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Heat Game 1 postscripts; Birdman decision looming; Heat, Fins, Canes, Marlins chatter

THERE ARE TWO COLUMNS TODAY: A REGULAR FRIDAY BUZZ (BELOW) AND ANOTHER POST WITH POSTSCRIPTS FROM THE HEAT’S GAME 1 LOSS. PLEASE CLICK ON THE LAST POST FOR NOTES AND QUOTES FROM GAME 1. 

 

FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN

At least one Heat player (Chris Andersen) and possibly more could be impacted financially by the impression left in these Finals.

The Heat has two avenues to keep Anderson this summer: 1) Re-signing him to a minimum deal, which would be worth $1.68 million next season, factoring in his permitted 20 percent raise.

2) Using part or all of the mid-level exception that’s available to Miami and other taxpaying teams. That taxpayer exception is worth $3.18 million next season, with 4.5 percent annual raises allowed in a contract that can extend no longer than three seasons.

Miami will be above the tax threshold, even if it amnesties Mike Miller, as many expect. If Miller gets a chance to shine in these Finals, he could entice a team to give him part of a mid-level exception, which is $5.1 million for non-taxpaying teams that are over the cap.

One Eastern Conference executive said he wouldn’t be surprised if Andersen, 34, has done enough to command a taxpayer mid-level exception.

The Heat likely would prefer to re-sign him at the minimum but might need to use its exception. Andersen will collect $4.8 million next season from Denver, which amnestied him last summer, and that could factor into his decision. (Andersen declined to discuss his future.)

The Heat might not be able to find a better, affordable backup center in free agency. Among other options: Nazr Mohammad, Ryan Hollins, Samuel Dalembert (Heat had interest two summers ago, but he has worn out his welcome in a couple places since) and Cole Aldrich.

Greg Oden’s agent has said the Heat has shown interest in the former No. 1 overall draft pick, who has had five knee operations. He will consider Miami, Cleveland and others.

Andersen entered the Finals shooting 38 for 46 in postseason, a percentage (82.6) that would break James Donaldson’s postseason record.

“He plays really hard and with great energy, and he does it every night,” ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy said. “Consistent energy and effort is hard to find in big guys, and then the added skill that he has is, he can catch and finish. He has some things he doesn't do as well obviously. He doesn't play huge minutes, but his minutes that he does play are impactful. [Signing him] turned into a stroke of genius."

James Jones ($1.5 million) and Rashard Lewis ($1.39 million) have said they expect to exercise player options, and the Heat figures to exercise its team option on Mario Chalmers ($4 million).

Ray Allen said he loves playing here – “more enjoyable than I thought it would be,” he told me in April – but said this week he won’t decide until after the Finals whether to exercise his $3.2 million player option.

### Good line by Birdman when asked recently what he thinks of kids who try to look like him – mohawk haircut and all. “Copyright infringement,” he cracked.

### Though the NBA said Thursday it’s interested in bringing another All-Star Game here, Heat president/business operations Eric Woolworth said “it’s not really do-able” because of a conflict with the boat show (as far as hotel space) and the fact the Heat couldn’t get seats for enough of its ticket holders.

### Classy move: A year after Lance Stephenson gave LeBron James the choke sign during a playoff game, James sought out the Pacers guard after Game 7 Monday.

“He said I played hard this season; he’s happy with my progress,” Stephenson told The Indianapolis Star. “He said I helped change the Pacers organization and he respects my game.”

 Meanwhile, Pacers center Roy Hibbert thanked the Big Three on Twitter: “You’all made me a better player. I thank y’all for that. Good luck.”

### To put in perspective how unusual it was for Dwyane Wade (before Game 7 of the Pacers series) to go 12 straight games without reaching 20 points – his longest previous streak was nine games as a rookie – consider: According to Elias, only one other player (Walt Frazier on the 1969-70 Knicks) averaged at least 20 points during the regular season, like Wade did, and had as many consecutive games without reaching 20 in the playoffs.

### Again, please see the last post for Game 1 Finals postscripts.

CHATTER

Though it would make sense to move Jared Odrick back from tackle to defensive end in training camp when Randy Starks returns from his contract issue, Odrick said this week: “I’m not sure what’s going to happen. A lot of things are up in the air.” The Dolphins also have Cam Wake, Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordan, among others, to play end and Starks and  Paul Soliai and Vaughn Martin at tackle.

### Jacoby Briscoe, the nation’s 50th-ranked defensive tackle in the 2012 class, announced he’s leaving UM after redshirting last season… But UM received its ninth 2014 oral commitment on Thursday, from New Jersey-based three-star defensive tackle Courtney Jenkins.

### Former UM power forward Donnavan Kirk, who will be eligible this fall after departing DePaul, said he will visit UM this weekend and then decide between Miami and Colorado State.

### With the MLB draft ongoing, several of the Marlins’ recent No. 1 picks (excluding Jose Fernandez) are dealing with either injuries  -- top outfield prospect Christian Yelich (abdomen/out two weeks) and pitcher Chad James (hasn’t pitched this season/ankle) --- or ineffectiveness (catcher Kyle Skipworth is 7 for 59 at Triple A). Last year’s No. 1 pick, former Oklahoma State left-hander Andrew Heaney, has a 1.46 ERA in three starts at Class A Jupiter after missing two months with a lat strain.  

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