Andre Iguodala

Heat Notes: Dragic, Adebayo, Iguodala, Haslem

The size of Goran Dragic‘s plantar fascia tear will determine whether he can return during the NBA Finals, a specialist tells Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Dragic, who suffered the injury in the series opener, and Bam Adebayo are both listed as doubtful for tonight’s Game 3.

“If it’s a relatively large tear, I would say he would be out for the series,” said Dr. Kenneth Jung, a foot and ankle consultant. “If it’s a larger tear, too, there’s a risk that it can go on to a complete rupture with playing on it. At the same time, even if it’s a small tear, if he attempts to play on it then he’s at risk of sustaining a full rupture. With a larger tear, I would expect that his symptoms are worse, too. So he probably wouldn’t feel that he would be able to get back as quickly.”

Jung added that rest is the best way to treat a plantar fascia injury and estimated that a complete rupture would sideline Dragic “for a couple of months or so.” A cortisone shot could reduce the pain, but Dragic would risk further injury by playing. Chiang notes that Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon suffered the same injury last season and had to miss 21 games, including eight in the postseason.

“You can try to play through it,” Jung said. “But he’s a guard, so everything is speed and quickness. It’s not like he’s a big and lumbering guy that just has to post up in the paint. He’s going to be pushing off, cutting, jumping, jump stops and stuff like that. That’s definitely going to put high stress on that area.”

There’s more on the Heat this morning:

  • Although a decision won’t be made until later today, Adebayo told reporters Friday that he was optimistic he would be ready for Game 3. “Yes, I believe I’ll be in the lineup,” said Adebayo, who is sidelined with a shoulder and neck strain. “I’m feeling better. I believe I’ll play.”
  • Now in his sixth straight NBA Finals, Andre Iguodala tells Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that he’s enjoying his time with the Heat, but misses his days with the Warriors. “I still talk to those guys every day,” Iguodala said of his former teammates. “Like, you’re not allowed to say anything bad about Steph (Curry) around me, or in general. … “I play for the Heat. So I’ll be caught in like these little internal battles. But it is part of the journey. So I’m going to just maximize these last however many days of my career I’ve got left, just try and enjoy it.”
  • Sopan Deb of The New York Times examines how Udonis Haslem has adapted during his long career in Miami.

Andre Iguodala Talks Heat, Warriors, Future, More

The Warriors‘ streak of five consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals has come to an end, but Andre Iguodala – now a member of the Heat – is set to extend his streak of Finals appearances to six in a row.

Having spent six years in Golden State and claiming three championships during that time, Iguodala is now part of another winning organization that is vying for its own third title in the last 10 years. Speaking to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the veteran forward suggested that it’s tricky to compare the Heat and Warriors – who operate on different philosophies – and declare that one franchise is “better” than the other.

“It’s just that you can take two different roads to success,” Iguodala said. “At the end of the day, the principles are still the same. You come in, you work hard, the talent is going to take you to the top. That’s sports in general. The most talented teams are going to get there at the end and are probably going to have the best shot.

“Then however you figure out how to bring together everyone, whether it’s through yoga or meditation (with the Warriors) or here where it’s a little bit of a different type of mindset, where it’s that we’re going to get through this pain together and that’s going to get us to the next level,” Iguodala continued. “It’s just different ways of taking that talent to the next level, and both have had success in the ways that they’ve gone about it. There’s a deep appreciation for both.”

Iguodala’s conversation with Amick touched on several other topics, including his role with the NBPA, how he’s coping with life in the Orlando bubble, and what his plans are once his playing days are over. The Q&A is worth checking out in full if you’re an Athletic subscriber, but here are a few of Iguodala’s most interesting comments:

On his perception of the way the game of basketball has evolved:

“As you see in the bubble, there’s more fouls called than ever. They want high scores. I think more guys are put in a box. It’s catch-and-shoot threes, or catch-and-drive real hard to the basket and dunk finish. The little nuances of the game, gamesmanship, it’s not as appreciated or it’s not as sought after or valued as much.

