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4 a.m.: Heat making calls; Dolphins sign Colledge; Heat/LeBron notes; UM tries unique new strategy; Canes notes

The Heat was active at the start of free agency tonight, expressing strong interest in Kyle Lowry and Luol Deng, as expected, even though other teams are in position to make far bigger offers.

Lowry reportedly could get a deal for more than $12 million per season, with incumbent Toronto and Houston and Dallas among those also in pursuit. The Heat and Lowry will speak further in the morning, Yahoo! reports.

Deng has several suitors with cap space, including Dallas and Atlanta.

Other names linked to Miami in the first hour of free agency included Marvin Williams, Vince Carter, Washington forward Trevor Booker, Caron Butler, Steve Blake and Sacramento restricted free agent guard Isaiah Thomas, among others.

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According to sources, the Dolphins on Monday were very close to a deal with veteran offensive lineman Daryn Colledge, whose addition will provide depth and versatility on a unit trying to compensate for the indefinite loss of Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey.

[8:20 p.m. update: The Dolphins have signed Colledge to a one-year deal.]

Colledge was one of four offensive linemen who auditioned for the Dolphins on Monday. The others: former Dolphins center Samson Satele, former Broncos center Steve Vallos and former Houston tackle Ryan Harris.

Colledge, 32, has played some center and tackle but has been primarily a guard during his eight-year NFL career, and the Dolphins indicated they intend to use him at guard.

With Pouncey expected to miss between two and six regular season games after hip surgery, the Dolphins’ current options at center include backup Sam Brenner, Nate Garner or potentially first-team right guard Shelley Smith.

Smith has taken snaps at center throughout the offseason program but has never played the position in an NFL game and as of Monday, had been given no indication if he will be moved to center during Pouncey's absence.

Colledge could settle in as a backup but there are two scenarios in which he could emerge as a starter to begin the season:

1) If he beats out Dallas Thomas, who has taken most of the first-team snaps at left guard during the offseason program, and rookie Billy Turner; or

2) If Smith moves to center until Pouncey's return, which would open a starting guard spot. Colledge, Thomas or Turner would compete for two starting guard jobs in that scenario.

Brenner took the first-team snaps at center during the one minicamp practice that Pouncey missed. The Dolphins do not intend to sign Satele at this point but had a favorable impression of his workout and it's possible that idea could be re-visited down the road.

The Dolphins liked Harris and could consider adding him for tackle depth in the coming weeks.

Colledge, 32, started 124 of his 128 NFL games over his eight years, including every game the past six seasons.

He played his first five seasons with Green Bay and his past three with Arizona. Last year, Colledge played left guard, and Pro Football Focus rated him 45th of 81 qualifying guards --- 32nd in pass protection and 53rd as a run blocker.

Colledge, who allowed two sacks last season according to PFF, knows Dolphins coach Joe Philbin well from their time together in Green Bay.

Colledge grew up in North Pole, Alaska, and was the Packers’ second-round pick out of Boise State in 2006.

### Harris has started 39 games in six NFL seasons --- his first four with Denver and two for Houston. He made three starts for the Texans last season.

The Dolphins have three tackles they feel good about: Starters Branden Albert and Ja'Wuan James and backup Jason Fox. Harris would give them a fourth if they choose to sign him. (Garner can play tackle, of course, but has struggled when used at left tackle.)

##########################################################################################

A close associate of LeBron James said he is not of the mindset to take a significant paycut at this time and is looking for a maximum contract or something close to that. Such a deal could pay him $20.7 million next season (according to cap expert Larry Coon) and run five seasons if he re-signs with the Heat, which is considered very likely.

That means for the Heat to have cap space to satisfy the lofty salary wishes of high-end free agents such as Kyle Lowry, Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Marcin Gortat, here's what would have to happen: 

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would need to take very significant pay cuts. (Contracts cannot be backloaded to extremes because of cap rules limiting the maximum amount of annual raises.)

Trading Norris Cole also would help but would not be essential. All that comes with the caveat that none of those top-tier free agents is willing to take substantially less to sign here, which absolutely cannot be ruled out. But Deng's agent already has said his client will not sign here for money in the range of $5.3 million.

According to the L.A. Times, Gasol has meetings planned with OKC, Chicago and Golden State but not Miami.

If the Heat is just short of being in position to sign one of those players, the notion of James taking a cut could be re-visited and it cannot be ruled out. But Pat Riley has said he will not ask James to take a pay cut, that it would have to be his idea. (Same with Wade and Bosh, who are on board with the idea.) 

If the Heat cannot lure any of the top players to take less to sign here, Miami might be better served (as explained in our last post) by using exceptions to augment the roster instead of cap space.

