Posts Tagged ‘Miami Heat’

LeBron James looks back at the 2011 NBA Finals as the turning point in his career, with the Miami Heat coming up short against the Dallas Mavericks in six games despite being the heavy favorites.

“I thought it would be easy because I was teaming with some real players,” said James during Friday’s “The Shop” on HBO. “You go down there, we lose that Finals, I felt like the world had caved in. First of all, I was wearing a hat that I wasn’t accustomed to, and I bought into it because, at that point in time in my life, I was still caring about what other people thought. But that moment shaped me for who I am today.

“I’m not happy that I lost, but I left that Finals like, ‘Yo ‘Bron, what the f— was you on, man. You were overthinking everything, you didn’t show up, you didn’t do what you were supposed to do, and now you can’t even sleep at night because you didn’t give it all that you had.'”

It was evident in his numbers and on-court demeanor that James was his own worst enemy in that series. He spent the summer hyping up the number of championships the new-look Heat could potentially win, and when the opportunity presented itself to capture the title, James froze on the big stage.

He averaged 17.8 points on 15 shots and converted 32.1 percent from 3-point range while adding 7.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and four turnovers in 43.6 minutes. James was ripped to shreds by the media for not being aggressive, constantly deferring to his All-Star teammates, and putting up paltry offensive numbers when he was capable of so much more.

“After that Finals, I was just like, ‘That’s never happening again. I may lose again, I may not win everything, but I’ll never fail again,'” added James, who capped off his rant by saying overcoming that defeat was his “greatest achievement” after being asked if it was his greatest failure.

James and Miami bounced back by winning the next two championships. He then returned home to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy once again in 2016.

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Shaquille O’Neal was the NBA’s most dominant player through much of his 19 seasons, winning four championships along the way.

The 7-foot giant benefited by playing beside elite talent, including Kobe Bryant, Penny Hardaway, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. O’Neal praised the latter as an all-time great, deserving of his upcoming retirement tour.

“Every great, historic player deserves one. D-Wade is a historic player,” O’Neal said, according to the Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. “And there’s a lot of barbershop talk of him being the second- or the third-best two-guard in the game. And when you bring his name up, there’s nobody even close, as far as three, four, five, six and all that. So he is one of the top two-guards to play the game.

“I’m happy for him that he can have this farewell tour, especially here in Wade County.”

Wade announced he will return for “one last dance” with the Miami Heat on Sunday, re-signing for one year. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports the deal is worth the veteran’s minimum of $2.4 million.

O’Neal suited up with Wade after being dealt to the Heat in 2004. They reached the NBA Finals in 2006, where they defeated the Dallas Mavericks thanks to some heroics from the superstar guard. He averaged 34.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in the six-game series.

“He’s one of the best two-guards to ever play the game,” O’Neal continued. “He came in quietly, worked his way up to become one of the best players ever.”

“… He wasn’t really talked about coming in … The funny thing is, before I came to Miami, I never knew who he was. I don’t think I played against Miami that year, so I’d never seen him, never heard of him and we were out of the playoffs and they were in the playoffs, and like then, ‘Who is this kid?’ So when it came time for me to make a move, I know I needed somebody who was as good as Kobe or close, that I could bring to the next level. So I chose to come (to Miami). I think it was one of my better business decisions ever.”

Jimmy Butler may be making his way to South Beach at some point in the near future.

The Miami Heat are reportedly the “most engaged” team with the Minnesota Timberwolves in trade talks for the 29-year-old, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This comes on the heels of a report from the New York Times’ Marc Stein that Butler and his agent have informed Timberwolves management he would prefer a move to the Heat if possible.

When it comes to the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers, two teams Butler had previously expressed interest in joining, there has reportedly been zero traction between Minnesota and either organization.

The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, have reportedly attempted to get creative as they look to enter the mix for Butler. Wojnarowski notes it would take a third team getting involved to make it work.

Butler has been given permission to not partake in training camp, as team president and head coach Tom Thibodeau, owner Glen Taylor, and general manager Scott Layden look to honor his trade request. The four-time All-Star reportedly sought out Taylor to be reassured the Timberwolves were, in fact, seeking out potential trade partners, as he was skeptical of Thibodeau’s efforts.

