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1 posts from June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013

Ray Allen stays with Heat; Hardaway on Knicks-bound son; Nuggets from Pat Riley and Heat's draft pickup; UM news

5:30 p.m. update: Ray Allen's agent, Jim Tanner, told me Allen has exercised his opt-in and will stay with the Heat next season in the final year of a two-year deal. Allen will earn $3.2 million. The Heat will enter the offseason with 12 players under guaranteed contracts. Birdman and Juwan Howard are unrestricted free agents and Jarvis Varnado is non-guaranteed. (Please see my full story on Allen on the sports home page.)

 

The Friday buzz column is below. First, three late Thursday night breaking news items, on the Heat, UM and Tim Hardaway:

Some quick notes on Long Beach State 6-7 forward James Ennis, the 50th pick of the draft who was acquired by the Heat from Atlanta for reportedly, a conditional second-rounder in 2017:

### Ennis was the Big West Player of the Year last season and consistently filled the boxscore, averaging 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks.

### He shot 49.1 percent overall and 35.7 percent on threes (55 for 154).

### Ball-handling is a weakness. He had 99 turnovers and 70 assists last season.

### Heat president Pat Riley released a statement: "We were happy to get into the draft. We feel that James Ennis, with his size and athleticism, has a huge upside and someone we hope can develop into a high-quality NBA player."

### The NBA's draft guide says his strengths are great athleticism, "good size and length. Solid spot-up shooter. Very good defender. Excellent finisher around the rim."

### He raised his free throw shooting from 71.1 percent as a junior to 83.4 percent as senior.

### "He's a complete player. He's a stud," Cal State Fullerton coach Andy Newman told the Los Angeles Times in March. "He's one of those guys who can score in a lot of different ways. He does everything."

### Long Beach State played four games last season against teams ranked at the time -- all blowout losses. Here's how Ennis did: 1) Against North Carolina: 18 points (8 for 16 shooting), 8 rebounds, 4 blocks.

2) Against Arizona: 17 points (6 for 12 shooting), 7 rebounds.  3) Against Syracuse: 10 points (3 for 14 shooting), 7 rebounds, 4 turnovers.  4) Against Ohio State: 12 points (5 for 15 shooting), 2 rebounds.

### He played two years at Long Beach State after two years in junior college in Ventura (Cal.)

### Ennis will join Jarvis Varnado, among many others, on the Heat's summer league team that will play games in Orlando and Las Vegas.

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 During the heyday of the Heat-Knicks rivalry, when the teams met four consecutive years in the playoffs, Tim Hardaway was quoted as saying: “I hate the Knicks with all the hate you can hate with. Can you hate more than that? If you can, then I hate them that much.”
 

Now, in an odd twist, Hardaway – who does scouting and community liaison work for the Heat -- will become at least a part-time Knicks fan after New York selected his son, Tim Jr., 24th overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

“Wow! My nemesis,” Hardaway said Friday as he traveled with his son to New York for Tim Jr’s introductory news conference.

But “I was happy that he got in [the first round], and it doesn’t matter where he went,” Hardaway added. “It happened to the Knicks. A lot of people were kidding me about that. Everyone is stunned because I had a lot of heated battles with the Knicks. It's very ironic. The years I played and the rivalry we had, now it's coming full circle.”

The irony was not lost on former Knicks guard Allan Houston, now the team’s assistant general manager. Houston was at the epicenter of that Heat-Knicks rivalry, hitting a game-winning shot to eliminate the Heat from the 1999 postseason.

“Allan called me after the pick,” Hardaway said, “and was like, ‘Wow! This is surreal. This is amazing that this comes about like this. We went at it 12, 15 years ago in the 1990s and now your son will be playing for the Knicks.’ Allan asked me the same questions that reporters will be asking me. I can remember Allan's shot like it was yesterday.”

Yes, rooting for the Knicks will feel strange. But Hardaway said he will root for both his son and the Knicks when they’re not playing the Heat.