I know a lot of guys in the league, like a Jrue Holiday or an Eric Gordon, they have so much to their game, but the way the game is played now, they’ve taken that out of their games because they said, ‘All right, we want you to shoot 3s. We want you to defend, put your head down and drive.’ And those are two prime examples, where guys are like, ‘Man, this guy was a monster to deal with,’ but the way the game has changed you’re limiting a lot of guys. That’s just the evolution of the game and where it’s going. I think it’ll come back eventually, but like I said, seeing those things I know my value because of my IQ or even at the next level, if I can get to a front office or head a team.”

On whether he’d have interest in coaching after he retires as a player:

“No. No coaching. I won’t rule it out, but I doubt it. I’ve got little kids, and I want to be present for them. But yeah, like I said, there’s so many opportunities, and that’s probably the hardest thing for me, is to decide which one I’m going to go into or could I still be able to juggle these things when I’m done playing. Can I have a role here, or a role here and a role there? That’s a really hard thing to do when you retire because there’s always that saying: Once you’re out the league, they forget about you. You hear about that a lot.

“But I’ve established myself in other things that I have going on, and I’m really looking forward to those things, and I’m still bringing those things into the basketball world as well, bringing a large cohort of players who I’ve grown with and who I have a relationship with, bringing them aboard with me as well in the tech space.”

On whether he’s serious about playing in the NBA until he’s 40:
(Note: Iguodala, 36, has previously spoken about just wanting to play one or two more years, but said earlier in the Q&A Amick that he could easily play until he’s 40.)

“Nah, I won’t play until I’m 40.”

Eastern Notes: Monk, Heat, Kanter, Dinwiddie

Hornets guard Malik Monk is seeking to regain the trust of his teammates after being suspended for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy in February, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

Monk, who missed eight games due to the suspension and lost roughly $200K in salary, claims he’s in a better physical and emotional state now.

“I did it. I took my consequences for it,” Monk said of his suspension. “I think I’m making up for it right now. … I’m in a great place with my mind and my body. The responsibility now is even bigger for me to stay like this, instead of swerving off a little bit.”

Monk, the No. 11 pick of the 2017 draft, averaged 10.3 points and 2.1 assists in 21.3 minutes per game this season. He shot a career-high from the field (43.4%), though it was coupled with a career-low shooting mark from three-point territory (28.4%). Monk is entering the final year of his rookie contract, making him eligible for free agency in 2021.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • The Heat are utilizing veteran experience from Udonis Haslem and Andre Iguodala as they seek to reach their first NBA Finals since 2014, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. Haslem and Iguodala are the only Heat players to ever play in the Finals — both players are three-time NBA champions (Haslem with Miami in 2006, 2012, and 2013; Iguodala with Golden State in 2015, 2017 and 2018).
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Boston explores how Enes Kanter saved the Celtics’ season with his energetic play in the first half of Game 5. Kanter recorded eight points, four rebounds, and two assists in just over nine minutes, providing a spark to keep Boston within reach entering halftime. “[Kanter] kind of kept us at bay,” head coach Brad Stevens said. “We were struggling, they hit some really tough shots. [Duncan] Robinson was going nuts, and Kanter’s points in the paint, I thought, really helped. And kind of helped steady us and give us a chance at halftime, only being down 7.”
  • Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily examines whether the Nets’ offseason plans hinge on the fate of Spencer Dinwiddie, who could be traded in a package for a third star or kept as the lead ball-handler off the bench next season. Dinwiddie stepped up his play this season and has stated his willingness to surrender offensive opportunities for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, averaging a career-high 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game on the season.

Heat Notes: Iguodala, Dragic, Spoelstra, Rotation

The Heat list reserve forward Andre Iguodala as probable for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald relays. Iguodala missed the second half of Game 2 on Thursday with tightness in his back. He’s averaging 3.6 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 19.1 MPG during the postseason.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Point guard Goran Dragic, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, has sparkled in the playoffs after the club tried to trade him last offseason, according to Michael Lee of The Athletic. Team president Pat Riley wanted to ship Dragic to Dallas in the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade but the Mavericks weren’t interested.
  • Dwyane Wade believes Erik Spoelstra doesn’t receive enough accolades for his coaching accomplishments, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “He will not get enough credit for the Big 3 era because people think if you put talent together, you’re just going to win,” Wade said. “That is not true. We had an unbelievable general to lead us to those championships and the success we had, and he’s continuing it.”
  • Spoelstra has identified his top six players and is rolling with them, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. While Spoelstra used 10 players on Thursday, six of them played at least 32 minutes. That’s not unusual in the postseason, Winderman declares in his latest mailbag.
  • A fiery halftime locker room got the Heat refocused during halftime of Game 2, Winderman writes in a separate story.

