Giannis Antetokounmpo thinks he can play more minutes

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Darryn Albert | Last updated 9/4/20

The Milwaukee Bucks are now on the brink of elimination, and Giannis Antetokounmpo feels like he can be doing more for the team.

After the Bucks fell into an 0-3 hole after Friday’s loss to the Miami Heat, the reigning MVP was asked about his minutes, which have been a topic of discussion all series.

“I feel great,” said Antetokounmpo, per Matt Velasquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Yeah, I could play more.”

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Watch: Heat honor Dwyane Wade, retire his jersey in incredible ceremony

Dwyane Wade provided the Miami Heat and their fans with countless memories they will never forget. The organization and fans returned the favor on Saturday night when Wade’s No. 3 jersey was lifted into the rafters in an incredible halftime ceremony in his honor.

After watching the Heat erupt in the first half to take an 82-52 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade took the court one more time at AmericanAirlines Arena. After watching his jersey soar into the rafters to rest in its iconic spot, Wade took in the cheers and “M-V-P” chants from a very appreciative crowd.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Matt Johnson | Last updated 2/22/20

Dion Waiters reinstated by Heat after suspension, not traveling with team

After he was suspended for the first game of the season and didn’t travel with the team over the weekend, Dion Waiters has been reinstated by the Heat, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

However, according to Winderman, Waiters won’t be in uniform Tuesday night for Miami’s game vs. the Hawks. He also didn’t participate in the Heat’s shootaround Tuesday morning, and wasn’t available to comment on the situation.

“He’ll be here tonight,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said, per Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “He will work out [but] he will not be active tonight. Then we’ll take it from there. Enough has been said about it, and we’ll take it day by day.”

The situation remains an unusual one, with the Heat offering little insight on where things stand with Waiters and not making him available to the media to address the situation himself. Sources tell the Herald duo that Waiters openly complained about his playing time during Miami’s preseason finale and refused to do one of his required weighs-ins that week.

Waiters has a $1.2M bonus in his contract for appearing in at least 70 games in a season, so it’s fair to assume that in addition to his previous complaints about his role, he’s also not thrilled about missing his fourth straight contest to open the year. The 27-year-old is healthy, but his conditioning may not be at the level the Heat expect.

The Heat are off to a solid start this season, winning two of their first three games despite being without star Jimmy Butler. If that success continues, the club presumably won’t be in any rush to get Waiters and fellow veteran James Johnson back into the rotation. Johnson will also remain inactive Tuesday night due to conditioning issues, per Windmeran.

It’s possible that Waiters and Johnson will meet their conditioning requirements and be activated by the Heat soon, but this is a situation worth watching — both players still have two years remaining on their eight-figure contracts.

By: Luke Adams

https://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/dion_waiters_reinstated_by_heat_after_suspension_not_traveling_with_team/s1_14822_30390782

Best team fits for players in NBA Draft

Yardbarker NBA draft analyst Brett Koremenos offers the best player-team fits in the June 20 draft. (Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and the Lakers, anyone?)

Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and Los Angeles Lakers

During the 2018-19 season, the Lakers ranked 29th in three-point field goal percentage. Garland may be one of the best shooters in the draft. Should major contributors Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kouzma and, of course, LeBron James be on the L.A. roster opening night, Garland will be in a perfect spot. There will be no pressure for him to start right away, a nice transition for a player who missed most of his only season at Vanderbilt because of a knee injury. If he were to land with the Lakers, Garland would play with a ball-dominant playmaker — either James or Ball — allowing Garland to do what he does best: shoot.

Texas’ Jaxson Hayes and Washington Wizards

When the aging Marcin Gortat was traded last year, Wizards franchise point guard John Wall lost arguably the best pick-and-roll partner he has had in D.C. Enter Hayes. Nothing would help a rookie center find his NBA footing like one of the league’s best passers. As for Wall, he’d find new life having a young, lob-catching big man to help him torture defenses.

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Miami Heat

Ever since the Big Three left town, Miami has become the basketball version of the Island of Misfit Toys. From Josh Richardson to Justise Winslow to James Johnson, the Heat has taken players without a clearly defined position and found a way to make them work. For a hard-working but unrefined forward such as the 6-foot-8 Hachimura, Miami would be a godsend. Somehow Miami’s culture would likely find a way to ensure Hachimura becomes a valuable NBA contributor.

Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson and Detroit Pistons

Detroit’s recent mediocrity mostly can be linked to sub-par wing play. Johnson’s game isn’t super-sexy, but he’s an energetic defender with a jump shot that should require respect from NBA three-point territory. 

Tennessee’s Grant Williams and Utah Jazz

With Donovan Mitchell emerging as the offensive star and Rudy Golbert anchoring the defense, the Jazz isn’t desperate for star power. Instead, the team needs role players capable of executing their savvy brand of basketball and hitting open shots. That sounds exactly like what the rugged but instinctive Williams should bring. Although the shooting isn’t quite a sure thing (yet), the Tennessee forward would carve out a rotation spot quickly in Utah.

Arizona State’s Lu Dort and Portland Trail Blazers

Perhaps the biggest flaw in Dort’s game is the decisions he makes with the ball in his hands. When you play for the Portland Trail Blazers, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard handle those situations. With the Blazers, Dort could emerge as the perfect defensive yin to Lillard and McCollum’s offensive yang. The strong and athletic guard could handle tough backcourt assignments, allowing Portland’s bucket-getting duo to focus solely on tormenting defenses.

Washington’s Matisse Thybulle and San Antonio Spurs

Over the past two decades, the Spurs have developed a reputation. San Antonio will take a raw wing player and, almost under the cover of night, develop him into a crucial cog in their playoff machine. Thybulle has made a name for himself as an athletic, disruptive 6-foot-5 defender oozing potential but lacking refinement. He spent time at Washington playing in a 2-3 zone and doesn’t have much in the way of offensive skills. If any team could unlock Thybulle’s potential and turn him into a two-way force, it’s the Spurs.

Georgia’s Nic Claxton and Brooklyn Nets

After making an appearance in this year’s playoffs, the Nets finally got a chance to show off their innovative offense. It was orchestrated by young players who benefited from the great developmental process in Brooklyn. If you squint hard enough, Claxton has the makings of a rangy, perimeter-savvy center with a respectable outside shot. But like unfinished sculpture, Claxton needs a team to chip away the rough edges. For a Nets offense that likes to have all its players capable of handling themselves behind the three-point line, Claxton would be a perfect addition

Full List

By: Brett Koremenos

25 questions heading into the second half of the NBA season

1. Should the Pelicans trade Anthony this season or this summer?

The Pelicans are in 12th place in the Western Conference, and it’s time they start thinking about trading Anthony Davis. If they deal him this season, the Lakers might be willing to part with three of their four young assets (Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart). The 76ers might be willing to dangle Ben Simmons, too. Heck, the Warriors could even offer Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

If New Orleans waits until the summer, the Celtics will be eligible to acquire Davis (a provision in the CBA is preventing them from doing so this season without including Kyrie Irving) and could offer a package including Jaylen Brown and their war chest of valuable future draft picks. The Knicks could offer their unprotected 2019 first-round draft pick and Kevin Knox. The only downside to waiting for the summer is that if Davis demands a deal to a specific team, the Pelicans lose all their leverage. Lots to consider in the Big Easy, and none of it is all that promising.

2. What does the Lakers starting lineup look like this spring?

The best-case scenario includes LeBron James and Anthony Davis. A lineup with those two could win the title. The next best scenario probably involves James, Bradley Beal and whichever two youngsters remain. This lineup could hang with any team in the league but is probably an underdog in the Conference Finals and Finals. The worst-case scenario would be if they make no major moves at the deadline because their current lineup likely has a Conference Finals ceiling and it’d be malpractice to waste a year of LeBron’s prime, like when the team has a number of trade chips.

3. Which teams mortgage their futures at the deadline?

Out West, the Pelicans are sure to be in the middle of everything, as they hold the crown jewel in Anthony Davis. Yet there’s a chance the Pelicans hold onto Davis and make a big trade of their own — we know they were in the mix for Jimmy Butler earlier this year. Everyone knows that the Rockets and Lakers will be looking for deals too. The Kings are desperate to make the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade, so keep an eye on them as well.

Out East, any of the top five teams could justify pushing their chips in and try to capitalize on the Warriors’ perceived vulnerability. Also, keep an eye out for Pat Riley and the Miami Heat — they’ve straightened things out as of late and have been trying to land a blue-chipper ever since LeBron James left.