In that scenario, the Heat could add players with a $5.3 million exception, a $2.2 million trade exception and a $2 million bi-annual exception. (But those exceptions cannot be combined and the Heat cannot use those exceptions AND cap space. It would need to be an either/or choice.)

The Heat also could add players to the minimum (such as James Jones) and use Bird Rights to re-sign Ray Allen and Chris Andersen at reasonable amounts.

### Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra declined to take questions concerning free agency on Monday, with Riley leaving the room after introducing first-round pick Shabazz Napier at today's news conference.

"We felt he was the best fit at many different levels," Spoelstra said of Napier. "The thing that jumped out the most was his competitive will --- being on winning teams, knowing what it takes to have big moments, knowing what it takes to sacrifice at a high level. There is a shiftiness, cleverness to the way he attacks the paint.

"This was a fit for our style of basketball. To be able to play on the ball, off the ball. He has the range already. He has to get on a specific program to make sure he has NBA three-point range... and set the tone for our defense."

### Napier said he has had no personal interaction with James since the draft but that Ray Allen congratulated him. "Me and Ray developed a close bond" because both went to Connecticut.

### Napier said he intends to play for the Heat's summer league team in Orlando and Las Vegas.

### Spoelstra, asked about Riley calling for Spolestra to "reinvent himself," said: "We're not going to reinvent our entire operation. There has been some great success with it."

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Canes football chatter:

### The words atop a recent University of Miami football ad --- “Go to Fewer Games!” ---  assuredly elicited double-takes.

But it wasn’t a misprint.

It’s all part of a unique and creative new strategy in which the Hurricanes are placing nearly all of their football marketing efforts behind trying to sell out two games: against North Carolina on Nov. 1 and Florida State on Nov. 15.

“It’s an effort to sell more tickets --- not have people go to fewer games,” athletic director Blake James said. “The goal of this strategy is to get us to two sellouts” --- which would be more than past years ---- “as well as sell as many season tickets as possible.”

Over the years, UM has struggled to sell tickets against non-marquee opponents and determined it didn’t make sense to put a lot of time and money into promoting its other five home games: Florida A&M on Sept. 6, Arkansas State on Sept. 13, Duke on Sept. 27, Cincinnati on Oct. 11 and Pittsburgh on Nov. 29.

UM believes that if it can sell out the FSU game (that has a good chance of happening) and the UNC game (which will be a tougher sell), then fans will be more inclined to buy season tickets in 2015.

The belief is based on the theory that fans have a more enjoyable experience when the stadium is full.

“If you have two fantastic experiences, you get people closer to moving to a bigger commitment for the right reasons,” said Chris Freet, UM’s senior associate athletic director.

So how is the strategy working? It’s too early to tell, but UM is encouraged that it has sold 3600 more season tickets than it had at this point last year, when the Hurricanes sold 29,917 season tickets, a 24 percent spike over 2012.

UM also has sold more than 2000 tickets to its two-game FSU/UNC package, which is priced at $108. All of those seats are in the upper bowl and club seat areas, because lower bowl seats --- at this point --- are reserved for full season-ticket holders.

UM isn’t sure if it will place any single-game FSU tickets on sale and will not make that decision until October. That decision will depend partly on how many tickets it sells to the two-game FSU/UNC package, and how many tickets FSU claims from its maximum allotment of 10,000.

If FSU tickets are sold as individual game tickets, they will be priced at $89. UNC single game tickets will be sold for $29. So fans paying the $108 for the two-game package will essentially be paying $10 below face value for the two games.

The “go to fewer games” slogan was the brainchild of longtime sports executive Jon Spoelstra, father of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

Jon Spoelstra, who has been consulting with UM, used that marketing strategy, with successful results, when he worked for the Portland Trail Blazers and with minor-league baseball teams in Dayton, Ohio, and Staten Island, N.Y.

But Freet conceded “one of the scary things” is that no other college football program, to his knowledge, has tried this marketing approach because most leverage season tickets the entire offseason “rather than offering smaller packages that might work best for busy families and fans in their market place.”

What has been the reaction nationally to the “Go to Fewer Games” ad?

Freet said some UM fans and donors initially questioned the strategy but many of them understood when UM explained it.

“People read it and say it makes sense,” Freet said. “It’s a strategic plan for growth. We don’t have the manpower and funding to effectively target seven games. So the thinking was, let’s just crush FSU and UNC and the momentum of that will help.”

Capacity for the FSU and UNC games will be 75,000. For the other five home games, tarps will cover a portion of the upper bowl, limiting capacity to 67,000.

UM expects more than 60,000 will attend the Pittsburgh game because all of the university’s 10,000-plus employees can buy as many as four tickets for $3.

