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2 posts from February 13, 2014

February 13, 2014

Bosh sees his future here; Dolphins, Hurricanes, Heat, Marlins chatter


After spending so much time away from power forward, his natural and preferred position, and subjugating his ego, and taking fewer shots, the question invariably will come up: Now that he has won championships, would the lure of being a No. 1 or No. 2 option elsewhere appeal to Chris Bosh when he can exercise an option to become a free agent this summer?

Bosh says that’s not the way he’s thinking. He reiterated this past week that he “for sure” wants to spend the rest of his career with the Heat.

“It’s one of the best places to be in the world,” he said. “We have a family environment here. It works out for us. It’s great.”

Some expect the Lakers to pursue Bosh, who spends some offseason time in Los Angeles. But he said his desire is clearly to stay in Miami. “I’m a pretty good fit here. It’s worked out. We have a little bit of hardware.”

Bosh, who will be making his ninth All-Star Game appearance, said he hasn’t considered whether he will keep his current contract, which would pay him $20.6 million and $22.1 million the next two seasons, or opt out, which would allow him to sign with the Heat for additional seasons or listen to other teams. He could earn no more than $20.5 million next season from the Heat –a slight pay cut - if he opts out, NBA cap expert Larry Coon said.

Don’t underestimate how good a season Bosh has had. Miami has outscored teams by a team-best 287 with Bosh on the floor --- 15th in the league and far better than LeBron James (plus-223) or Dwyane Wade (plus-174), though James and Wade usually play some minutes with four backups.

Among starting centers, Bosh ranks second in three-point field-goal percentage (35.5), third in scoring (16.6) and eighth in field-goal percentage (53.0). Players that he’s guarding are shooting just 41 percent, and he’s in the top 21 percent of the league in points allowed per possession.

"Chris Bosh is the most underrated power forward in basketball because of what he does on the offensive end and creates so many mismatches,” TNT’s Kenny Smith said. In fact, the Heat has outscored teams by 14 per 48 minutes when Bosh moves from center to power forward and plays alongside Chris Andersen or Greg Oden.

Bosh, 29, still enjoys power forward more than center because “I get to roam around a little bit. It's more free flowing, especially in this offensive system.

[At center], you're obligated to be physical. One of the great things about our system is that the 5 [center] creates many triggers for our team. But at the 4 [power forward], you can kind of dictate more what you feel like doing that day."

Erik Spoelstra said because of the development of Bosh’s three-point game, the Heat no longer sacrifices spacing when he plays Bosh at power forward.

Bosh has drained 38 of 107 three-pointers – after making 37 of 134 in his first three Heat seasons combined. “Practicing that three-point shot has helped us out a lot,” he said. Before, “I wasn’t able to get those extra points. But I never want to force it.”


### Before hitting a game-winning three-pointer to beat Golden State on Wednesday, James had been 0 for 7 in his regular-season career on potential go-ahead three-pointers in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime.

### Though Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle has felt strongly about using a 4-3 defense, not everyone internally agrees. “A lot of teams would love to have our personnel in a 3-4,” a Dolphins official said. The Dolphins were third in run defense in 2011, their final year in a 3-4. They were 24th this past season….

The Dolphins haven’t made offers yet to impending free agent defensive tackles Paul Soliai or Randy Starks but will meet soon with both their agents, hoping to keep at least one.

### TMZ reported today that a New Jersey police chief wrote a letter to investigator Ted Wells asserting that Richie Incognito did nothing wrong during an allegedly explosive April 26 dinner with Jonathan Martin and contradicted an allegation that Martin stormed out when Incognito used the n-word. Former Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano, who was reportedly at that dinner, told me Wednesday that Martin and Incognito were “good friends” and he never saw Incognito bully Martin.

### UM quarterback Kevin Olsen said he was told the quarterback job will be an open competition. But departing Stephen Morris said Thursday he has “no doubt” Ryan Williams will win the job.

Morris, who is training for the draft at Pete Bommarito’s Performance Center in North Miami Beach, said Williams will surprise people next season. “You don’t need a rocket arm to be a great quarterback,” Morris said. But Williams has improved his arm strength in the past year, which has coaches encouraged.

Morris and former UM teammate Allen Hurns are among dozens of NFL draft prospects training with the highly-respected Bommarito.

### On Monday, we mentioned you will be hearing a lot this year about five-star Coconut Creek Monarch prospect Calvin Ridley, rated the second-best receiver in the 2015 class. Ridley told canesport.com today that even though he was once leaning toward UM, that is no longer the case, without giving a specific reason. But UM remains one of many schools under consideration.

# Because Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria authorized a payroll of around $45 million, team management needed his permission in the past week to sign Carlos Marmol ($1.25 million) and Jeff Baker (two years, $3.7 million), who pushed the 2014 payroll to $48 million….Three-time All-Star shortstop Rafael Furcal, 36 and coming off 2013 shoulder surgery, said Wednesday he hasn’t played second base in 15 years but believes he will be comfortable there. “It’s no problem for me moving to second when you have a shortstop [Adeiny Hechavarria] who will be an All-Star.”

