« June 23, 2013 | Main | June 25, 2013 »

2 posts from June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013

Wade addresses future; Teammates lobby Allen, Birdman; Highlights from Heat celebration

(If you read the first item on this blog a few hours ago, scroll down a few paragraphs for some highlights from press conferences today with a few Heat people.)



The questions already have begun, more than year before there will be any definitive answers.

LeBron James – who, like teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, can opt out of contracts and become free agents in the summer of 2014 – was non-committal when asked about that topic by CNN.

“I don’t know, because I haven’t really even thought about it,” James said in an interview that aired Monday. “So when that moment comes up, I will approach it, like a professional, and we’ll see what happens.”

During 2010 free agency, James was criticized for announcing his plans “to take my talents to South Beach” during a 60-minute ESPN special, The Decision, that raised money for a Boys and Girls Club.

“You learn from your mistakes,” James said. “That’s something I’ve lived with, and if the opportunity comes if I’m in that position [again], I’ll be able to handle it much differently.”

Bosh said recently he wants to spend the rest of his career here. And Wade said Monday he will probably be in Miami “for the rest of my life, in this amazing city.”

James will not speak to reporters until Tuesday. Wade spoke Monday and said the three players have not discussed their long-term plans, “just like we never even envisioned we would play together until free agency came about, and it became a reality.

“Now, we’re in the middle of this great, historic team and run and we’re enjoying it and you don’t want it to come to an end. But you can’t think about the future. When that time comes after next season, when we have to sit down and talk about the futures and what direction they’re going in, hopefully they’re all going in the same direction. We’ll do what we did in 2010 -- sit down as men and talk about it.”

An associate of James said he would make Miami the strong favorite to retain him in 2014, with Cleveland potentially also drawing some consideration. But the associate also cautioned that a year before free agency in 2010, nobody would have made the Heat the front-runner.

By opting out next summer, James can earn more than the $20.59 million he’s due in 2014-15 or the $22.1 million he would earn in 2015-16 if he exercises that year’s player option. Bosh’s contract is identical financially to James’.

Wade’s contract, if he eschews opting out, would call for $20.048 million in 2014-15 and $21.56 million in 2015-16.

Opting out also would give any of them the ability to add additional seasons to their contracts.

But before any of those decisions, the Heat will try to become just the fourth franchise to win three titles in a row, joining the 1952-54 Minneapolis Lakers, the 1991-93 and 1996-98 Chicago Bulls, the 2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers and the 1959-1966 Boston Celtics, who won eight in a row.

“Magic Johnson has five rings and he never won three in a row,” Wade said. “That shows how tough it is. We’re going to be back next year hungry again to try to place ourselves in history.

“Winning back-to-backs is special; winning back to back to back would be something out of this world. That will be our goal: How do we come back and muster up enough to keep us focused and… hungry throughout this season to get back in a position to win another championship?”

 ### Though Ray Allen hasn't announced if he's exercising his player option for next season, Chris Bosh said: "He's coming back. That's just how I see it. There's really nothing else to think about."

Udonis Haslem said he raised the topic of Allen's future to him in the shower -- of all places -- after Game 7. "I told him I'm not going to put any pressure on you," Haslem said. "Just know I'm thinking about what you're going to do."

### Erik Spoelstra said of unrestricted free agent Chris Andersen: "Both sides want each other." And Andersen said at the championship celebration Monday: "Let's try to get a three-peat next year."

Wade said "we wouldn't have won the championship" without him.


During the Heat’s post-parade celebration inside AmericanAirlines Arena, Wade cracked: “Me and LeBron were about to fight in Game 6.”

Wade, who’s close friends with James, was asked about that later in the day.

“When you are in moment and every possession counts and someone messes up or someone feels like someone messes up -- not block out or turn the ball over --you give each other death stares. You complain. We had a moment of each other of back and forth. Our teammates were looking at us like, ‘We don’t see this often.’ But we wanted to win so bad. After that, we move on.”

### Wade said he has been advised to give his knees a month of rest. After that, his focus will be on rebuilding strength in his legs.

Wade said the discomfort in his right knee – which had three bone bruises - “was terrible” during the first three rounds, especially in the Indiana series. It improved in The Finals, after “our trainers started treating it a little different.”

His left knee, which was injured in a Game 6 collision with Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, required “painful” draining last Wednesday and hours of treatment Thursday, the day of Game 7. He reiterated he doesn’t expect to need surgery.

### Wade said he felt his 2006 championship was for Alonzo Mourning and Gary Payton “and those guys who played so long and never won,” and the 2012 title was “LeBron’s [because] he never won one. Get that monkey off his back.”

But Wade said this championship “is for me. There’s not a lot of players in that category of winning three. I wanted to be there for the legacy I’m building.”

Said Udonis Haslem: “With those knees, he can have it.”

### Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said this championship “felt more challenging.”

### Good story from Spoelstra today: He said he was "despondent" after the Game 3 blowout loss to the Spurs and went to his hotel suite to watch film with assistant coach David Fizdale. Pat Riley knocked on his door, holding three bottles of wine, and asked, "What do you need me to do?" The three men then broke down tape for a while.

### Spoelstra showed his team another replica NBA championship trophy before and during the playoffs; the Heat made check marks on it after each win.

“It’s more of a contract, promises we made to each other each,” he said. “We would bring it out from time to time to remind ourselves of the promises.”

Spoelstra said it was marked blood red for the Bulls and Pacer because “the series were so dang physical,” and silver for the Spurs series “out of ultimate respect for our competitor.”  

