Dwyane Wade

Adam Silver Calls Tanking “Corrosive”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke out against tanking today in his annual All-Star Weekend address, calling the practice “corrosive,” relays Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“I, personally, don’t think it’s a winning strategy over the long term to engage in multiple years of rebuilding,’’ Silver said. “There’s a mindset that, if you’re going to be bad, you might as well be really bad. I believe personally that’s corrosive for those organizations.”

Silver lives in New York, Berman notes, and has daily exposure to the Knicks, who dropped 18 consecutive games before beating the Hawks on Thursday. The league changed its rules this year to reduce the benefits of having the worst overall record, giving equal odds at the top pick to the three bottom teams. However, the move hasn’t had the desired effect as the Knicks, Suns, Cavaliers and Bulls are far separated from the rest of the NBA in our latest Reverse Standings. The allure of adding a star such as Duke’s Zion Williamson is too tempting, even with the new odds.

“I’m pretty sure we acknowledged at the time we didn’t think we’d solve the problem,’’ Silver said, hinting that additional changes may be on the way.

Here are some more highlights from Silver’s speech:

  • The commissioner believes the recent trend of high-profile players making public trade requests is harmful to the league, relays Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. Pelicans center Anthony Davis is the latest star asking to be moved — a story dominated the trade deadline and figures to loom over everything else this summer. “I don’t like trade demands, and I wish they didn’t come,” Silver stated. “I wish all those matters were handled behind closed doors. . . . I think we could do a better job as a league in avoiding those situations that get to the point where players are demanding to be traded or, in a worst-case scenario, saying they won’t honor their contract.”
  • Silver brushed aside concerns that small-market teams can’t compete in the NBA, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. The commissioner noted that the league has remained popular even with both New York teams, both Los Angeles teams and Chicago all missing the playoffs last season. “If you look at the success of the so-called big markets in the last five years, they’ve been at an all-time low in terms of their success on the floor,” he said. “… We didn’t have the traditional big market teams even playing in the playoffs.”
  • Silver admitted that the move to add Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade to the All-Star Game was suggested by a fan’s email, tweets ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

LeBron, Wade Interested In Eventually Owning NBA Teams

Michael Jordan is the only former NBA great who currently serves as the majority owner of one of the league’s 30 teams. However, LeBron James – who is often mentioned alongside Jordan in discussions on the league’s all-time best players – would like to join the former Bulls great in the ownership ranks someday. And, as Joe Vardon explains in an interesting piece for The Athletic, James is uniquely positioned to actually make it happen.

According to Vardon, if James were to retire today and an NBA franchise went up for sale tomorrow, the four-time MVP would be in position to place a bid, given his net worth, his connections, and the cache he has built up around the league.

“Ain’t no maybe about it, I’m going to do that s–t,” James told Vardon, referring to eventually owning an NBA franchise.

As Vardon outlines, James doesn’t have “Steve Ballmer money” and couldn’t just write a check to purchase an NBA franchise outright, but a majority owner is only required to purchase 15% of a team’s shares. While LeBron’s estimated net worth is $450MM, per Forbes, that estimate likely undershoots the actual figure, according to Vardon, who notes that James has made a number of private investments and maneuvers in recent years that would push the number higher.

With the right group of investors and partners, James would easily be able to put together a group capable of making a strong bid for any franchise that goes up for sale, as LeBron’s business associate Paul Wachter tells Vardon.

“I would say it would take about five calls to find partners if LeBron wanted to pull together an ownership group,” Wachter said. “If LeBron sat down with his team to discuss it, it would take maybe two or three calls apiece. I could tell you people I’d call to be involved now, but of course LeBron has his own ideas and Maverick [Carter] has his ideas.”

This is, of course, unlikely to happen anytime soon, as James is in the first season of a four-year contract with the Lakers and is planning to continue playing beyond that deal, per Vardon. However, when the time comes, it sounds like LeBron will be ready, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote in his own story on the subject earlier this week.

Meanwhile, James’ good friend Dwyane Wade is headed for retirement at season’s end, and while Wade isn’t necessarily as well positioned to purchase a franchise, the idea of owning a team intrigues him too, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Wade has previously mentioned the appeal of becoming part of an ownership group that would bring the NBA back to Seattle, but told reporters this week that he’s not solely focused on one city.

“I love Seattle,” Wade said. “It’s great, Unfortunately it’s not a part of the NBA. When a question was asked what franchise you want to see back, Seattle was one for me. And we talking about who I want to be ownership of, Miami has first dibs and then I go from there. … Obviously, this organization (the Heat) is the first one I would love to talk about that when the time is right.”

