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Report: Ray-Ray suspended; Riley addresses draft, free agency and Heat's future in late-night press conference

Friday afternoon update: UM is declining to comment on an InsideTheU.com report that safety Ray-Ray Armstrong has been suspended indefinitely for discussing interaction with a booster on Twitter. UM often comments when a report is inaccurate. Armstrong's father said he doesn't know anything about his son being in trouble.

Also, Chris Bosh has pulled out of the Olympics to rest his abdominal injury. Please see my story on the home page and sports home page.

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Heat president Pat Riley held his season-closing news conference after midnight Thursday night. Some of the highlights:

### Riley said the Heat traded the 27th pick in Thursday's draft to Philadelphia for the 45th pick and a future first-rounder in order to acquire a first-rounder that “could be 10 or 11 picks better than this year.” The Heat used the 45th pick on LSU 7-0 center/power forward Justin Hamilton.

The first-rounder from the 76ers is lottery protected through 2015. But if Philadelphia makes the playoffs again next year, the Heat would get the 76ers’ first-rounder in 2013. The Heat does not have its own first-round pick next year; Cleveland gets it as part of the LeBron James sign-and-trade.

“The trade had nothing to do with the luxury tax,” Riley said. “We wanted to defer our asset to next year. The players we had on the board were not there at the time [at 27], and we felt we had a great option with Philly to get a lottery-protected first next year. So we’ll have back to back first-round picks and all our second-round picks.  Roster spots are very valuable. We wanted someone who can fill a roster spot. We weren’t sure somebody” picked 27th would make the team.

### Riley compared Hamilton to former Heat center Michael Doleac but said there’s a possibility he will play overseas. He reportedly has been working on a Croatian passport.

Hamilton is “a big body 7-footer that can go into the pipeline with our other bigs and keep developing them. There’s a possibility [of going overseas]. You want that flexibility with a second-round pick. He has quick feet, big, takes up a lot of space. Not an above the rim player. Has a nice touch from 15 feet. Smart player, played in a good program. We had him in for workouts and he had a great workout.”

### Riley said a decision has not been made on whether Mike Miller will have back surgery and won’t be for at least a couple weeks. “He has been examined. There hasn’t been any real prognosis. We are going to treat it and rehab it before the doctor makes a final decision. Mike is going to go through a summer of real rehabilitation.”

### The deadline to amnesty players is July 19 but “we’re not looking at amnestying anybody,” Riley said. “If Mike Miller could guarantee me a seventh game in the Finals, I would let him sit out all year.”

### On free agency, which starts Sunday: “We have five or six guys earmarked. We go into free agency with an open mind. We’re encouraged we can talk to some players that may be interested in taking a little bit less. There’s a lot of room out there but not many teams that have a chance of winning a title. It depends on the name, whether it’s a big or a shooter or a versatile three-point shooter/defender that’s long. Whatever the name is, and the experience and the talent level, will determine [what we do].

“If we can add a shooter, that would help us. If we can add a real big, we might try to go in that direction. If there’s a three-point shooter who is long and can defend, we might go in that direction. We want to find as much space on the floor with Chris and Dwyane and LeBron to operate.”

### Riley said the Heat will guarantee Dexter Pittman’s contract by Friday’s deadline. “Big guys, when you draft them late – it’s a two or three year project. He’s going into his third year. We expect improvement.”

### Asked about interest in re-signing Eddy Curry, Riley said: “Everyone is open to the possibility” of keeping him. “He’s motivated. It’s a shame he didn’t get a chance.”

 ### On Dwyane Wade’s decision to have knee surgery and miss the Olympics: “It is in his best interests. We had a conversation about that. It’s a big year for Dwyane. We want to make sure what’s ailing him will be corrected this summer. He’s got to re-center everything. There isn’t anyone that’s played the game like him for nine years that hasn’t had issues.”

### Though the luxury tax becomes more punitive in 2013-14, “If you give [owner Micky Arison] the right name and that right name can lead the team to the promised land, in the past he has always said yes.”

### RIley said, "I’m confident this team is ready to compete at a very high level every year. I felt great about the team last year. I felt great about the team this year. We’ve got a compelling team and it excites me to try to make it better. As long as you can improve this team, that’s what it’s about. The championship felt great. Everybody celebrated to the limits. I’m over it. We’re over it. Coach Spo is going to be over it. We’ve already talked about getting ready. It’s a short two months.”

