Erik Spoelstra

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Vucevic, Ilyasova

The Heat have been aggressive on the trade market, but don’t expect them to deal Hassan Whiteside without a significant haul coming back in return, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. The franchise knows all too well how much of a role the 28-year-old has played in the team’s emergence as a defensive force.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra has reined in his inconsistent big man’s minutes this year, a luxury he can afford with other options like Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo on the roster.

Despite the decreased workload, Whiteside is as efficient as ever, posting 14.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in just 25.8 minutes of action. Those are per-36 rates of 20.0 and 16.4, respectively, up from 18.8 and 15.6 per-36 in 2016/17.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Heat Notes: Bosh, Spoelstra, Winslow

The Heat experienced some déjà vu during their game against the Nets in Mexico City on Saturday as former champion Chris Bosh was in attendance for the team’s 101-89 victory. It was a welcome sight for many of Bosh’s former teammates and coaches, including Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel writes.

“We’ve been in touch. He looks good,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “His family, his kids are doing well. I love CB. He’s Heat family for life but man it’s strange. You see him and it’s like you go back to 2012 just like that. You realize how fast times goes by in this league.”

Bosh has not played in nearly two seasons after his issue with blood clots was ruled career-ending following a medical review by the NBA and the players’ union earlier this year. Bosh reached a unique agreement with the Heat in July where his salary would longer count against the team’s salary cap after he was waived.

We noted last month that Bosh was “keeping his options open” regarding his future as an active player. However, given his medical complications, it remains a longshot that an NBA team will give him a chance to resume his career.

Check out other Heat news below:

  • Also from the Sun Sentinel’s Shandel Richardson, Heat forward Justise Winslow has taken a demotion to the bench in stride and is finding success in that role. “I didn’t really take it as a bad thing or a good thing,” Winslow said. “For me, I just see it as an opportunity to be even more of a playmaker with that second group especially with the great spot up shooters we have in Wayne [Ellington] and Tyler [Johnson].”
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes that Erik Spoelstra thrives under stability with the Heat, something David Fizdale and other recently dismissed coaches have not been afforded. Spoelstra has been the head coach in Miami through the era of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh, and in recent years during a rebuilding stage. He feels that teams will need patience to compete and that stability with coaches is critical.

Texas Notes: Nowitzki, Gay, D’Antoni

Fans are paying an average of $1,300 per ticket for the Mavericks‘ season finale in hopes of seeing Dirk Nowitzki‘s final game, but Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News warns that Nowitzki’s retirement isn’t a sure thing. The German star hasn’t made a decision about playing beyond this season and says health may be the main factor. A right Achilles problem early last season limited Nowitzki to 54 games and doomed the Mavericks to a 3-17 start.

“If I miss another 30 to 40 games in a row, then obviously, it’s not meant to be,” said Nowitzki, who is preparing for his 20th NBA season. “But if I can stay sort of healthy like I did at the end of the season, when I thought I moved OK and had some good games, then maybe we’ll do two more [seasons]. But we’ll see how it goes.”

There’s more news tonight out of Texas:

  • Assuming he spends the entire year in Dallas, Nowitzki will join Kobe Bryant as the only players with 20 years of service to the same organization. During an appearance this week on Sirius XM radio, Nowitzki lamented the league’s move away from franchise cornerstones (h/t to Michael Singer of USA Today). “The new NBA is a little different,” he said. “It’s about making money, it’s about winning and not as much about being loyal anymore.” Nowitzki displayed his loyalty this summer by re-signing for $10MM over two years after opting out of a $25MM salary.
  • Rudy Gay hasn’t played a game yet for San Antonio, but he already calls himself “a Spur for life,” relays Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Gay agreed to a two-year, $17MM contract this summer that contains an $8.8MM player option for next season, but he sounds fully committed to San Antonio. “I think it was a do-or-die point in my career,” said Gay, who is coming off an Achilles injury that ended his season in January. “I wanted to be with an organization that was known for winning and can help me raise my game to the next level.”
  • Rockets mentor Mike D’Antoni accepted his Coach of the Year award Friday from the National Basketball Coaches Association, writes Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. D’Antoni was a co-winner along with Miami’s Erik Spoelstra after guiding Houston to a 55-27 record and the third seed in the Western Conference. “The tie was legitimate and there were five or six others who received significant votes,” said NBCA president Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks. “So it really spoke to the quality job that everybody did from top to bottom.”