### Shane Battier will conduct player interviews during ESPN's draft coverage Thursday.

### Please see the last post for all the notable comments made by Heat players during the championship celebration.      


Monday 2 p.m. report: What Heat players said at Monday's title celebration

Highlights from the Heat’s celebration today inside AmericanAirlines Arena, which followed the parade:

### LeBron (introduced last) and Wade both had cigars in their mouths when introduced to the crowd during the post-parade celebration inside AmericanAirlines Arena. Wade and Birdman were wearing sunglasses. LeBron and Juwan Howard kissed the trophy. Pat Riley danced.

### Erik Spoelstra told the crowd: “We feel like Miami parties better than any city in the world, but it took nine months of incredible sacrifice. We could not have done the two Game 7s without you [fans].”

### Riley, after receiving a city of Miami honor from Mayor Tomas Regalado and several commissioners: “It’s been 337 games in the last 3 years. A lot of people don’t understand how much it takes to play 337 games and end up in Finals three years in a row and win two back to back championships. It really is about respect. There isn’t any doubt they’ve separated themselves from the pack this year. Their names are going to be respected and honored. And that’s all we have.”

### Ray Allen, asked on stage about his game-tying three-pointer in Game 6: “That is the biggest shot I ever hit in my career. This is the greatest collection of shooters I’ve ever been a part of.”

He said Mike Miller’s shot when he lost his shoe was even more amazing than his. After the first two weeks, I felt like I had been here for two or three years. He said the veteran Heat players treated the new ones “like long lost brothers all year.”

### Everybody was interviewed, even Jarvis Varnado, who said: “I’m extremely blessed being around all these guys.” You don’t say?

### James Jones: “This is hardest working team in sports. Every guy came back better this year than last year.”

### Norris Cole, on winning two championships in his first two NBA seasons: “My teammates got done telling me I’m pretty spoiled. I’m blessed to be on a team like this. I don’t take it for granted.”

### Mario Chalmers: “My teammates believe in me. That makes it easier to believe in myself. The thing about this team is, we hate losing. We like to come back with a vengeance, let them know that was a fluke that they beat us.”

### Udonis Haslem: “This is the reason why all of us came here. I’ve been known to kick a little [butt] now and then [on opponents]. I told my teammates, I never thought I’d be making this kind of money. Just to pay $2000 to slap someone upside the head, I’ll pay that all day. I might have gone to one Miami Heat game growing up, and that was way up top. I’ve never thought I’d be here.”

### Mike Miller, on his former UF teammate: “I’ve been grooming [U.D.] a long time to do this. To be here winning two championships with him is a great experience.”

### Chris Andersen: “I never imagined being in this spot in January when I was sitting at home debating if I would play this year. To play with some of the best all-time basketball players is amazing. I love a big challenge. When everybody counted me out, I made a point to prove them wrong."

Why is he so popular? "Maybe because I’m a crazy ass white boy.”

An unrestricted free agent, Andersen said: “Let’s try to get the three-peat next year.”

### Wade: “To be here celebrating my third championship, who would have thought it? This one is special because I know the category it puts me in. I know how hard it was to get to the point.”

### On dealing with his knee problems: “I’ve got a great support system. Being resilient. Just never giving up. When people believe in you, you can do amazing things.”

### Wade, on his teammates: “Me and Bron were about to fight in Game 6. Nobody seen that. We’ve got moments like any family. We get along, then we don’t. I thank them for being my teammates, for being awesome people. It doesn’t work if everyone is not selfness.

“In 2010, one of my decisions was to play with Udonis hopefully for the rest of my career. We all knew to do that, it would be a financial sacrifice. Then it became sacrifice for what we do on the court. It hasn’t been easy. But at the end of the day, we’re champions.”

### Wade: “I’ve seen him grow to be Chris Bosh. He’s no one else. He’s himself. That’s what I love about him. He’s the best bleeping player in the planet. The thing I like best about LeBron is he’s probably one of the best teammates in the world. He deals with things a lot of us doesn’t.”

### Shane Battier: “Let’s be honest. I was not very good for most of the playoffs. But I was proud I was able to finally show up for my teammates. That was what this year was about: To show up for your brother…. We all know the secret to this championship was our performance at the South Beach Battioke this year.

“We care about one thing – winning the ring and doing it with class and togetherness. That’s what separates the Miami Heat from any other team in pro sports. It starts with the best owners in pro sports, the Arisons. We’re the most prepared team in the NBA.”

Battier then donned a Horse-tronaut mask, one of the highlights of the ceremony.

### Chris Bosh: “Thank you, Miami, for everything you guys do.” Then he spoke in Spanish briefly.

“That was one of the most challenging years I’ve ever had… We came to work every day knowing what we had to do to accomplish our goal, and I can’t believe that we did it…. I’m just a guy on this team playing his part.”

### LeBron James to the Heat fans: “I love you all. You guys were unbelievable once again.” LeBron then asks fans to chant: “I’ve got no words.”

On the playoffs: “It was a war mentally, physically, spiritually. It’s a grind to win a championship.”

Sun Sports’ Jason Jackson gave him a headband. On losing his headband in Game 6: “It was an out of body experience for me. My headband comes off in a game, I lose all powers. I can’t dunk, shoot or dribble. I’m like a newborn baby, I start slobbering.”

On his two championships: “They always say you love your first. But the second one was sweet as well. I love them both.”