The Heat aren’t title favorites anymore, but they remain a compelling team as the 2014/15 season approaches, with questions surrounding just how well they can play without LeBron James and whether Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can fill the superstar void. Here’s the latest from South Beach:
- Team president Pat Riley says he isn’t planning to make moves that cut into the team’s cap flexibility for the summer of 2016, observes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. That’s when the NBA starts receiving new TV revenue and several of the contracts Miami signed this summer come off the books. The Heat have about $29.5MM in commitments for the 2016/17 season.
- Riley praised the way Shannon Brown, who’s on a non-guaranteed deal, performed so far in training camp, as Winderman writes in a separate piece. Riley also expressed pleasure about Shawne Williams, whose addition largely assured Michael Beasley wouldn’t be back, Winderman notes. “I love Mike, but we’re moving on,” Riley said. “When [LeBron James] left, we just cleaned the table. It’s time to move on. It really had nothing to do with anything but we’re just moving in another direction, in another way, and it was nothing punitive, there was nothing bad. I wish him nothing but the best. But we decided, in the long run, Josh McRoberts and Shawne, Chris [Bosh], Chris Andersen, Udonis [Haslem] and the guys we had there, I didn’t want him to be put in the position of not playing, maybe.” An earlier report indicated that some in the Heat organization had concerns about Beasley’s defense and maturity.
- There are also some within the Heat who are upset that James ignored many of Riley’s attempts to communicate during his free agency this summer, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Some of them believe that the four-time MVP already knew he was going to sign with the Cavs when he met with Riley shortly before announcing his decision.