D’Antoni Captures Coach Of The Year Award

Mike D’Antoni was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year, which was announced on the TNT awards show Monday night.

D’Antoni led the Rockets to the third-best record in the Western Conference at 55-27 in his first year with the club. The Rockets finished 41-41 in 2015/16. He also won the award in 2005 when he patrolled the sidelines for the Suns.

The Spurs’ Gregg Popovich and Heat’s Erik Spoelstra were the other finalists. The Hoops Rumors staff gave two of the five votes to D’Antoni.

NBA Reveals Award Finalists

The NBA is in the process of revealing its finalists for each of the major year-end awards on TNT, the winners of which will be announced at the official award show on June 26.

Below is an ongoing list that we’ll update as the NBA on TNT crew reveals more.

Most Improved Player of the Year
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Rudy Gobert
Nikola Jokic

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP


Sixth Man of the Year
Eric Gordon
Andre Iguodala
Lou Williams

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man


Rookie of the Year
Malcolm Brogdon
Joel Embiid
Dario Saric

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY


Coach of the Year
Mike D’Antoni
Gregg Popovich
Erik Spoelstra

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COTY


Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert
Draymond Green
Kawhi Leonard

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY


Most Valuable Player of the Year
James Harden
Kawhi Leonard
Russell Westbrook

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP

D’Antoni, Spoelstra Share New Coaching Award

Houston’s Mike D’Antoni and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra have been announced as co-recipients of the NBA Coaches Association’s first Coach of the Year Award, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The award is determined by a vote of NBA coaches and is named for Michael H. Goldberg, the longtime director of the organization.

D’Antoni led the Rockets to a 55-27 record and the third seed in the West in his first year in Houston. He turned James Harden into a point guard and unleashed a powerful offense that set a record for most 3-pointers made in a season.

Spoelstra rallied the Heat after a terrible start and led them to a 41-41 record, just missing a playoff berth on a tie-breaker. He was able to reconfigure the lineup in Miami after the loss of Dwyane Wade to free agency and Chris Bosh to a blood clot condition.

The media’s choice for Coach of the Year will be announced at the NBA’s awards show on June 26th.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Plumlee, Hawks

Despite seemingly messy breakups with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and missing the playoffs this season, the Heat are not concerned with difficulties of luring free agents to South Beach, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes.  As Jackson notes, Bosh and the Heat seem to be on good terms despite the controversial circumstances surrounding the former All-Star’s battles with blood clots, which prompted to Heat to not play him this season. Also, an associate of Wade tells Jackson the Miami legend is open to playing for the team again in the future.

However, the team’s ultimate calling card may be its coach, Erik Spoelstra. In addition to coaching the Heat to two NBA titles during his tenure, Spoelstra has created a culture that allows players to thrive. Heat forward James Johnson explained to Jackson that “consistency” is the coach’s strength.

“When I say consistency, I [mean] it’s doing the same thing, not giving you the same minutes every game, but consistently getting on you enough, praising you a little bit, holding me to my word,” Johnson said. “When you get a consistent coach you look up to like coach Spo, it makes things easier.”

Miami’s culture includes rigorous training, which Jackson says will deter certain veteran players who do not want to add mileage to their bodies. As Spoelstra has said, the Heat are “not for everybody.”

Here is more news from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets announced earlier this week that center Miles Plumlee underwent successful arthroscopic debridement on his right knee. The expected recovery for the 28-year-old center is six to eight weeks, so he should be good to go this fall. Plumlee was sent to Charlotte as part of a February deal that included Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert going to the Bucks. In 13 games with the Hornets, Plumlee posted totals of 2.4 PPG and 3.2 RPG.
  • Former Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox was seemingly let go by Atlanta earlier this week, but will remain with the team in a different capacity. However, before that move was announced, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Wilcox had been “in contact with other NBA teams and at least one college about other positions.”
  • Meanwhile, Mike Budenholzer will not retain his title as the Hawks’ president of basketball operations and will instead report — along with Wilcox — to whomever the Hawks hire to oversee basketball operations, per Vivlamore.

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Heat, Millsap

Whenever the time comes that Heat president Pat Riley decides to step down, head coach Erik Spoelstra will be eager to fill the position. Spoelstra recently spoke with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on his podcast.

The short answer would be, I’m a Pat Riley disciple. He’s always pushed me and nurtured me for the next step,” he said, adding that through both good and bad, the Heat feel like a family. The coach tempered expectations that anything imminent could happen, however.