### Riley said he hasn’t spoken to Bosh about whether he will play in the Olympics, but “Chris is still nursing an injury. He had a significant abdominal injury. If we weren’t in the playoffs against Boston, he probably would not have played for another three or four weeks. Chris has represented his country already. That’s up to him.” (Friday 12:45 p.m. UPDATE: Bosh has pulled out of the Olympics. See my story on the sports home page.)

 

Note: Please see our last post for this week's media column, including what Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and others say the Heat must do to win multiple championships.  

Comments

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TInSouthMiami

Pretty easy for Arison to say yes when he doesnt pay rent

Magic Marc

Wow Pat Riley stockpiling picks! The man is a on another level. In 2 years we'll have 2 first round picks which could lead to trading up to a an even higher pick. We could be adding a high calubur draft pick to this team next year.

Magic Marc

Ahh d*** we didn't have a first round pick next year.. O well at least it will be better than the one we would have gotten since we're gonna repeat.

Mike

Pat Riley is the Bill Belichick of the NBA. Thank God he's on our side. Go Heat!!

David

You all are drinking the Kool Aid, First, happy we won the Championship, but Riley does not draft well, he does not play rookies, and he builds through free agency, so if you heard him describe the draft pick as a asset, which he will use to trade for a establish veteran. By doing all these sign and trades deals for LeBron and Bosh put us in a hole with draft picks until 2016. But as long as Riley is the GM, who cares? He will not develop this team thru the draft, and it has worked, so I am not knocking it, but don't believe for one instance that there was no one available for us to pick at 27. Another example is Marcus Thorton, who we drafted and then traded away, he is having a nice career.

Dashi

Great post.

So, this will be Pitt's break or make year. We are going to be looking into bigs or guys that are about 6'8+ and can shoot the ball, Maybe KG and G.Hill or some Guy. U have to love that riley is not satisfied.

Mike will be back. Curry might be back? U know Turiaf wants to be back.

The Media might say we don't have a bench. I believe our bench just needed time and maybe 2 more vets to be complete. Shane, Milk, UD, and Cole give us a pretty good 2nd unit already.

David

We also have only 3 players that were drafted by the Heat on this team. Dwayne Wade, Chalmers, and Norris Cole. I hope they give the 6ft9 power forward Javaris ...a chance to make the team, he was our 2nd rd pick 2 years ago, a Shot blocker with a 7ft4 Wingspan. He block shots and rebounds. He played for Italy and Israel the last two years. I know he is on the heat summer team, but give him a chance, and get rid of the dead weight at the end of our roster. Curry, Howard-I love u, but it is time to retire. Pittman & Harris the jury is still out there on them.

David

Then we have 3 maybe players, Mike Miller had a great game 7, but he is injury prone, and for two years has not been able to stay on the floor. Unlike Riley opinion I don't want him for one game, because other teams are getting better. Then there is Joel Anthony, who did not even play in the championship series, and has a big contract, and is not a good rebounder or a shot blocker, or a defender, so why is he still with us? I would use the amnesty clause on either Miller or Anthony. Lastly, James Jones, ??? A,3point specialist who does not make 3 point shots. We need to get some youth and fresh legs out there.

DOm

Guys, we are already developing young players. Terrel Harris at forward, norris at guard, and pittman at C. Lets b honest., hes right. No #27 pick is going to come in and make the rotation. Cole did because its a position of need. UR not gonna get a rotation Center at 27. Just aint. And we prob are going to get 2 out of nash/allen/grant hill, and maybe kaman. Riley knows what he is doing. we have chalmers and cole in the rotation, 2 young guys. lebron bosh UD and battier play forward. WHO IS PASSIN THEM IN ROTATION?? NO ONE. we have 2 young guards, so no one at 27 woulda past chalmers or cole at 27, and again, Center, u aint getting a starter at 27. SO NICE MOVE. PHilly if there a 7-8 seed , we get 15-17th pick in draft next yr. TOP 15 player. Now, that makes sense.
If we can get Nash and Ray Allen, now we r talkin. BEcause then chalmers comes of the bench along with allen , given us a nice scoring combo with experience. I hope we can get both. but 1 would hav to take 2m vet exception. Nash and allen have made over 100m in their careers. So at 37 yrs old , does 2-3 mill more per year on a losing team matter???

taheati

Let the games begin.