Federal authorities are investigating Jeffrey R. David, the former chief revenue officer for the Sacramento Kings, on suspicion of embezzlement, according to The Sacramento Bee’s San Stanton and Darrell Smith.

David is suspected of embezzling $13.4 million ($9 million from Golden 1 Credit Union and $4.3 million from Kaiser Permanente) during his time with the Kings so he could purchase real estate in southern California.

His position with the Kings organization was eliminated on June 1, but David currently holds the same title with the Miami Heat, who are cooperating with the investigation.

“Last week, we alerted federal law enforcement to suspicious financial transactions involving a former Kings employee, Jeff David,” the team said in an official statement. “That investigation is underway and on Monday, U.S. Department of Justice authorities began the formal process of recovering and seizing the properties involved in the investigation.

“We appreciate the swift action on behalf of the officials at the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor Scott as they work to complete this investigation and we will take all appropriate action once it is complete.”

Criminal charges have not yet been filed.

Dwyane Wade has made it clear he won’t be playing in China next season.

While reports had swirled in late July that he had a three-year offer worth more than $25 million to play for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the CBA, the 12-time All-Star only plans to continue his NBA career with the Miami Heat.

“Heat only,” Wade told Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald. “If I play the game of basketball this year it will be in a Miami uniform. If I don’t I’ll be living in Miami or somewhere else probably.”

Pat Riley and the Heat front office had been hoping for a mid-August decisionon whether or not Wade would be returning to the team, but he seems to be in no rush on coming to an agreement.

“When the decision needs to be made it will be made,” Wade said. “It’s different now. It’s not like we’re sitting down trying to figure out a $100M contract and I need to sign it by July 8th. So we have time.”

It only makes sense for the 36-year-old to finish out his career in “Wade County” as he was a different player after returning from the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second half of last season.

While being a key reserve down the stretch, he rose to the occasion in the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging 16.6 points over five games, highlighted by a 28-point, vintage performance in a Game 2 win.

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside struggled to live up to the expectations of his expensive contract last season and speculation ran rampant that his relationship with head coach Erik Spoelstra was severely damaged.

However, despite murmur’s of Miami’s reported inability to trade Whiteside or his perceived broken relationship with the coach, Spoelstra claims that their supposed dispute is much ado about nothing.

“I have absolutely been in touch with Hassan,” Spoelstra said, according to the Palm Beach Post’s Tom D’Angelo.

“We’ve gotten together for lunch, in constant contact on the phone and in texts. Like many things in this league, it’s not what it seems on the outside. It’s pretty normal NBA life. I’m looking forward to the start of the season with a healthy Hassan. I know he’s looking forward to that. And we still have a good part of the summer to get better.”

This is positive news for anyone hoping Whiteside could redeem himself in the upcoming season after struggling to stay on the floor last season, playing his fewest minutes per game since joining the Heat in 2014.

If Miami is shopping Whiteside, it will be difficult to find a taker given that he has a difficult personality and is set to make north $52-million over the next two seasons. To make matters worse, he was borderline impossible to play in situations where he was forced to switch onto guards.

The market for centers has taken a massive hit, with Dwight HowardDeMarcus Cousins, and Brook Lopez taking minuscule contracts compared to their past earnings.

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said Thursday he’d never make a move like Kevin Durant did to win a championship.

“You hopped onto a 73-9 team and he took the easy way out, in my mind,” Garrett said of the former Oklahoma City Thunder and current Golden State Warriors star to Ken Carman and Anthony Lima of 92.3 “The Fan.”

“It’s different when LeBron left. He went to (Miami to join) Wade and Bosh, but it wasn’t something that was already guaranteed, something you already knew was going to have immediate success. (James) had to jell and work things into place.”

Garrett’s opinion might be skewed by the fact that he plays in Cleveland, but his comments were scathing, nonetheless.

“If I were him, I would’ve never made a move like that in the first place,” he added. “Me, I’m too competitive to try and ride on somebody’s coattails to get a W. But for him, you might as well stay at the spot you’re at now. There’s no point in leaving since you’ve already taken that moniker where he’s been called the snake and cupcake and all that. You might as well stay and just keep on winning.”

Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was part of a Browns squad last year that went 0-16. He posted seven sacks in his rookie campaign.