Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made no mention of Chris Bosh in two video messages posted today on the team’s website, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The status of the veteran big man remains uncertain after his past two seasons were cut short because of blood clots. Spoelstra singled out Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson as defensive leaders who will define the team in the post-Dwyane Wade era. “You learn pretty quickly in this league that your roster is going to change,” Spoelstra said, “sometimes your staff changes. Expectations change. It’s like that every year. Just when you get comfortable, it will change. This is a new challenge. We’re embracing the change. We’re excited about the future, excited about the guys we have on our team. You also have to have the right kind of players.” Owner Micky Arison named Bosh as part of the Heat’s future in a recent letter to Miami fans.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The Magic can offer an extension to newly acquired power forward Serge Ibaka, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Ibaka, whom Orlando picked up in a draft-night deal with the Thunder, is about to enter the last season of a four-year, $49MM extension he received from Oklahoma City. Ibaka would be limited to a 4.5% raise from his $12.2MM salary in the first year of an extension because the Magic are over the salary cap, Marks notes, and because he has been traded in the past six months Ibaka can only have two years added to his contract.
- Tiago Splitter believes the Hawks will be a much better defensive team with Dwight Howard replacing Al Horford at center, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He also cited an improvement in defense at point guard, where Dennis Schroder is taking over for the traded Jeff Teague. “[Howard] is a little bit more of a defensive player than Al, more rebounds, more physical presence on the court,” Splitter said. “That is going to change our team. … Dennis, he is also a great defender. He’s a better defender than Jeff. He will pressure the point guard the whole court.” Splitter, who had hip surgery in February and was limited to 36 games last season, also figures to improve the defense with his return to the lineup.
- The Hawks hired Richard Midgley as their west coast scout, Vivlamore writes in a separate story. Midgley has been a coach at Modesto Christian High School in California for the past two seasons.