Heat Notes: Udrih, Richardson, Johnson, Spoelstra

Veteran point guard Beno Udrih wants to get past the injury that ended his season in February and the controversy that surrounded his release from Miami, relays Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Udrih hopes to take the court this week after being sidelined with tightness in his back. It will be his first game action since undergoing surgery for a torn plantar plate in his right foot. A week after the procedure, he agreed to a buyout, sacrificing $90K in a move that brought the Heat under the luxury tax and enabled them to sign Joe Johnson. Udrih re-signed with Miami in August and wants to prove he can still contribute despite the injuries and despite turning 34 in July. “I’m just going to be me, try to be consistent and bring some leadership, some pace to the game and maybe with that leadership and experience that I gained during the last 12, 13 years, just slow things down sometimes,” he said. “Sometimes, maybe, we play a little bit too fast.”

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says no timetable has been set regarding Josh Richardson‘s return from injury because the team wants to be careful about rushing him back, Navarro writes in the same story. Richardson suffered a partially torn MCL in his left knee in September and was projected to have a six- to eight-week recovery time. When he does return, the second-year guard can expect to take on a variety of roles. “That’s the strength and ultimately the necessity of this roster — ultimately it’s the versatility,” Spoelstra said. “Guys have to be able to play in different spots and different positions on the floor. We talk about it all the time, but it’s reality. J-Rich is used to that. He literally he can play anywhere — the three perimeter positions offensively and defensively.”
  • Tuesday’s preseason game will give Tyler Johnson his first chance to see the Nets since they gave him a four-year, $50MM offer sheet, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami matched the offer to keep the 24-year-old combo guard, who is grateful to the Nets for setting his price so high. “I could tell from the get-go that they were very interested,” Johnson said. “And they were working with me very well during contract negotiations. So, yeah, I’m very appreciative of what they did and setting that price point, for sure.”
  • This offseason provided the ultimate test for Spoelstra’s philosophy of moving forward, notes Jeff Zillgett of USA Today. The Heat had to deal with Dwyane Wade‘s departure, Chris Bosh‘s failed physical and a massive roster upheaval, but Spoelstra doesn’t want to use any of that as an excuse for failure. “This team that I’m coaching right now, what they deserve is my absolute full attention and commitment,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what they’re getting. … What you have is different challenges each year, and we’re in this profession to develop teams, to get players to learn how to serve and sacrifice and play for something bigger than themselves.”
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