“I will root for him and his team to do well,” Hardaway said. “I him want to experience winning a championship, too. I want him to win as many games as he can.”

And what team will he root for when the Knicks are playing the Heat?


“I don’t even know how to approach that, don't know what I'm going to do,” he said. “I’m going for the team that wins. That is going to be nerve-racking. I always want him to play well. You never want your son to fail.”

Hardaway downplayed how difficult this will be for him emotionally, considering the venom of the Heat-Knicks rivalry. The Heat beat the Knicks in the 1997 playoffs, but Miami was eliminated by New York in the postseason in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

“That era is over with,” he said. “It’s about him now. It’s not a conflict at all. It’s never about me.”
He said he will attend the Knicks’ opener but doesn’t expect to attend a lot of Knicks games because of his Heat scouting work.

At 6-6, Hardaway is seven inches taller than this father and plays shooting guard, not point guard. A dangerous shooter, Hardaway Jr. averaged 14.5 points and 4.7 rebounds for Michigan last season and made 73 of 195 three-pointers (37.4 percent). He and guard Trey Burke helped lead the Wolverines to the NCAA title game, which they lost to Louisville.

“He’s a pure two [guard] – a knockdown shooter, long, can play some defense,” Hardaway said. “Rivalries aside, [New York] is a real good fit for him. To come into an established team that needs help in shooting the ball and athleticism."
 

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Badgerblitz.com is reporting that Wisconsin senior starting defensive end David Gilbert is transferring to Miami. He reportedly graduated in May and thus would be eligible to play for the Hurricanes this season, if that is indeed the case. (Again, no confirmation from UM at the time of this posting at 1:40 a.m.)  [UPDATE THIS MORNING: UM expects Gilbert to end up with the Canes, but it's not yet official.]

This would be a huge get for Miami, which needs help on the defensive line, provided he can stay healthy after a history of foot problems.

Gilbert, who attended Oakland Park Northeast in Broward, started 13 games last season and had 42 tackles, including 9.5 for loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles and was named honorable mention on the All-Big 10 team.

He played in 43 games at Wisconsin, including 17 starts, and has 8.5 career sacks and 14.5 tackles for losses.

Gilbert announced in April he would not continue playing football at Wisconsin because of recurring injuries to his right foot. But he gave no indication at the time that he would play elsewhere.

He broke his foot twice in 2011 and missed spring practice this past April to undergo more surgery on the same foot, this time to repair ligament damage. But he apparently changed his mind about playing, according to the report in Wisconsin.

Coming out of Northeast High, Gilbert was a four-star prospect and rated by rivals.com as the No. 12 weakside defensive end prospect.

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FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN

It became the go-to line for Heat critics this season, especially Charles Barkley: “The Heat is too old and too small.”

But Heat president Pat Riley doesn’t buy it and explained this week why he feels no obligation to get younger or bigger next season.

### On the youth issue, Riley said: “We are not concerned about [that], at least for next year,” adding: “If you look at all the young teams that are rebuilding, they are going to be rebuilding for a long time until they get some veteran talent that can collaborate with that youth to make it work.

LeBron James [28] is very young to me. Mario Chalmers [27] and Norris Cole [24] are young…. Mike Miller [33] is a young player because we didn’t play him all year long and… he was fresh.” And Chris Bosh is just 29, two years younger than Dwyane Wade.

Riley conceded that “we’re going to have to, one day, find another D-Wade or Udonis Haslem or Caron Butler.  But in order to do that, you’re going to have to lose or figure out a way to get in the lottery. I’m not interested in getting into the lottery, nor is Micky Arison, by losing.” He prefers free agency, trades or finding a diamond in the rough.

### On the size issue, Riley quibbled with a reporter who said Roy Hibbert gave the Heat problems. (He averaged 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds in the Eastern Conference Finals.)

“We didn’t have any problems against Hibbert,” Riley insisted. “We cornered the market on big guys three years ago” – citing Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Erick Dampier, Jamaal Magloire and Dexter Pittman.