But, yeah, Pat’s going to go on hopefully for a while though. I think he’s younger now than when he was coaching. […] I want this to be the set up that it is. I feel involved, I’m in every meeting that deals with the [Heat] organization and personnel.

Spoelstra has served as the head coach of the Heat since 2008 and was an assistant coach for ten years before that.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Though they may have ultimately lost, Dennis Schroder‘s performance in the first round of the postseason shows just what the Hawks see in him, writes Michael Lee of The Vertical. “Dennis’ competitive spirit and his competitive nature, I think we’re always going to bet on that first,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
  • With their cap space set to shrink in 2018/19, this is the last chance for the Heat to land a major free agent, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post writes. Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap could be possible options.
  • Although it appears they’ll offer Cavaliers general manager David Griffin their president of basketball operations position, John Hammond and David Morway are also on the Magic‘s short-list, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • It’s reasonable to expect Paul Millsap to opt out of his contract this summer but the Hawks forward hasn’t made any decisions about where he’ll go just yet, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.
  • The Wizards won’t need a seventh game to close out the Hawks but even if they did, center Ian Mahinmi wouldn’t have played in it, J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. The big man had said that he hoped he would be able to recover from a strained calf in time to play in the first round.

Heat Notes: Spoelstra, Johnson, Winslow

Heat players recently cleaned out their lockers, having failed to make the playoffs, and many of them will have an opportunity to go elsewhere this summer. James Johnson, Udonis Haslem, and Luke Babbitt will be free agents. Willie Reed, Josh McRoberts, and Dion Waiters all hold player options and Wayne Ellington could join the free agent market if the franchise declines his $6.27MM team option.

Coach Erik Spoelstra wants his players to feel comfortable returning to Miami, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. “This is clean-up day, not clean-out day,” the coach said.

Spoelstra added that his goal is to move forward with the team’s current group and compete for a championship. “Our organization is not going to change. We’re hard-wired to play and compete for championships,” he said. “Hopefully this is dot-dot-dot continued and we can build on this.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat are thrilled with Hassan Whiteside‘s growth this season, as Winderman relays in the same piece. “I think his growth has been staggering,” Spoelstra said of the big man. “You can define it how you want. He can become one of the greats.” Whiteside signed a four-year, $98.4MM contract with Miami last offseason.
  • Johnson may consider taking a discount to stay with the Heat if it means keeping this year’s group together, Winderman passes along (Twitter links). “I’m home. That’s what it feels like. I love it here,” Johnson said of Miami.
  • Justise Winslow is recovering from shoulder surgery and is “way ahead of schedule,” according to Spoelstra, as Winderman relays via Twitter.
  • Prior to the injury, the Heat strongly believed Winslow would become a quality starter due to the work he put in last summer to improve his shooting, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Winslow admits that being sidelined hindered his ability to get comfortable with his new shooting mechanics, but added that he’ll continue to work on that part of his game.
  • Spoelstra feels Winslow would have helped Miami this season because of his efficient play, as Jackson passes along in the same piece. “He can generate threes for you offensively because he puts a lot of pressure in the paint, off the dribble, in transition. He’s an aggressive, bruising, physical type of player and he sees the floor. That helps create your three-point game,” the coach said.
  • In his latest mailbag, Winderman explains why it’ll be hard for the Heat to add a major free agent, such as Paul Millsap, and bring back the core of this year’s squad. The team can feasibly carve out approximately $37MM in cap space this summer and that may not be enough for Miami to add a max player in addition to own free agents.

Dion Waiters “Making Progress,” Still Without Timetable

According to a report from the Sun Sentinel today, Dion Waiters is making progress in his recovery from an ankle injury. Coach Erik Spoelstra indicated to reporters that Waiters no longer requires a walking boot.

“Nothing new, but he is making progress,” Spoelstra said. “He’s starting to do some conditioning. He’s out of his boot, so that’s good.”

Following Sunday’s match-up with the Nuggets, Waiters will have missed eight consecutive games due to injury. Waiters’ career renaissance has been a driving factor of Miami’s success, as the former Syracuse star averaged 21.5 points over a 10-game stretch in January.

The Heat are currently tied for the eighth seed with Indiana, as the Pacers have dropped seven of their last 10. In a recent report from Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post, Spoelstra noted “The swelling has come down considerably. He’s still going through the process of more mobility and movement.”

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