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Dolphins players speak out on Philbin; details on Wake's deal; Heat-Knicks buzz

Wednesday afternoon update:

Here's the breakdown on Cam Wake's new deal: He got a $7 million signing bonus, which will be prorated over the five years, which means his cap number will be $2.2 million this season.

He did not get a raise in base salary this season and will make $615,000 in 2012. He will earn $3.56 million in 2013, $5.82 million in 2014, $8.2 million in 2015, and $8.275 million in 2016, according to NFL Players Association records. His base salaries are only guaranteed in 2013 and 2014. So if the Dolphins don't pick up a $3 million roster bonus in March 2015, he would become a free agent and his deal would have ended up being a three-year deal. The deal also has several million available in incentives.

Former Indiana offensive tackle Andrew McDonald, who auditioned for the Dolphins last weekend after going undrafted, told his school newspaper that Miami plans to sign him.


Mostly Dolphins and Heat chatter today:

### Dolphins coach Joe Philbin has made a favorable initial impression on his players, and what stands out so far, Karlos Dansby said, “is his ability to get guys’ respect, which is a big thing. And his ability to have guys on point. His attention to detail is very keen and on point.

“If you treat people right, people are going to treat you right. He’s been doing a great job of that… Everything is different [from the previous regime]. He’s totally different, his approach to the game, his philosophy. It’s a good thing.”

Marlon Moore, among other players at a team charity event Monday, said Tony Sparano “was hard nosed,” and one difference is “Coach Philbin wants us to police ourselves. He doesn’t yell. Haven’t heard him yell once…. If the coach is calm, players are calm.”

(Quick aside: Ex-Dolphin Kory Sheets once said that Sparano mostly either yells or whispers. Philbin converses in a normal speaking voice. Though many players liked Sparano, some thought he was too negative and some grew tired of the screaming.)

Philbin “is always positive,” Nate Garner said. “It’s all positive motivation.”

Davone Bess likes that Philbin is “laid back but demands a lot from the players. He’s cool. Good sense of humor, very intelligent. The guys respect him and he respects us. Everything is real structured, very detail oriented. Offensively, we focus a lot more time on the details of routes we’re running.”

### Bess said the “best thing” about Philbin’s and coordinator Mike Sherman’s offense – which will be up-tempo a lot, no-huddle at times – is “everybody is interchangeable. The outside guys can play inside, inside can play outside. That’s what is going to make this offense more attacking. It’s a lot of open space, getting the ball out quickly and letting the players do what they do.”

### Though he’s ideal as a nose tackle in a 3-4, Paul Soliai said he feels comfortable in Miami’s new 4-3 base defense, noting he played in such an alignment at Utah. This defense, Dansby said, has “more unpredictability. I’m champing at the bit because I know it’s going to be totally different.”

### According to sources, the Dolphins discussed, but did not pursue, former Texans free agent receiver Jacoby Jones, who agreed to a two-year $7 million deal with Baltimore on Tuesday. They have shown no interest in the most prominent available receivers, such as Braylon Edwards and Roy Williams. The Dolphins like their receiver group but will consider adding one if the right veteran becomes available (Donald Driver might be that if Green Bay cuts him) or if the young receivers aren’t impressive in offseason practices.

### At right guard, the Dolphins haven't ruled out available veterans such as Jake Scott and Kyle Kosier, but they want to see how John Jerry develops. Garner and Artis Hicks can also play there. Hicks was signed as a tackle, but could be used at guard because of the addition of tackle Jonathan Martin in the draft. Last year's starter, Vernon Carey, remains unsigned, by the way.

### Jeff Ireland doesn't have a strong sense yet who will emerge as starting safeties among Reshad Jones (slight favorite for one job) and Tyrell Johnson, Chris Clemons, Jimmy Wilson and Tyrone Culver. Ireland, incidentally, as especially impressed how undrafted Arkansas State safety Kelcie McCray (10 career interceptions) played at last weekend’s minicamp. More than a dozen teams tried to sign McCray, whom Pro Football Weekly calls "smart and dependable" with "good speed and tackling ability."

### The reason LeBron James should have been involved in the Heat’s last play Sunday, as Charles Barkley explained it, is “James makes people better. What separates James is he can get [guys] shots – James Jones, Udonis Haslem…. Dwyane Wade is just a scorer. It should be LeBron taking those shots. The guy's the best basketball player in the world. He had just made a three and a great three-point play. LeBron finished a lot in Cleveland.”

Even a Heat official said privately it would have made sense to involve James more in the play and get him accustomed to being an active participant in those situations again, as he was a lot previously but much less so this year.

### Though James would “love” to have the ball in that spot, he has too much respect and appreciation for Wade to make an issue of it. And he’s respectful of Erik Spoelstra’s decisions. After practice Tuesday, James shouted a few times, “Spo: Not one Coach of the Year vote! That’s crazy!”

Spoelstra smiled sheepishly and kept talking to reporters. Fifteen coaches in the league got at least one first, second or third-place vote for the award, which was won by San Antonio's Gregg Popovich. Spoelstra wasn't among them.

“Great coach, has us prepared every night,” James said during a quieter moment Tuesday.

### Because Spoelstra has been using a smaller lineup more, Haslem is averaging fewer minutes as a starter in this series (17.8) than he did much of the season as a reserve (23-plus). Haslem has just 12 points (but 25 rebounds) in four games, but the biggest mystery of his season remains this: Why did his accuracy on jumpers plummet? On 10-to-15 footers, he shot 26 percent this year after hitting anywhere from 37 to 54 percent every previous season.

### What’s worrisome about the Heat’s reserve scorers is their shooting slump isn’t merely recent. Going back several weeks for each, Mike Miller has shot 35.8 percent (on his past 109 shots), Shane Battier 37 (on his past 119) and Jones 29.5 (on his past 61). Miller and Battier are in the low 30s in this series; Jones has logged 20 minutes total. Wade made it clear Tuesday “we need our shooters and bench to play well.” The Heat can survive poor bench shooting in this round, but it's highly questionable they could against the Spurs, Thunder or Lakers in The Finals.

Bosh suggested that "if we're lucky enough... to make the Finals," the Heat probably would not survive being outrebounded in every game (as Miami has in this series; by 11 total).

### For the first time ever, a first-round Heat playoff game (Game 4) drew a comparable local TV rating (17.4) to an average regular season Dolphins game (17.7 in 2011) – much higher than the 12s for Heat-Sixers last year. And whereas top courtside seats sold for less than $6000 in last year’s first round, one sold to a rapper for $12,500 for Game 5.

### Beyond his drop in velocity, another issue with Josh Johnson is he's getting too many balls up in the zone and "trying to be perfect," Ozzie Guillen said. Opponents are hitting .359 against him - worst among all MLB starting pitchers... Guillen said Heath Bell is very "embarrassed" by how he has pitched and his "location is terrible." But Guillen will let him pitch in the ninth when the Marlins hold a comfortable lead to try to rebuild his confidence; Steve Cishek will close otherwise.

Quick note to readers: For a lot more Heat-Knicks news from Tuesday evening - including Spoelstra defending his late game decisions, Jeremy Lin news, and some eye-opening LeBron/Battier numbers vs. Carmelo Anthony - see our last post, listed on the left side... For our transcript of Jeff Ireland's interview on Sirius XM Radio today, see our post before that.