“I made sure I signed all those guys because I didn’t want other teams to sign them and beat us,” he said. “And Erik didn’t use any of them. The way Erik plays, I’m not saying big men are not important, but how we play it’s about verticality and being able to play in a cylinder with playmakers like Dwyane and LeBron. Roy Hibbert is a great center. But we will continue to search for the kind of player that suits Spo’s system.”

Even so, Riley said “if there’s a possibility” former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden will be able to play after five knee surgeries, “we will pursue that” because “he could be such a force” and because other centers – such as Ilgauskas and Kurt Thomas – overcame major injuries early in their careers.

Oden, who met with Riley earlier this year, is interested in the Heat and willing to work out for teams in July but won’t do contact drills. He’s hopeful of being ready to start next season, but there are no guarantees.

CHATTER

### Riley told 790 The Ticket's Dan Le Batard and Jon Weiner that Wade, listed at 220 pounds, “is going to get down to 212. And everyone is going to say he picked up 10 years on his life again. Dwyane is going to have to reinvent himself,… do something to change. We will talk about this summer and how he will accomplish that. He’s not over the hill. He was injured. Dwyane was very gallant” in postseason.

### Riley is acutely aware of anti-Heat sentiment. "For some reason, there are a lot of people in other cities that want us to lose more than the norm,” he told 790.

Why? “Envy and resentment. Everybody thinks you have it all, and people don’t like that. We don’t think we have it all. It seems when it’s bad for us, everyone is happy.”

### Even after a 66-win season and another championship, Riley told 790: "We could have the best year we've ever had next year."

### Miller, on his weekly WQAM-560 show with Jorge Sedano, said it was “awesome” that Riley announced Wednesday he doesn’t want to amnesty him unless Riley gets a mandate.

“Why would you ever want to leave this?” Miller said, joking “they’re going to spend a lot of money based on my dumb contract.” Miller said “the way my body feels now, I want to play for a long time.”

### Bulls center Joakim Noah said at a New York event this week: “I feel like we’ll be the team that beats [Miami] next year.”

### UM now has three oral commitments at quarterback for 2014, and the highest-rated one – California’s Brad Kaaya (rated 200th by rivals.com, among all players nationally) – said he’s firmly committed to Miami even though Southern Cal and UCLA keep pursuing him after his impressive showing in 7-on-7 camps this offseason.

Alabama-based three-star prospect Malik Rosier, who committed to UM on Wednesday, is rated the 12th-best pro style quarterback after rushing for 1002 yards and 12 touchdowns and throwing for 2230 and 20 TDs.

Despite the two other oral commitments, Hialeah’s three-star Alin Edouard “is still steadfast in his commitment to Miami,” Hialeah coach Marc Berman told us Thursday. “UM gave him a heads-up” before Rosier’s commitment. “He will not back away from competition.”

Other schools keep pursuing him. "That's not to say he won't listen," Berman said. But he expects him to stick with UM.

### As of Thursday afternoon, the Dolphins still weren’t close on a deal with top pick Dion Jordan and unsure when it would get done.

### Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ attacks of several state representatives that didn’t support the stadium funding proposal practically eliminate any already slim chance of getting state money in the 2014 Legislative session, since all these politicians will still be in office next spring. The Dolphins won't come out and say they won't pursue money in Tallahassee next year, but 2015 is more realistic, if Ross can help unseat the representatives who opposed his plan.

Trouble is, a Dolphins official said the team hasn’t identified a way to secure enough public money to do the major stadium upgrades without state involvement and approval.

### Marlins’ talks have progressed with the Dodgers on a Ricky Nolasco trade, according to ESPN, with several other teams also in pursuit. The Marlins would love for a team to cover all of the $6 million or so he's due but would consider paying a small amount if that gets them a prospect much better than what other teams are offering.

A team that spoke to the Marlins said all Giancarlo Stanton trade inquiries continue to be rebuffed by the Marlins.