Heat Notes: Butler, Adebayo, Robinson, ECF Schedule

Jimmy Butler has been a difference maker since coming to Miami, and he proved in Thursday’s Game 2 that it doesn’t have to be with scoring, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Butler shot just 4-of-11 from the field and was limited to 14 points, but he played a huge role on defense as the Heat held the Celtics to 41 points in the second half and just seven in the game’s final 4:25.

“That was winning basketball tonight from Jimmy Butler,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s not about the final line. … Jimmy did so many things in that second half that impacted winning on both ends of the floor. Either the average fan sees it or they don’t, but we don’t care.”

After a bumpy relationship with teammates and management in both Chicago and Minnesota, Butler has been a seamless fit with Miami, which emphasizes both peak conditioning and unfiltered communication. The “Heat culture” played a huge role in Butler’s desire to join the team when he hit free agency last summer.

“We look each other in the eye and tell each other when it’s BS,” Butler said. “Spo is going to do it. I’m going to do it. Jae (Crowder) is going to do it. Tyler (Herro) is going to do it. Duncan (Robinson), all the way down the line. … We know when we’re not playing the way that we’re supposed to be playing. And as bad as it sounds, it’s like a switch. It just turns on, and oh, there we go right there. I’m telling you, straight-face communication, move on and get it done.”

There’s more Heat news to pass along:

  • With Miami trailing by 13 points at halftime Thursday, Spoelstra challenged Bam Adebayo to be “All-Defensive team Bam,” according to Manny Navarro of The Athletic. Adebayo responded not only with better defense, but with 15 third-quarter points to help lead the comeback. He’s an emerging star at age 23 and has become a greater pick-and-roll weapon in the postseason. “Bam is set up for how the league is moving forward: big, athletic, can do multiple things,” Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said. “Really carved out a space for himself in this league.”
  • With shooters being a priority throughout the NBA, Rob Mahoney of The Ringer examines how the Heat were able to find Robinson as an undrafted free agent. After signing a summer league deal with Miami in 2018, Robinson blossomed as a scorer this season, pouring in 13.5 PPG and shooting .446 from 3-point range.
  • Andre Iguodala sat out the second half of Game 2 with a “tight back,” tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.
  • Competition from other sports has affected the schedule for the Eastern Conference Finals, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The every-other-day rotation would normally have Game 4 on Monday, but it has been pushed back to Wednesday to avoid going head-to-head with Monday Night Football. A potential Game 7 may be September 29 or 30, but ESPN has seven baseball playoff series on those dates.

Heat Notes: Roster, Haslem, ECF

Zach Lowe of ESPN tracks the Heat‘s impressive front office maneuvering that took them from the lottery in 2015 back to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020, despite having traded away a number of their draft picks during that time. Lowe applauds the team’s savvy drafting of All-Star Bam Adebayo and potential future All-Star shooting specialist Tyler Herro in the 2017 and 2019 drafts, respectively.

“The doubt was whether [Adebayo] could really do much on offense,” said Heat senior adviser of basketball operations Chet Kammerer. “I just felt like, with his love for the game and his work ethic, he’s going to be OK in that area.”

The Heat also hit on three undrafted free agent role players in point guard Kendrick Nunn this season, shooting guard Duncan Robinson last year, and forward Derrick Jones Jr. in 2017 after a brief stint with the Suns. Miami was apparently one of two contenders for Dorian Finney-Smith after the 2016 draft, but lost out to the Mavericks.

