In an article he released yesterday, Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram cited that two point guards who interest the Mavericks include Jarrett Jack and the Grizzlies' Jerryd Bayless. The source also said that after the Clippers released Vinny Del Negro, the feeling in Mavs camp is that Chris Paul would likely stay in Los Angeles considering he'd be given significant control over the next coaching hire. With that being said, Dwight Howard continues to be the team's top priority. Here are few more miscellaneous notes from around the league:
- Though the future of Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins still remains uncertain, the impending free agent coach says that he's not worried about an extension or heading elsewhere and is currently focused on the playoffs, "I have a job...I'm happy with where we are and excited about what we're doing. That's my only concern. Everything else is irrelevant" (Teresa M. Walker of NBA.com).
- Erik Spoelstra was pleased about James Jones' decision to not opt out at the end of this year and thus return to the Heat next season, says Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida (Sulia link). Spoelstra: "It's great news...J.J. is a Miami Heat guy. (He and Udonis Haslem), they're special. All of our guys are special in this organization, but they're Miami-bred guys. They're Miami true and blue."
- Ken Berger of CBS Sports tweeted that Jeff Hornacek interviewed with the Bobcats today and that Steve Clifford is headed for his next interview with the Suns, respectively.
- If there's any coach that isn't confident about his team making significant improvements next season, it's definitely not Wizards head coach Randy Wittman, who told CSN Washington: "It doesn't matter with the No. 3 pick. If we could stay healthy and come together as we did last year, have a full season right from the start, we should put ourselves in that (playoff) position...It doesn't matter if we pick eighth, third or 30th" (J. Michael of CSN Washington).
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside sheds some light on Mike Singletary (not to be confused with the current NFL assistant coach), who has been making waves for his standout play overseas. The 6'6 swingman, who recently won the NBDL title with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, has been playing for Barako Bull Energy Cola - a PBA team currently participating in a tournament in Dubai. With his solid production in the D-League (10.1 PPG and 4.9 RPG along with 41% shooting from long range in 49 games) and his experience with competitive international play, Schlosser thinks that the next step would involve an NBA summer league invite and is curious to see what kind of opportunities Singletary could find heading up to the start of NBA training camp in the fall.
Heat president Pat Riley held court with the media today for the first time since July, and offered insight on how the 66-win Heat were built, as well as a few hints about his plan to keep the defending champs together. Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com all provide detail. We'll round it up here:
- Riley suggested the team may need a new, high-dollar local television contract to absorb the tax hit necessary to keep LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh together beyond 2014, when they can all opt out and become free agents. A report last summer suggested the team was in talks with Fox Sports about a deal that would pay them $80MM-$100MM per season, but both the team and Fox denied it.
- Riley thinks keeping the team together is "doable" and said the front office has already begun to craft its plan for doing so, but said it's ultimately up to Micky Arison to decide how much he wants to shell out.
- Coach Erik Spoelstra was the driving force behind the team's midseason acquisition of Chris Andersen. "If I got another text from (Spoelstra) about getting Chris Andersen, I was going to put my hands around his neck," Riley quipped.
- Riley declined comment on Spoelstra's contract, which runs out after next season.
- The team believes Wade can handle point guard duties in case Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole goes down, and that's why they didn't seek more depth at the position this season.
- It doesn't seem as though the Heat will fully embrace analytics anytime soon, as Riley said proponents of advance metrics "make me squeamy a little bit," Haberstroh tweets.
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Saturday evening:
Erik Spoelstra has had a busy summer, consulting with former NBA coach Paul Westhead about his perspective on fast break offenses in addition to meeting with Florida Gators head coach Billy Donavan to talk about the pressures associated with aiming to repeat as national champions (Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes). Now on the cusp of training camp, Spoelstra opened up on a few notable topics regarding the Heat:
- Juwan Howard will not be a member of the team's training camp, but could eventually join the team down the line.