As Jackson observes, Heat majority owner Micky Arison hasn’t shown any interest in selling the club, but he might – hypothetically – be open to selling a small share of the franchise to Wade, who could serve as a minority stakeholder after he retires as a player. As with LeBron though, that’s likely a discussion to be had down the road.

LeBron, Giannis Draft 2019 All-Star Teams

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo drafted their teams for the 2019 All-Star Game on Thursday, officially finalizing the rosters for this year’s contest. James and Antetokounmpo were chosen as captains because they were the All-Star starter from each conference with the most fan votes.

Both James and Antetokounmpo first had to select from a pool of starters, then from a list of reserve players. The starters, which consisted of eight other players, were voted on by the fans, players and media this season. The reserve players were voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches.

James drafted Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden as starters, choosing Durant as his first selection. His reserves were Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Bradley Beal and Dwyane Wade.

Antetokounmpo drafted Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George and Kemba Walker as his starters, selecting Curry with his first pick. He drafted Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin, D’Angelo Russell, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry and Dirk Nowitzki as his reserves.

James later traded Westbrook to Team Giannis in exchange for Simmons, making an effort to repair the relationship of Westbrook and Embiid.

The 68th NBA All-Star Game is set to commence on February 17 at Spectrum Center, featuring 26 of the best basketball players in the world.

Nowitzki, Wade Added To All-Star Game

A pair of NBA veterans will make one last All-Star appearance before retirement, as the league announced today that Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade will be “special team roster additions” for the February 17 game.

“Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade embody the best of the NBA: remarkable skill, drive and professionalism as well as a deep devotion to strengthening their communities and growing the game around the world,” said NBA commisioner Adam Silver. “As a global celebration of basketball, our All-Star Game is an ideal setting to salute these first-class NBA champions and Finals MVPs.”

Nowitzki and Wade won’t be part of the regular draft when LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo choose up sides on February 7. They will be selected in a third round that allows each team to add a 13th player. The remaining eight starters as chosen by the fans will be taken in the first round, with the reserves going in the second round.

This will be the 14th All-Star appearance for Nowitzki, who is in his 21st NBA season, all with the Mavericks. He is the seventh-leading scorer in league history with 31,275 points, has made 12 All-NBA teams and has won both an MVP and Finals MVP award. He hasn’t announced his retirement plans, but there is speculation that this will be his final season.

Wade, who is conducting his “Last Dance” tour around the league, will be headed to the game for the 13th time. He was named All-Star MVP in 2010 and put together a triple-double in 2012. He has won three NBA titles and an Olympic gold medal and was named MVP of the 2006 Finals.

Wade was an eight-time selection to the All-NBA team and made three appearances on the All-Defensive Team. He is the Heat’s career leader in points, assists, steals, field goals made, free throws made and games played.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Spoelstra, Wade, McGruder

Hassan Whiteside has impacted the Heat in a much more positive way this season, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, who shares perspectives from some of Whiteside’s teammates and other figures around the franchise.

Whiteside, who missed part of last season due to injury, was unhappy with his playing time after his minutes dropped from 32.6 per game to 25.3. The Heat handled the matter internally at the time, working with him to become a better teammate and approach games with a team-first mentality.

“I think I’m just in a better place than what I was last year,” Whiteside said, according to Jackson. “Going through all the injuries and stuff, I was real frustrated with myself too, not being able to be there with my teammates, not being able to contribute like I wanted to. There was a lot of frustration with myself also, with the injuries. I’m just happy we’re winning. All the other stuff will come.”

Whiteside has averaged 12.5 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 25.8 minutes per game this season with Miami. His overall mindset and willingness to trust coach Erik Spoelstra has helped improved their relationship as a result.

“Spo’s my guy,” Whiteside said. “We overcommunicate. We got an understanding. He wants to win. I want to win. We’re definitely in a better place.”

Spoelstra, who’s coached Whiteside for each of the past five seasons, is impressed with his growth and maturity. Whiteside has put forth a ton of work in recent months, including improving his quality of screens to help his team.

“Every year, he’s becoming a better basketball player and learning how to become an ultimate winner. And he’s enjoying it more,” Spoelstra said. “That’s the whole thing that’s tough for players to really grasp. The more you breathe life into somebody else and enjoy somebody else’s success, whatever it is that you are searching for yourself, you usually end up getting because of that giving mentality.”