### The Palm Beach Post reported David Beckham is considering Miami Vice and Miami Current as names for his MLS team, but Beckham’s publicist, Bruce Rubin, said that’s untrue, called the report “rubbish” and said no names have been considered.

Heat-Warriors postscripts, reaction; Wade injury update; Marlins chatter

Some notes from the Heat’s late game at Golden State Wednesday, and the Marlins’ golf tournament earlier in the day:

### Those who went to bed at a normal hour Wednesday missed a marvelously entertaining game, won by LeBron James’ three-pointer over Andre Iguodola with two-tenths of a second left. That gave the Heat a 111-110 win and sent the Heat to the All-Star break at 37-14, 2 ½ games behind Indiana for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

James, feeling the healthiest he has in a while, was exemplary, with 36 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Erik Spoelstra let James do his thing in the waning seconds, without calling a timeout, after Stephen Curry’s driving basket and free throw put the Warriors ahead by two with 14.6 seconds left.

“I was going for the win the whole time,” James said of his final shot. “I had to make sure I made it or missed it with no time left. I had to redeem myself for missing a free throw [with 23 seconds left]. Second night of a back-to-back, you’re very tired. You have to suck it up.”

Spoelstra, on the last play: "We wanted to shake free for something easy. We were going to try to probe before they got their defense set. If I had known he was going to work it all the way to the end of the clock, I would have run out there and called a timeout. I was inching to call that timeout, but at that point, it's greatness at its best."

James played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter and 42 for the night. “I told Spo, ‘Leave me in.’ I wasn’t coming out.”

### The Warriors had runs of 33-9 and 8-0 in the second half, with the first one erasing a 21-point Heat lead. But Miami survived anyway, thanks to LeBron’s brilliance, a key Mario Chalmers late three, some good work from Chris Bosh (19 points and a late-game block), and contributions from others, including Michael Beasley. (More on him in a minute.)

### Dwyane Wade sat out with a foot injury, and Shane Battier missed time in the first half when he required five stitches over his left eye. "Dwyane's foot became really sore right before the game," Spoelstra said. "He was going to give it a go but didn't have the mobility he wanted."

Wade said his foot went numb before the game and said "the nerve in my leg shut down. Weirdest thing I ever saw. I couldn't feel my foot. The doctor came in and checked it out. The medical term is called 'drop foot.' The nerve was aggravated and shut down. Hopefully, the numbness will wear down."

Wade, who seemed in good spirits after the game Wednesday, said he will travel to New Orleans for the All-Star Game but was non-committal about whether he would play in the game. "I want this to calm down and go back to feeling regular," Wade said. "I'm not optimistic or pessimistic. I just want to get better."

The Heat is listing Wade as day-to-day. Spoelstra said it's unclear how the injury happened before the game.

### Spoelstra used Beasley for the first time in four games, and Beasley made a case for more playing time, closing with 16 points (7 for 11 shooting) and two rebounds in 24 minutes, while playing most of the fourth quarter. The Heat was plus-10 with Beasley on the floor, the best plus/minus of any player. But he also struggled defensively against David Lee.

"He clearly gave us good minutes," Spoelstra said. "That's a credit to Mike for staying ready. It's not easy being a role player on this team. Rotation minutes are tough to find with this group. You have to be a pro, all in. In this type of game, with the way Golden State can score, with Dwyane out, we felt we needed a punch off the bench. That's why we went with Mike."

### Toney Douglas (one point, one assist in 11 minutes) again started in place of Wade, who missed his 15th game.

### A Heat-Warriors Finals would be marvelous theatre, though Golden State remains no better than the fourth- or fifth-most likely Western Conference team to advance to the championship.

### Marlins president/baseball operations Mike Hill was thrilled with two additions in the last week: Carlos Marmol (check out Clark Spencer’s story about him) and Jeff Baker.

“Baker was another one we didn’t expect to be able to sign,” Hill said. “He was a consideration as we went through the third base search, and when we focused on Casey McGehee, we sort of moved onto the next thing. Incredibly versatile player. We know we can play first. We know he can play second, third, outfield. To be able to get him gives [Mike Redmond] the ultimate versatility.”

A Garrett Jones/Baker platoon at first base is a good possibility at some point this season --- considering Jones’ difficulties against lefties and Baker’s success historically against them. But Redmond said he won’t begin the season that way.

“We signed Garrett Jones to play every day and he’s going to be getting that chance,” Redmond said. “But you never know how the season is going to go.”

### It won’t be surprising if Brad Hand, Tom Koehler or Brian Flynn wins the No. 5 rotation job, but the Marlins will give Andrew Heaney a long look. Heaney is rated the top left-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com.

“We are never shy [about going with a prospect] if the person earns it, to give him the job,” Hill said. “If he’s the best pitcher, he’ll be there…. We really haven’t had a lefty in our rotation since Scott Olsen left us. But it’s all about getting people out.” 

### Giancarlo Stanton said the recent roster moves makes him believe “we’re going in the right direction. It will be fun to play with the new guys.” Stanton, hoping to rebound from a season that very much disappointed him, said the key is “not worry as much about the results” but instead make sure he’s making “progress every day.”

### Manager Mike Redmond, on his team: “We’re excited about the guys we’ve acquired. We brought in not only good players but great guys that will improve the chemistry, winners.”