- Dwyane Wade has been recovering from an arthroscopic surgery procedure in July, but is expected to be ready for the season opener on October 30. Spoelstra added Wade is "not 100 percent" and that he will be brought along slowly as training camp begins. Ray Allen has been recovering from offseason ankle surgery in July, and while Spoelstra says that the sharpshooter isn't 100 percent healthy either, it's not noticeable. Mike Miller is well enough to take part in all the training camp drills, but will be limited at times as a precaution. Lastly, Jarvis Varnardo is dealing with a strained hamstring that will sideline him heading into camp.
- Norris Cole appears to be doing well after experiencing some issues with his groin recently, and has had a strong summer considering the team's goal of improving his playmaking and shooting.
- Dexter Pittman has had a productive offseason and will be in the best condition he's been in going into a training camp.
One of the reasons the Ray Allen signing was such a coup for the Heat is concern about Dwyane Wade's left knee, which required arthroscopic surgery July 9th and forced him out of the Olympics. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel rounded up Wade's comments about his recovery as he makes the rounds to promote his book, "A Father First: How my life became bigger than basketball." Winderman also has a few more tidbits from the defending champs today, and we'll pass them along here:
- Wade was optimistic during his appearance on "The View," saying, "I'm doing great. I'm ahead of schedule. The knee's OK, so I'm ahead of schedule," as Winderman notes. Wade was more cautious in his remarks to a Houston radio station, and indicated it could be a while before he's 100%. "That's my goal, to be full strength," Wade said. "Obviously, coming off surgery, even in the beginning of the year, [the goal is] to continue to work your way into things and hopeful hit your stride some point midseason, where you feel your best."
- Coach Erik Spoelstra, who turned up the tempo last season, spoke on WQAM's Jorge Sedano Show today and said he'll try to get the team to play even faster this year, as Winderman notes. Spoelstra also shared his excitement about adding Allen to the mix. "He's a Hall of Fame-type catch-and-shoot player," the coach said. "We haven't had that element before in our offense. So it's been a lot of fun, trying to X-and-O and come up with new ways to get him open. I don't want to overthink it. I don't want to totally change what we do, but that's a great element to have, that type of weapon."
- In the same interview, Spoelstra also gave his take on the moves that the Lakers and other teams took to try to knock the Heat from the top of the mountain. "We knew this would be a big summer, one way or another, that there were a lot of teams out there with money, that had an opportunity to make big moves, and some teams did, some teams did improve," Spoelstra said. "The Lakers certainly did, and that's going to make it all the more fun."
- A third point guard would provide insurance in case either Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole misses any time this season, but the Heat seem willing to experiment with Terrel Harris in that role if the need arises, Winderman says in his mailbag column. Harris remains unsigned, but he's in talks with the Heat about a return.
Heat president Pat Riley appeared on the Sid Rosenberg Show on 640 Sports in South Florida today, discussing LeBron James' gold medal performance in London, the Heat's offseason moves, and the Lakers' acquisition of Dwight Howard. Let's round up of a few of Riley's more notable quotes, courtesy of Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel....
On LeBron's Olympic performance and the next step for the reigning MVP:
"I think both [Heat owner] Micky [Arison] and I had a great sigh of relief that he got through the Olympics without getting hurt or anything happening and also winning the gold medal.... We're happy for him. We love him to death, obviously.... We just want him to get home and get some rest. And in a short six weeks, he's going to be back at it in training camp."
On Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis joining the Heat:
"They're both a perfect fit for us. There isn't any kind of magic. You build it over time and if you build it, as they said in 'Field of Dreams,' they will come. And they're coming, and we're happy about it."
On the Lakers' trade for Howard and whether it makes a Lakers/Heat Finals likely:
"Howard is a little more athletic than [Andrew] Bynum. They definitely have improved their team.... [But] it's not an easy job for any team in the West. And it's not going to be an easy job for us here in the East."
On Erik Spoelstra's future in Miami:
"Probably, I'll be gone before he leaves, or if he ever does. I'd like to see Erik be like Gregg Popovich and be here for his whole career. I mean, that's very hard in this league. I was with three different franchises after championships in L.A. Change is, at times, the landscape of the NBA.... But, no, he's part of us. He's part of the Heat. He's grown up with the Heat. He's learned everything that he really has to learn to be a head coach."