There’s more out of Miami today:

  • Erik Spoelstra will tie Pat Riley‘s franchise record by coaching his 849th regular-season game with the Heat on Monday, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel tweets. Spoelstra, who’s in his 11th season as head coach, can pass Riley’s record on Wednesday against the Clippers.
  • Dwyane Wade played his final game in Chicago on Saturday, tallying 14 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in nearly 27 minutes. “I have more of a connection here than anywhere else,” Wade said postgame, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports. “It’s my birth city. It’s the place where my vision to become an NBA player started, watching my favorite team and watching my favorite players growing up. It definitely felt different than any other city but it was a good different. It was a joyous time for me to be here.”
  • Rodney McGruder has earned a higher ground for restricted free agency this summer, Winderman details for the Sun Sentinel. McGruder, 27, met the criteria of starting half of the season (41 games) last week, raising his $1.9 million qualifying offer to $3MM. The CBA also states that the “starter criteria” could include playing 2,000 or more minutes, according to Winderman, with McGruder logging 1,185 minutes just over the halfway point of the season.

Heat Notes: Bosh, Wade, Trade Candidates, Butler

Chris Bosh hasn’t officially announced his retirement, but Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes that he appears to be settling into life after basketball, which includes a connection to the Heat. In addition to being at courtside for the team’s past three home games, Bosh is doing some behind-the-scenes work, offering advice to team president Pat Riley and talking to players in the locker room.

It’s a significant step considering the terms under which Bosh left the organization. He had hoped to resume his playing career after being diagnosed with blood clots, but couldn’t get medical clearance from the team. He failed a physical prior to the 2016/17 season and was waived after that season ended. The Heat are paying him $26.8MM this year, although that figure doesn’t count against their salary cap.

“Chris was going through a lot,” Dwyane Wade said. “He was somebody who was one of the best players in the world, and he had a diagnosis that comes that no one is familiar with, really. It’s just a tough situation. You got a player who was 32 at the time, something like that, and the way the game is going, can play for a long time. It’s just unfortunate. So yeah, of course it’s going to take a lot of hardship to get out of that situation and get to where everybody is now. But the bigger picture, he needs to and should be a part of this organization. I’m glad to see him around.”
There’s more news from Miami:
  • The first returns in the All-Star voting show how much love there is around the league for Wade, notes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Despite being in a reserve role in his final NBA season, Wade ranked second among Eastern Conference guards with more than 409K votes. “I just appreciate and am humbled by people taking the time out to want to see my old self in an All-Star Game, so it’s cool,” Wade said. “… I know a lot of people are saying, ‘We need to take the fans votes away,’ but they’re the ones who want to see who they want to see.”
  • The Heat will have 13 players worthy of being in the rotation once Goran Dragic returns from injury and could look at the trade deadline as a chance to thin out their roster, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Wayne Ellington has already fallen far out of the rotation and more players could join him with Dragic’s projected return around the All-Star break. Winderman sees James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk as trade candidates, with Ellington included as a throw-in.
  • The latest controversy over Jimmy Butler in Philadelphia doesn’t mean things would have worked out the same way if he had been traded to Miami, Winderman states in a question-and-answer column. He notes that Butler would have been the unquestioned top star with the Heat and the focus of the offense.

Community Shootaround: Heat Roster Logjam

As we relayed earlier today, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is “sick” to his stomach about his inability to find minutes for veteran sharpshooter Wayne Ellington. And now that fellow guard and teammate Dion Waiters is set to return from his ankle injury, don’t expect playing time decisions to get any easier for Spoelstra.

Not counting Waiters or up-and-coming youngster Derrick Jones, the Heat already have 11 players on standard NBA contracts who log 20.5 minutes per game or more, the most of anyone in the league. And of those 12 players, seven are swingmen who play primarily on the wing (Josh RichardsonRodney McGruder, Justise Winslow, Dwyane Wade, Tyler Johnson, Ellington, and Waiters).

In tonight’s blowout win against the Cavs, Wade logged a DNP-Illness, with the remainder of the minutes on the wing going to Richardson (32), Jones (31), Winslow (27), Johnson (26), McGruder (21), and Waiters (11).

With Wade back in the mix soon and Waiters presumably playing his way into more minutes, the question becomes whether the Heat will move on from some of the aforementioned players, such as Waiters or Ellington, or keep the roster logjam as currently constructed as insurance in the event of another injury.