DMN reports Heat sign undrafted Longhorn J’Covan Brown [ http://bit.ly/N2he7N ]

NBA.com profile: http://on.nba.com/KHPnb1

energy_bust

for those who weren't paying attention:

1) James Jones picked his game up. He drove to the basket, made jumpshots from inside the line, even tried to dunk on folks - BUT - he says he may retire.

2) Mike Miller is versatile and can shoot, drive, pass, can defend but his reflexes are a bit slow, and can rebound - BUT - he says he may retire.

3) I'm sure Juwan will retire.

4) But of all those players, as someone put it, Joel Anthony needs to still be amnestied. Resign him at less, but he's taking to much money for a 1:10 game ratio of production. He doesn't jump for rebound and only jumps to blocks. He's constantly being beat by pgs for layouts (the wardon ?!? more like he doorman). He's clumsy, undersized, and is a huge liability on offense - makes it 4 vs. 5. We can get him, but amnesty him and pay him the vet min.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Largely agree with amnestying Anthony but he is a tremendous defender of bigs away from the basket and a phenomenal screen setter on offense.

Dashi

JA is a hype created by the Miami media and heat fans. We love him for his effort but yeah he is overpaid. JA gets paid as much as Shane.

Milk concerns me. Will he retire? Will he have surgery? Or will he wait to the start of the season and milk the heat for another 5 mil.

I say sign KG or Ray with the mid level exception and go after G.Hill and T-Mac for the minimum.

rboud

Armstrong is a senior who supposedly had matured - so much for maturity. I hope he hasn't ruined his senior year, but nothing he does should be a surprise to anyone.
If this is true, UM better run this booster out of town.

taheati

It pains me to admit it because I've *never* been a Joel Anthony fan (just the opposite) but the numbers support the eyes: when you *don't* compare JA to Bosh, Anthony actually had a decent postseason & decent year for someone with such limited skills.

He put up the 5th best WS/48 of any Heat at .138 -- which was higher than Miller (.136), Chalmers (.122), UD (.111), Jones (.100), Battier (.097) & Cole (.032). The league average = .100.

He's also improved his ability to finish, converting a team-high 56%(reg) and 59%(post) of his FGAs -- though missed bunnies are still a glaring eyesore.

Were it not for his hands and still tepid rebounding, there'd be far less doubt about his value. But even then, the real measuring stick is Turiaf, who's a slightly better rebounder, a lot more useful as an offensive facilitator and has a $1.2m player option which he'll probably exercise tomorrow -- and Pittman, the neverending project.

Pittman, even & despite his low cap#, shows no sign of breaking out despite Riley's wishful thinking. A "big" who averages 9 PFs/36m & converts only 46% of his FGAs isn't "poised" for more minutes.

So yes, Anthony remains an arguable point of contention-retention, but no less than Turiaf or Pittman. That's why drafts matter -- and why the Heat are left with guys like Anthony, Turiaf or Pittman.

How so? Riley, evidence Kammerer, values loyalty above competence. It worked with Spoelstra, Haslem & Wade. But when it doesn't, the entire organization pays a price.

I can hear the hisses now. No, questioning Riley about his scouting dept. doesn't mean doubting The Master or his wondrous deeds. But the question remains: would Riley & the Heat be better off, perhaps MUCH better off (i.e, less uphill, more downhill), if his scouting dept. didn't whiff on so many bigs?

Dashi

Agreed. PJ III or O'quinn would've helped a lot. Drafting is not Riley's forte. This team will be built through FA's or trades. Always has with Riley, even with zo and Timmy.

Ja will be OK if he was a backup PF, not a C. This was also probably his best season as he is in the middle of his prime. That WS% doesn't take into account what u do, but how the team does when u are on the court, bench and garbage time included.

JA doesn't hold the ball long enough to turn the ball over, he can't dribble or pass. No assist. He shoots a high percentage because he only takes 2 shots a game. One of them is usually a put back or an easy 2 because no one covers him on the pick and roll. He brings effort, that's about it.

Trust me if someone else was using JA's minutes the heat will be more potent. The whole team will have a higher WS%. Look at the playoff run when Shane was playing out of position cause he was taking JA's minutes. I bet Shane's WS went through the roof the last 2 series.

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