4. Does Michael Jordan deal Kemba Walker?

The conundrum of Kemba Walker: He means everything to the Hornets and wants to remain the face of the franchise, yet they can’t compete with him on their roster. He’s not quite elite enough to carry Charlotte deep into the playoffs, yet he’s too good to not carry the team to a .500 record. With no cap room (maybe you shouldn’t have maxed out Nic Batum, MJ!) and hardly any trade assets (maybe you shouldn’t have turned down four first-round picks to draft Frank Kaminsky, MJ!), Michael Jordan needs to seriously consider trading Walker for some future draft picks and/or cap relief if the Hornets ever want to quit toiling in mediocrity.

5. What do the Blazers do at the trade deadline?

The Blazers are having another solid season. They’re 25-17 and have an average offense and defense. They won’t miss the playoffs, but they probably won’t make it out of the first round if they don’t make a move at the trade deadline. Is this the year they break up the Damian Lillard-CJ McCollum backcourt? How does the passing of owner Paul Allen impact the team’s previously unwavering loyalty to its dynamic backcourt? Would the Wizards ever consider a Bradley Beal for McCollum plus an unprotected 2020 first-rounder swap?

6. Which teams should blow it up at the deadline?

A couple of teams that are teetering on the brink of falling out of playoff contention should seriously consider blowing up their rosters by trading away assets for future draft picks and high-upside prospects. The most obvious team is the Washington Wizards. At 17-25, no John Wall for the rest of the year and no cap space, the team should absolutely be looking to trade Otto Porter and his massive contract, Markieff Morris and his abrasive attitude and even Bradley Beal if a team like the Lakers offers multiple prospects and draft picks.

Just above Washington in the standings, the Magic, Pistons and Hornets are all fighting for the eight seed. If any of them falter, they’d be obvious “tank” candidates. In the West, everything is still congested in the standings, but the Grizzlies and Pelicans will want to listen to offers for their respective stars if they’re on the outside looking in a month from now.

7. Do the Bucks have enough to compete for a title?

When LeBron James was 24 years old, he won his first MVP and led the Cavs to a league-best 66 wins. He was so transcendent that the team didn’t think it needed to improve a roster with Mo Williams as its second-best player at the trade deadline. Everyone knows how that worked out for Cleveland — the Orlando Magic caught fire in the Conference Finals and upset the Cavs.

Milwaukee Bucks fans should be scared to death of history repeating itself with Giannis Antetokounmpo this season. Giannis is also 24 years old and an MVP front-runner, and he’s leading a surprisingly good Bucks team to the top of the conference as the deadline nears. While the Bucks have better secondary options than the 2009 Cavs had, their current roster is probably another scorer and versatile forward away from being threats to win it all.

8. Are the Raptors finally a legitimate title contender?

These dinosaurs are legit. Unlike past years, they have a roster built for the playoffs. Kawhi Leonard is back to being the Kawhi Leonard of old (albeit, a little better on offense and a little worse on defense). Danny Green is having his best season in years. Same goes for Serge Ibaka, whose switch to small-ball center appears to have triggered a Benjamin Button-like reverse aging in his body. Kyle Lowry is second in the league in assists, too.

And who could forget Pascal Siakam — wow, where the hell did this guy come from? In his third season, he’s made the jump from solid defensive presence off the bench to potential All-Star and two-way terror on the court. He’s always sprinting, making offensive players uncomfortable on defense and pushing the envelope on offense — just making winning plays all over the court. He’s like Toronto’s own mutated version of Draymond Green. If you haven’t seen him play yet, you’re missing out on the best spin move in the NBA.

9. Are the Houston Rockets still contenders?

James Harden probably answered this one at Golden State last week where he put on one of the most impressive performances of his career. His three-pointer between the outstretched hands of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green was the climax point of an on-going, 15-game stretch in which he’s averaging over 40 points per game. We know Harden will keep stuffing the stat sheet, but we also know that he’s prone to wear down in the playoffs if another teammate isn’t there to lighten his load. Can Chris Paul get back on track once he returns from his hamstring injury? Does Houston trade for another shot creator at the deadline?

10. Are the Nuggets a legitimate title contender?

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets’ meteoric rise to the top of the Western Conference has been one of the biggest surprises of this NBA season. Jokic is proving to be a one-man elite offense, as the Nuggets have been able to withstand significant injuries to a number of their key players, including Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Will Barton. Even if they sputter at some point during the second half of the season, they should finish with a top-four record in the West. The question then becomes what is their ceiling this season with a roster comprised mostly of players with little to no prior playoff experience? A safe bet is that they’ll win their first-round series and then lose a close battle in the second round to a more experienced team like the Warriors, Rockets, Thunder or Lakers. Regardless, the future is bright in Denver.

