The Heat already owned the NBA’s third-worst record, and announced on Wednesday that they will likely be without forward Justise Winslow for the rest of the season. While the team looks like a prime tanking candidate, don’t tell that to Erik Spoelstra, who tells Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel that Miami remains focused on winning games.
“We’re always going to play our games to win,” said the Heat head coach. “It’s been tough to be in this situation right now. But we’re developing. Guys are getting better. The team is progressing and that’s all we’re focusing on right now. The mentality won’t change.”
With so many young players on their roster, the Heat could engage in a sort of “natural” tank this season, leaning heavily on those young players who might not be ready to lead the club to many victories. However, Spoelstra added that he doesn’t intend to play anyone based on anything “other than merit, and earning it.”
Here’s more from out of Miami:
- Heat sources have suggested to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders that the idea of rebuilding around Goran Dragic has some appeal. However, Kyler adds that there’s a “growing sense” that Miami will seriously explore the idea of moving Dragic and other veteran players on expiring deals prior to the trade deadline.
- Appearing on a panel at a conference in Las Vegas, Chris Bosh admitted that he’d getting a “taste of retirement” this year, though he didn’t suggest he has given up on the idea of making a comeback. Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (via NBA.com) has the details and the quotes from Bosh.
- Although the Heat have three players on their roster – Winslow, Bosh, and Josh McRoberts – who might be out for the rest of the 2016/17 season, the team isn’t eligible for the hardship exception to add a 16th player, as Winderman explains in a Sun Sentinel story.
- With Dion Waiters back in action for the Heat after missing 20 games with a groin injury, the team will have to determine how he fits in the rotation, Winderman writes in another Sun Sentinel piece. Waiters is eligible to opt out of his contract and return to the free agent market in 2017, so it’s possible Miami will look to move him prior to February’s trade deadline.