Of course, All-Star Jimmy Butler was the key addition this offseason. During the 2016/17 “Three Alphas” Bulls season – when Dwyane Wade teamed up with Butler and Rajon Rondo in Chicago – Wade and Butler discussed just how special the much-ballyhooed “Heat culture” really was. That conversation apparently set the stage for Butler prioritizing the Heat above all other suitors in free agency during the summer of 2019, despite Miami lacking any room to sign a maximum-salaried free agent. Miami made a four-team sign-and-trade for the team’s now-top star.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s playoff-ready roster, comprised by acquiring key under-regarded prospects and never fully bottoming out, is also examined by HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina in another quality piece.
  • 17-season Heat lifer Udonis Haslem, a crucial role player for each of Miami’s three titles, remains noncommittal on whether or not 2019/20 will prove to be his final season as a player, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “There is a value and a need for me here,” Haslem said. “It doesn’t have to be the way that everybody thinks it should be. If I have to put on a suit and stand on the sideline, just because everybody else thinks I should. I found value in this locker room, and I’ve been able to move the needle and help us win games, and that’s what it’s all about.”
  • Ahead of the first game of the Heat’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics, we asked you who you expected to advance to the NBA Finals from Eastern Conference. As of this writing, the third-seeded Celtics have received 54% of over 1,300 votes.

Heat Notes: Crowder, Iguodala, Adebayo, Dragic

Impending free agent Jae Crowder is showing his worth to the Heat in the playoffs, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Acquired from the Grizzlies at the trade deadline, Crowder has become a valuable part of the rotation, logging 71 minutes in the first two games against the Bucks, the third-highest total on the team.

Crowder played the entire fourth quarter in Games 1 and 2 and is spacing the floor against a team that likes to crowd the paint. He is 7-for-19 on 3-pointers and has been the primary defender on Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Heat have built a 2-0 lead on the East’s top seed.

“Jae’s a competitor, a warrior, and he’s accepting every challenge, he’s a great defender, strong, and he gives us that spacing on offense,” Goran Dragic said. “And he’s shooting the ball really well. We want to find him in the offense. I mean, he’s already proved in his career that he’s hitting those big shots, when the game is on the line. He has been huge for us this series.”

Crowder’s performance sets up a difficult decision for the offseason. At age 30, he will be looking for a multi-year deal, but the Heat are trying to maximize cap space in hopes of making a run at Antetokounmpo or another star next summer. They may offer Crowder a large one-year contract as a way of keeping their options open.

There’s more Heat news to pass along:

  • It didn’t take long for Andre Iguodala to become convinced that the Heat could be title contenders, Chiang relays in the same story. The veteran forward talked about his experience during an appearance on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” including the impression of watching Bam Adebayo up close. “I always knew Bam Adebayo was this good,” Iguodala said.Shaun Livingston had been telling me about him for about two years. He was like, ‘Yo, there’s this kid named Bam Adebayo in Miami. He’s legit.’ So I always kept an eye on him. Then when I got to see him, I was like: ‘Whoa. Like he’s superstar level.’”
  • Iguodala is listed as questionable for tonight’s game after spraining his right ankle Wednesday, Chiang adds. Center Kelly Olynyk (right knee bruise) and guard Gabe Vincent (right shoulder sprain) are also questionable for Game 3.
  • Dragic tells Shandel Richardson of Sports Illustrated that he was surprised to be re-inserted into the starting lineup after spending most of the season coming off the bench. Dragic said he got “really comfortable” as a reserve, but coach Erik Spoelstra thought the lineup change was necessary. “Whatever it takes,” Dragic said. “We have a really good group of guys who are going to do everything to win a game. I’m just enjoying it right now.”

Optimism That Most NBA Players Want To Continue Season

Among key NBA players, there’s optimism that a majority of players want to continue the playoffs and complete the 2019/20 season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Sources tell Wojnarowski that several members of the Lakers, as well as players around the league, stayed up for hours after Wednesday night’s meeting to continue discussing the issues.

Players are scheduled to reconvene this morning at the same time that the league’s team owners hold a conference call to discuss the situation.

Doc Rivers and Chris Paul were among those who called upon players at last night’s meeting to come away with a plan of action and two or three “clear items” that the NBA can help them act upon, such as police reform and accountability or voter registration, according to an ESPN report.