11. Have the Thunder quietly built a defensive machine to upset the Warriors?

With Paul George playing at a first team All-NBA level this season and Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder and Jerami Grant playing excellent two-way basketball, the Thunder might be the team best equipped to take down the Warriors. Notice I didn’t mention Russell Westbrook? That’s because the Thunder are often winning games in spite of Westbrook. While he is taking two fewer shots per game and has recommitted himself to defense (leading the league in steals), his shooting splits and shot selection are abysmal. He’s a key reason why OKC has the worst field-goal percentage in the NBA. It’s so frustrating because this team could absolutely steal some games from the Warriors in a series (they’re 3-2 vs. Golden State since acquiring Paul George) with its defense and overwhelming athleticism. However, Westbrook has to be a much more efficient player for the Thunder to take down Goliath.

12. Can the 76ers avoid a chemistry catastrophe?

There are layers to this one. For starters, the relationship between franchise cornerstones, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, is somewhere between “working partnership” and “icy.” It’s probably closer to the latter right now after their recent rebounding collision and Embiid’s subsequent freak-out. If that weren’t enough to worry about, Jimmy Butler is apparently already comfortable dressing down head coach Brett Brown in front of teammates about his role in the offense. Some teams can excel amid chaos like this; others fall victim to it. Will the Eastern Conference’s most talented team straighten things out for a long playoff run? Or will it implode from within?

13. Do the Pacers have enough offensive firepower to win the East?

It may come as a surprise to the casual fan, but the Indiana Pacers are a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference this season. They’re currently in third place and have the NBA’s third-highest rated defense despite missing their star, Victor Oladipo, for 11 games this season. Their defense and plethora of excellent role players will keep them in every game come playoff time, but can Oladipo carry their offense enough for them to make a deep run? Look for the Pacers to add some more scoring pop at this year’s trade deadline.

14. What is the Clippers’ ceiling?

How many players do you think a casual NBA fan could name on the Clippers? Three? Four? Despite having no star power, the Clippers are 24-16 and in fourth place in the loaded Western Conference. This is no longer a cute story about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts — this team is legitimately good. Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are all good players and have destroyed unsuspecting opponents this season.

How good are they? Can they win a playoff series? It’ll depend on the matchup and whether they pick up a better two-guard (Avery Bradley stinks now) and rim protector (Gortat isn’t cutting it). They could probably take down any team without an MVP-caliber player in a seven-game series, so if they play the Spurs, Blazers or Jazz in the first round, they’ll have more than a puncher’s chance to advance.

15. Will Jaylen Brown or Gordon Hayward get back on track?

If someone told you that Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward were averaging only a combined 23.6 points per game, you’d probably assume that the Celtics were having the season from hell. Fortunately for Boston, the “Marcuses” (Morris and Smart) have stepped up their respective games and covered for Brown’s and Hayward’s struggles. The team is comfortably in fifth place in the top-heavy Eastern Conference and will always have a chance in any playoff series with Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and the Marcuses playing well. However, if the Celtics want to compete for a title, they’ll need at least one of Brown or Hayward to start playing better. Both have shown some signs of life recently, but an occasional good game won’t suffice come May and June.

16. Do the Jazz have another magical second half in store?

Quin Snyder has been a second-half miracle worker in his tenure as head coach of the Utah Jazz. Last season, after a 17-24 start to the season, the Jazz ripped off a 31-10 record the next 41 games and rode that momentum to a first-round upset over the Thunder. At 20-21 through 41 games this season, Snyder will need to once again work his second-half magic to get Donovan Mitchell and Co. back on track.

17. How does DeMarcus Cousins fit in with the Warriors?

As they attempt to three-peat and win their fourth title in five seasons, the Warriors are struggling with mental and physical fatigue. Even when they’re at full strength, they seem as vulnerable as they’ve seemed since Kevin Durant joined the team. That could all change when DeMarcus Cousins makes his debut. Will the Warriors be rejuvenated by their “new toy” and find new ways to throttle teams? Or will Cousins’ overwhelming but unnecessary offensive talent hurt the team’s on-court chemistry? Boogie’s commitment to defense could ultimately dictate this one.