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News has a new column focusing on Miami Heat president Pat Riley, who is attempting to build a new dynasty in Miami following the team's NBA Finals victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. Here are the highlights of the column:
- Lawrence believes that even if the Heat had lost for the second straight year in the Finals, head coach Erik Spoelstra was not going to lose his job, given Riley's investment in him as a successor.
- Lawrence hears that Shaquille O'Neal was interested in the Orlando Magic GM job that was recently filled by Rob Hennigan, but announced his lack of interest when the reported pay was lower than he was seeking.
- The Bulls may look to move Joakim Noah and Luol Deng this summer in order to clear room to sign new deals with Taj Gibson and Omer Asik, Lawrence hears.
- The Knicks, Lawrence writes, will be in the market for a shooting guard this summer, with Jason Terry, O.J. Mayo, and Ray Allen being their top priorities.
- Executives in Dallas believe that Deron Williams is leaning towards re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Heat are certainly in better position to advance to the NBA Finals than they were 24 hours ago, but they aren't out of the woods yet, with a Game 7 looming. Given the high expectations in Miami, ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (Twitter link) polled 27 NBA executives on 20 clubs on whether they'd fire Erik Spoelstra if the Heat lose the series to the Celtics -- 17 said no, while 10 said yes. While we await tomorrow's winner-take-all matchup and prepare for a night without NBA action, let's check in on some other updates from around the Association....
- Lakers trainer Gary Vitti confirmed to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com that both Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum are expected to travel to Germany to undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy this summer. According to Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld, Bryant may head overseas for his treatment as soon as this weekend.
- Former NBA veteran Nenad Krstic told HoopsHype that he's unsure whether or not he'll return to the league or continue playing for CSKA Moscow next season.
- Kendall Marshall is hearing that he could be a late lottery pick, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
- Tommy Beer of HoopsWorld attempts to uncover a few potential free agent bargains at the point guard position.
- Nick Calathes has spoken to the Mavericks and indicated that he'd like to make the jump to the NBA, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. We heard earlier this week that the 23-year-old was considering such a move, though he was still drawing heavy interest from European teams.
- Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com examines possible free agent fits for the Warriors.
- The Warriors, picking seventh overall, appear to be "especially high" on Jared Sullinger, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.
Kevin Garnett reminded the world on Tuesday night that a 36-year-old player can still be a game-changer as the man known as The Big Ticket put up 26 points and 11 rebounds in a 94-90 victory over the Heat. The Celtics, deemed underdogs by perhaps even their own mothers, have willed themselves to come within one victory of beating the Heat and advancing to the NBA Finals. LeBron James is averaging a double-double in the series as he's scoring 31.8 PPG and grabbing 10.0 RPG against Boston. The Heat, losers of three in a row, face a win-or-g0-home game in Boston on Thursday with a Game 7 in Miami looming. Let's catch up on the latest news and headlines surrounding the Eastern Conference Finals...
- Don't look for the Heat to part ways with head coach Erik Spoelstra even if the team fails to advance to the NBA Finals, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. That could change, however, if Pat Riley decides he's done working for the Heat and ready to retire, which could lead to complete roster overhaul. Simply put, Spoelstra goes as Riley goes.
- Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld says the Heat would have myriad options if the team falls short of a championship and looks to end the Big 3 experiment. If Miami decides to part ways with Chris Bosh, they could look to the Rockets as a potential trade partner as they seek a superstar and have expressed interest in Bosh when he was a free agent in 2010. Chicago and Orlando could land Dwyane Wade if the Heat decide to trade the former Marquette star and rebuild around James.
- Clutch shooting has proven to be key for the Celtics as the team leads all remaining playoff teams in field goal percentage during the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime when leading or trailing by five points (64.7%), according to Ryan Feldman of ESPN Stats & Info. The Heat, however, have the lowest field goal percentage in the same category as they are shooting 36.5%. Look for Miami to address this statistic during the offseason as they reshape their roster for the fall.
Let's go coast to coast to catch up on the latest news and headlines before King James and the Heat look to make it a series against Indiana...