July 6 with roughly $34 million in available cap space. Removing Bosh from the roster saves roughly $25 million for each of the next two years.

Bosh will, however, receive the remaining $52.1 million on his contract “with insurance paying a substantial chunk of that,” according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

The former Toronto Raptor signed with the Heat in 2010 helping initiate their “Big Three” movement alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The trio would go on to win back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.

Unfortunately, Bosh’s significant health concerns came to light in 2015. A blood clotting diagnosis midway through the season cut his campaign short after just 44 games.

He would go on to play 53 games the following year, but again saw his season stifled by the diagnosis. This time his health concern was deemed “career-ending.”

Bosh’s most recent NBA action came February 2, 2016 against the Sacramento Kings.

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Free agent Gordon Hayward is about to become a very wealthy man. And it may not be as a member of the Utah Jazz or the Boston Celtics, to whom he’s been linked for months.

The Miami Heat have now entered the fray as a dark horse candidate to land the 2017-18 All-Star wing, which is worrying the Jazz, per ESPN’s Marc Stein.

Miami has had a seat at the table in many free-agent conversations in recent years. With a tropical locale and favorable state income tax that leaves more money in the players’ pockets, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the organization swing for the fences with a big offseason acquisition.

With Chris Bosh‘s $25-million cap hold coming off the books because of career-ending health concerns, Pat Riley’s front office is going to have room to cut a major deal. That could include Hayward, who averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists this season.

Heat cornerstones Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic are under contract through at least the 2018-19 season, but key rotation players James Johnson and Dion Waiters are up for new deals. With a degree of financial flexibility, the Heat could conceivably target Hayward and retain one or both of Johnson and Waiters.

Adding Hayward wouldn’t make the Heat a legitimate contender, at least as long as a healthy LeBron James is patrolling the Eastern Conference, but it would move the them back toward playoff contention after missing the postseason for just the third time in 14 seasons.

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The Miami Heat, in conjunction with the NBPA, have tentatively agreed to part ways with former All-Star power forward Chris Bosh after the 33-year-old sat out the entire 2016-17 season with blood clots, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Bosh and his family, agents, and lawyers are reportedly still reviewing documents before the process can move forward.

The 6-foot-11 big man will still be guaranteed both his $25.3-million salary for next season and his $26.8-million salary for 2018-19, with insurance covering a significant portion of the payments, according to Windhorst.

Reports surfaced Tuesday that Bosh was working toward a solution that would combine elements of both the old and new CBA, and allow Miami to permanently remove Bosh’s cap hit from its books.

Under the old agreement, Bosh’s salary could’ve been re-added to the Heat’s books if he played at least 25 games with a new team next season. Under the new CBA, an independent panel can determine whether a player is medically unfit to play.

With Bosh’s salary off their books, the Heat will have approximately $37 million in cap space this summer.

Bosh appeared in 53 games for the Heat in 2015-16, averaging 19.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 0.7 steals on 46.7 percent shooting.

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The Miami Heat, while under the watchful eye of Pat Riley, have always been lauded as a top-flight organization that operates with the utmost class.

But the departure of LeBron James in 2014 put all of Riley’s patience to the test. When James ditched South Beach for a happy homecoming, the Heat president had to be restrained from unleashing a letter similar to the one Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert did when The King signed with Miami.

“I was silent,” Riley recalled of James’ departure in a brilliant tell-all interview with ESPN’s Wright Thompson. “I didn’t say anything. My mind began to just go. And it was over. I was very angry when LeBron left”.

“It was personal for me. It just was. I had a very good friend who talked me off the ledge and kept me from going out there and saying something like Dan Gilbert. I’m glad I didn’t do it.”

Gilbert’s rage-induced comic sans-font letter released in the wake of “The Decision” remains a source of constant ridicule. It exposed the unbalanced power structure in sports, wherein a player exercising his free agency was met with fury and resentment over what was owed in terms of loyalty and sacrifice. Evidently, that episode nearly repeated itself in the case of Riley.

With three years gone by, Riley now understands why James left his side. It’s his conclusion that James went home to clear the “scarlet letter” off his back, as if doing so was his responsibility and not Gilbert’s.

“He went home because he had to go home,” Riley said. “It was time. It was really time for him to go home, in his prime. If he’s ever gonna do anything in Akron again, this was the time to do it. Otherwise, he’d have had a scarlet letter on his back the rest of his whole life.”

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MIAMI – Pat Riley has plenty of thoughts.Resting players is a travesty that the NBA needs to address. Having a head-to-head tiebreaker with Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, despite his Miami Heat playing the Bulls only three times instead of the customary four, was ridiculous. Boilermakers should only be made when shots of high-end tequila are dropped into beers.

All that and more was revealed Wednesday in Riley’s annual end-of-season address, a rambling smorgasbord of comments from the Basketball Hall of Famer and Heat president who just finished his 22nd season with the franchise. And, as per usual, there was a clear sense of optimism for what’s next with the Heat.

”I do love this team,” Riley said. ”And I love what we have built.”

Riley said he was gutted by Miami missing the playoffs this season, one where the Heat won 30 of their final 41 games. Even that wasn’t enough to fully overcome an 11-30 start to the season, and Miami didn’t reach the postseason for the second time in the past three years.

But he clearly wants the core of this team back, including free-agents-to-be like James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington. Johnson and Waiters are going to command significant raises this summer, and Ellington’s option is controlled by the Heat. They are three of the four biggest question marks on the Heat roster going into the offseason, and those questions might have been answered Wednesday.

”We’re going to hopefully make the right selections,” Riley said. ”I hope that Dion and James and the rest of our free agents like it here enough that we’re going to be fair with them and they’re going to be fair with us.”

Riley also addressed his own future, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

”I just want to have a great summer, come back and have a great team and try to win the championship, contend for championships,” Riley said. ”I don’t know how many more non-playoff years I can take or I want to take. I’m not so sure that if we have non-playoff years I even deserve to be here.”