18. Can Steph Curry really go 50-45-90 again?

Remember when Steph Curry won the first-ever unanimous MVP in 2015-16 and forced us to recalibrate how basketball was going to be played moving forward? That season he averaged 30.1 points per game and joined Steve Nash as the only players to ever join the 50-45-90 Club (FG percentage-3FG percentage-FT percentage). Well, he’s doing it again this season. Right now he’s averaging 28.9 points per game on 48-44-91 shooting splits. (And he’s been in a slump lately too.) Thanks to the equally ridiculous seasons guys like James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo are having, hardly anyone seems to be noticing how insanely well Curry is shooting this year.

19. Can we hand Luka Doncic the Rookie of the Year, already?

Barring injury, the answer is yes. Doncic has been a revelation in Dallas and is must-see television every time he steps on the court. He might even get voted in as an All-Star Game starter. And while he shouldn’t be an All-Star starter, nobody should have any issues with him making the team because he’s averaging 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game and absolutely has a case as being one of the 12 best players in the Western Conference this season.

20. Should the Knicks even bother bringing Kristaps Porzingis back this season?

If you recall, Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL just before the All-Star break last season. With a crappy roster in place and their sights set on Kevin Durant, the Knicks have been in no rush to get their young star on the court before he’s completely healthy. They are going to evaluate Porzingis in mid-February, but there’s a chance he doesn’t play at all this season.

Should he play? On one hand, it’d be nice to get him back on the court for about 10-15 games to help him get his rhythm and confidence back heading into the offseason — this is what the Pacers did with Paul George following his broken leg. On the other hand, with a shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, they might not want Porzingis winning games for them and screwing up their lottery odds.

Full 25

By Pat Heery

LeBron’s 51-Point Outing a Reminder of What James, Lakers Are Capable of

It wasn’t so long ago that Lakers forward LeBron James was running alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat. From 2010-2014, the trio had its way with any competition that happened to step on the American Airlines Arena’s court. When James departed for the Cavaliers in the summer of 2014, he maintained his statistical dominance at the venue over the four-year span, but came up on the losing end each of his four visits. So Los Angeles’ 113-97 win over the Heat on Sunday night was a sort of triumph for James in itself. Perhaps most importantly, for his current squad, it was a glimpse into the past through the lens of the present with a focus on the future.

James’s 51-point uproar was nothing short of spectacular. He scored on 19-of-31 field goals attempts, including a scorching 6-for-8 from three-point range. The performance marked the 13th 50-point outing of his career, something that, at his age, is significant. At 33 years old, he’s the second-oldest Laker to ever score 50 in a single game. (The oldest was Kobe Bryant, who, at 37, dropped 60 in his final career game back in 2016.) Sunday’s total marked his second 40-point effort of this season, making him the third player to produce such a score in their 16th season or later (he joined Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, according to ESPN Stats & Info).

When James puts together performances like Sunday’s, there’s little that can prevent his side from coming away with the winning result. While LeBron was a member of the Heat and paired with Wade, Bosh and the rest of their cast, it was almost assuredly true. With Cleveland, it was mostly true. With Los Angeles, it’s still unknown, however, it is encouraging that each of his 40-plus nights has resulted in victories so far (the other came against the Blazers two games ago).

On Sunday night, James wasn’t alone. Forwards Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram added 15 and 13 points apiece, respectively. Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 19 off the bench, draining 3 of 5 treys. Center Tyson Chandler’s impact was felt on the glass, where he collected a game-high 11 boards. The win was collective, even as Lonzo Ball (two points on 1-for-6 shooting, seven assists, six rebounds) and Lance Stephenson (zero points on 0-for-4 shooting, four rebounds) were ineffective as scorers. The formula to victory wasn’t desirable, but compliant.

Full Article Here

By: Kaelen Jones

Dion Waiters To Sign With Miami Heat

Written by Tim Cato at SB Nation.com

Dion Waiters and the Miami Heat are finalizing a deal that would bring Waiters back for several seasons, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Heat, who just cleared Chris Bosh’s contract off their payroll, have the cap space to sign him and just missed out on the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes, leaving them in need for more scoring.

Waiters had been reportedly deciding between the Heat, the New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Last season, Waiters averaged 15.8 points on 42.4 percent shooting, bouncing back from two subpar seasons with the Cavaliers and the Thunder.

Assuming the deal goes through, the Heat will have retained almost all of the roster that went 30-11 in the season’s second half, reversing their 11-30 first half record. While Miami probably isn’t a 55-win team — the rate they were winning at during the final 41 games — they are still led by one of the league’s sharpest coaches and surrounded by a lovable mismatch of talents that worked beautifully during February and March last year.