Paul also wanted to make sure that players understand the financial ramifications of not finishing the 2019/20 season, which could be “cataclysmic,” one league executive told ESPN. NBPA leadership told players that they could lose about about 25-30% of their salaries for next season and would risk termination of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

According to ESPN’s report, CJ McCollum challenged players who wanted to end the season not to forfeit their platform by quietly heading back home, while Jaylen Brown and Andre Iguodala were among those who called for players to join the “front lines” of the fight for social justice if they stop the season.

While players would reportedly like to see team owners do more to address the issues the players are protesting, some owners have privately wondered what more they can do, according to ESPN. The league’s Board of Governors recently committed $300MM over the next 10 years to a foundation that aims to “create economic opportunity and empowerment in the Black community,” ESPN notes.

The players want the Board of Governors’ support in pushing for policy changes, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Turning teams’ arenas into voting centers for this year’s election could be another actionable item for franchises. Several clubs have already announced their intentions to use their arenas as voting centers, with the Rockets becoming the latest to do so this morning.

Heat Notes: Closers, Butler-Dragic, Benched Players, Injuries

The Heat have found playoff success thus far with a closing lineup comprising Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala and Bam Adebayo, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. This closing lineup resolved the last 7:57 of the team’s Game 1 victory in Miami’s quarterfinals series against the Pacers (posting a +10 plus-minus), plus the final 7:45 of the Heat’s hard-fought Game 2 win (where the group finished with a +1).

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised the groups effectiveness on both sides of the ball. “Defensively, they’ve been good,” Spoelstra said. “Offensively, we’ve been able to keep it simple and get it to either Goran or Jimmy to make the plays and you trust that they’re going to get you something good, a clean look.”

There’s more from South Beach:

  • A key duo within the Heat’s closing lineup, guards Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler, have benefited from their playing minutes together being expanded from 14 MPG to 22.5 MPG in the postseason, according to Manny Navarro of The Athletic. Butler and Dragic have become a very effective dynamic duo for Miami. “One of my all-time favorite teammates,” Butler said. “We just connect.”
  • Heat power forward Meyers Leonard and rookie point guard Kendrick Nunn both have yet to crack Miami’s postseason rotation, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel details. Nunn started for the Heat all season. Though frustrated about the benching, Leonard voiced optimism that both he and Nunn would see action soon. “[S]taying ready is important, so when I get my opportunity I’ll be prepared,” Leonard said. “There’s going to be a moment that we need Kendrick Nunn, make no mistake.”
  • Heat forwards Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. have both been listed as questionable to play in Game 3 of their series against the Pacers on Saturday due to ankle injuries, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).

Andre Iguodala: I Have “About A Year Or Two Left”

During last year’s NBA Finals, then-Warriors forward Andre Iguodala addressed the topic of his eventual retirement, suggesting that he had “a good idea” of how much longer he wanted to play. At the time, Iguodala claimed he could play four or five more years, but didn’t plan to do so.

Speaking this week to Mark Medina of USA Today, Iguodala – now a member of the Heat – revisited that topic and provided a more concrete timeline for the potential end of his career.

“I have about a year or two left,” the former Finals MVP told Medina. “I’m serious this time. I got two left.”

When the Heat acquired Iguodala from the Grizzlies at this year’s trade deadline, they agreed to a two-year contract extension that includes a guaranteed $15MM salary for 2020/21 and a $15MM team option for ’21/22. Presumably, the 36-year-old plans to play out that contract, though if Miami doesn’t pick up his option next year, perhaps he’ll consider retiring after just one more season.

According to Medina, one of the primary factors in Iguodala’s thinking is his desire to spend more time with his family, helping wife Christina raise their teenage son, Andre Jr.

“He lives a rich and soft life. So I have to prepare him to be self-sufficient,” Iguodala told Medina, half joking. “He’s smart enough, but he hasn’t dealt with any danger. Coming from where we come from, it helps us in terms of having street awareness. You have to scope the scene and know there is danger around. But he’s so comfortable that I have to reign him in.”

Iguodala no longer has the same kind of impact on the court that he did when he averaged nearly 20.0 PPG with the Sixers in 2008 or when he won his NBA Finals MVP award with Golden State in 2015. Still, he has established himself as a regular, reliable part of the Heat’s rotation since joining the club in February. In 20 games for Miami (20.2 MPG), he has averaged 4.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.6 APG.