That brings us to our question of the day: Do you think the Heat should try to move on from some of their wings or keep them all around for the rest of the 2018/19 season? If they alter their roster, who is the most likely wing to be moved? Ellington? Waiters? Somebody else?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in. We look forward to your input.

Dwayne Wade “Knew” LeBron’s Goal Was L.A.

When Dwyane Wade​ signed with the Cavaliers before the beginning to the 2017/18 season, he wasn’t expecting his eventual trade back to the Heat. But, he also didn’t think he’d spend any more than one season in Cleveland, primarily because he didn’t think his best friend LeBron James would be in Cleveland for the 2018/19 season either, reports Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“LeBron,​​ first of all, he’s a guy who always plays his cards close to the vest, but I knew his ultimate goal was to be in Los Angeles,” Wade told Vardon. “He recruited me and he talked to me about signing there (Cleveland), and I said, ‘Listen, I know you might not be there long, you’re gonna be a free agent and there are some things that might happen, and we’ll have a conversation.’ I just thought I’d make it through the season first.”

Per Vardon, part of the reason why Wade knew LeBron was going to leave for the Lakers was because of his own free agency-related history with James, who left Miami for Cleveland in 2014 without telling Wade after Wade had already opted out of his own contract with the Heat. Wade ultimately came to the conclusion that LeBron would leave for L.A. the day after Wade was traded to Miami last season.

“It wasn’t like he came out said ‘Oh, you’re traded, I’m going to the Lakers,’ but like I said I knew where his heart was and what he was thinking big picture.”

Heat Notes: Wade, Waiters, Whiteside, Winslow

Dwyane Wade has re-emerged as a vital late-game scorer for Miami, but he won’t mind sharing that role when Dion Waiters returns from ankle surgery, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Waiters returned to practice this week for the first time since his January operation, and the Heat are hoping he can make his season debut soon.

“It’ll definitely be times,” Wade said of sharing the ball with Waiters. “I mean, he’s a big-shot maker and a big-shot taker. I’m not worried about him at all at those moments. But there will be times. It’s just me understanding I’m at a different phase in my life, where it doesn’t matter.”

Wade, who holds nearly all the franchise scoring records, has made a greater effort in his final season to get his younger teammates involved in the offense, encouraging them to take shots in clutch situations.

“It’s understanding that I want other guys to be in those positions,” he added. “And I want them to succeed, obviously, but you grow in failure, as well, in those moments. So I don’t do what I used to do, which was always go get it in those moments. I don’t.”

There’s more today out of Miami:

  • The Heat are being cautious with Waiters to make sure he’s fully ready before he starts playing again, Winderman states in a question-and-answer column. The organization has seen Waiters return too early from other injuries twice before and they want to make sure he’s available for the second half of the season. They are hoping to gradually increase his minutes until he is ready to take on a sizable portion of the scoring load.
  • In the same piece, Winderman credits coach Erik Spoelstra for working center Hassan Whiteside back into the fourth-quarter mix even though the Heat were successful without him. Whiteside is seeing more time in late-game situations, although his free throw shooting remains an issue.
  • Justise Winslow had taken over point guard duties with Goran Dragic injured, but that change hasn’t been noted on All-Star ballots, where Winslow is still listed as a forward, Winderman observes in a separate story. Other Miami players out of position on the ballots are Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder.

LeBron Never Considered Joining Knicks

There was plenty of drama as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade faced each other for the final time last night, but James’ postgame comments led to speculation that his summer decision came down to the Lakers and Knicks.

As the longtime friends hugged after the game, Wade said “I appreciate you for letting it end here,” meaning at the Staples Center, and James responded, “It was either here or at (Madison Square) Garden, that’s it.”

Although many are taking that as an indication that James was considering signing with New York, multiple sources close to him tell Joe Vardon of The Athletic that isn’t true. The statement referred to the magnitude of their final game and how LeBron felt it deserved a special setting.

Vardon adds that apart from the Lakers, James gave serious consideration to staying with the Cavaliers or going to the Sixers, who were the only other team he met with before signing in L.A.

Although James heading to New York would have shaken up the NBA landscape just as much as joining the Lakers, the Knicks didn’t have the cap room available to offer anything close to a max contract. The team’s only significant free agent additions of the offseason were Mario Hezonja, who received a one-year, $6.5MM contract that came out of the Knicks’ mid-level exception, and Noah Vonleh, who got a partially guaranteed one-year deal.

On top of that, tweets ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, James wouldn’t have considered New York because of how the front office, especially former team president Phil Jackson, treated his friend, Carmelo Anthony in his final seasons with the team.