It’s a little strange that Waiters fits into that group, given how much his career had turned into a punchline for Twitter users. But the Heat have found ways to use him effectively, and that shouldn’t change for a player who’s still just 25 years old.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Chris Bosh Retires From NBA

Written by Brad Rowland at Uproxx.com

Chris Bosh was an integral part of back-to-back NBA championships with the Miami Heat and, as a result, he is beloved by that fan base. Unfortunately, Bosh is not able to play due an ongoing issue with blood clots and much has been made about the way that the Heat organization has been able to emerge from salary cap issues created by the former All-Star’s contract.

On Tuesday, word broke that Miami would officially waive Bosh and, in a nice and highly appropriate move, retire his No. 1 uniform for the future. That move was met with almost universal approval around the NBA world and that included two very famous former teammates.

First, Dwyane Wade sent his love.


Then, LeBron James weighed in to “salute” his former teammate and close friend.

It comes as no surprise that both Wade and James would reach out on Bosh’s behalf but it is refreshing nonetheless. The trio famously altered the course of NBA history by teaming up in Miami with a perfect alliance of salary cap flexibility and a willingness to take (slightly) less money to win on a grand scale.

Chris Bosh will no longer play in the NBA but retiring his number was the only rational move for the Heat and both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James know it.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Heat Keep Their Season Alive Against Cleveland

Written by Ethan Skolnick at CBSSports.com

When you call yourself “a championship organization,” you don’t typically celebrate mere contention for the playoffs, and you certainly don’t fish for favors.

But you also don’t turn away any assistance that is offered, not in a season like this. Not when your roster is short on the regal stars of the past, and loaded instead with former Red Claws, Valley Vipers, Blue Whales and Sioux Falls Skyforce — so many Skyforce.

Not when your highest-paid player (Chris Bosh), 2015 first-round pick (Justise Winslow) and primary late-game option (Dion Waiters) have missed all, most or part of the season, all presently unavailable.

Not when you started 11-30.

So the Heat had no reason to apologize for anything that occurred Monday night, even if it took a furious rally, all of overtime and the miraculous avoidance of a third 4-point play to outlast a Cavaliers squad playing on the second night of a back-to-back without LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, 124-121.

No reason at all.

Even without James — sitting for a third time in six Cavaliers visits to Miami since he returned to them — and the two other starters, Cleveland’s top seven had 81 years of collective experience. One of those veterans, Deron Williams, scored 35 points in 46 minutes. And the Cavaliers led by 15 in the second quarter, and 11 in the fourth.

“Survive and advance,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who appears to be enjoying this team more than more talented ones of previous seasons. “That’s what this regular season is about.”

And the Heat will have no cause for shame, even if this ride ends when the regular season does Wednesday. Even if Miami can reach .500 for the first time in four tries, by beating the locked-into-the-fourth-seed Wizards, they’ll still need either the Bulls or Pacers to lose at home to the Nets or Hawks, respectively.

“We think it’s meant to be,” Spoelstra said. “We have to take care of us.”

To continue reading this article, click here.

Heat Thinking About Adding Hayward In Summer

Written by Matt Moore at CBSSports.com

Most of this summer’s big-name free agents are near-locks to re-sign where they’re at. It would be at least slightly stunning to see Chris Paul or Blake Griffin leave the Clippers, and no one would ever imagine Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors. But one name who is thought to at least be somewhat available, or open to conversations, and who could have a real impact in a terrible free agency class, is Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.

The New York Daily News, in a delightful column highlighting how much of a failure Phil Jackson has been as GM compared to Pat Riley, notes that the Heat could be one team he looks at seriously this summer.

Riley has a home court advantage because Miami is a prime free agent destination. The weather, the zero state income tax and the chance to play for a top franchise are too good for a lot of players to turn down. There are already whispers that if Utah can’t re-sign Gordon Hayward he could end up in Miami.

via Jackson still far from matching Riley’s front office success – NY Daily News.

That’s a pretty soft rumor, but it’s interesting. The Heat started out 11-30 and are now on the verge of securing a playoff spot. Goran Dragic has been great at times, Hassan Whiteside is a double-double machine, Dion Waiters has impressed, and they’ve had good players take larger roles on this team, while young guys like Rodney McGruder developed. The questions are about where they go from here.

Does adding Hayward make them a contender? No, but it gets them closer. They could use that core to build a pitch for a true marquee free agent to put them back into the title picture, at least theoretically.

To continue reading this article, click here.