UM will carry this marketing strategy over to the 2015 season, when it will target the Clemson, Nebraska and Virginia Tech games for potential sellouts.

### Single game tickets to the other five home games will go on sale in August. The lowest-priced seats will be $19 for Florida A&M and Arkansas State and $29 for Duke, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

### Parking for UM games will be priced at $15 to $25 in advance or $20 to $30 on game days. UM and Sun Life Stadium negotiate that rate and share the revenue.

### This week’s pledge by two-star outside linebacker/defensive end Claude George gives UM 16 oral commitments heading into a 21-day dead period.

Of those 16, UM has no five-star recruits but four are four-star recruits, according to rivals.com: running backs Jordan Cronkite and Dexter Williams (who is still looking at other schools) and defensive end Scott Patchan (who already has made clear his distaste for players who drop their Canes commitments to commit elsewhere).

### Former UM safety Kacy Rodgers, who signed with Kansas City, said UM fans have been asking him about his offseason tweet -- “It’s crazy what you can accomplish once you leave a negative environment” --- but insisted he wasn’t taking a shot at UM. (His explanation that he was talking about his own frame of mind wasn’t especially convincing.)

Though some perceived his comment to be a shot at defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio (who can be hard on players), he said it was not: “Coach D’Onofrio does a great job.”

### After committing to UM and then de-committing on Twitter and then committing again, Michael Wyche is finally on campus, so UM fans can feel some sense of relief.

Wyche, from East Los Angeles Community College, needs to start, or at the very least be an impact player, on a defensive line that needs all the help it can get at tackle. UM has tried to convince everyone that Earl Moore and some of the other disappointing tackles improved in the spring, but we need to see it in a game.     

Comments

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2 watt

still need
a qb

TGH

The U should move their games to the new Marlins stadium its beautiful.

TGH

Its amazing how EVERYONE in the NBA is kissing LeBrons' butt. I wouldn't mind if the Heat cut everyone that opted out and rebuilt with younger, hungrier players.

TGH

Tannehill = John Beck 2.0

Sam Jacobs

Mark Walton and Dwayne Lawson are also 4 star recruits, depending on the recruiting website.

Used to be a great place

I remember when bad opponents drew 40k fans to UM games. How SFla has changed..and not for the better

Marios

SOUNDS LIKE A TERRIBLE MARKETING CAMPAIGN.

Dom

when the canes win, the games sell out -Its Miami, always been that way. Have a top 10 season, go 10-2 and a good bowl, and next year you will see the excitement come back.

2 watt

yes
tgh let him
go to the knicks
they are making his
sneakers
in knicks colors

80's-90's Cane Fan... "BACK" ? I'll believe it when I see it.

other five home games: Florida A&M on Sept. 6, Arkansas State on Sept. 13, Duke on Sept. 27, Cincinnati on Oct. 11 and Pittsburgh on Nov. 29.

Miami ought to pay us fans to go see these garbage games.

cane4life

Winning will bring the fans out that's a proven fact...it's too much to do in Miami other than look at your team get beat down no matter what sport it is....i am a die hard CANE fan....so al golden an staff need to win.......winning is promotion in sports as a matter of fact it's actually a Best Seller.....go canes 2014....

Reality Bites

"The goal of this strategy is to get us to two sellouts” --- which would be more than past years -"


Pathetic but true.


"Over the years, UM has struggled to sell tickets against non-marquee opponents"

Stating the obvious, only FSU, UF or Notre Dame will sell out the rent a stadium


"it didn’t make sense to put a lot of time and money into promoting its other five home games: Florida A&M on Sept. 6, Arkansas State on Sept. 13, Duke on Sept. 27, Cincinnati on Oct. 11 and Pittsburgh on Nov. 29."


Of course who wants to see those scrubs, besides at least one of them will rise up to beat the sorry canes.


"UM believes that if it can sell out the FSU game (that has a good chance of happening) and the UNC game (which will be a tougher sell), then fans will be more inclined to buy season tickets in 2015."

Yeah right, the FSU game sells itself, thanks to FSU fans. UM has nothing to do with that game selling out.

"Jon Spoelstra, who has been consulting with UM, used that marketing strategy, with successful results, when he worked for the Portland Trail Blazers and with minor-league baseball teams in Dayton, Ohio, and Staten Island, N.Y.

But Freet conceded “one of the scary things” is that no other college football program, to his knowledge, has tried this marketing approach"


No other college football program has the bandwagon, fairweather, front runner small following that the sorry canes do. This startegy works for minor league baseball teams and minor league college football programs

"Capacity for the FSU and UNC games will be 75,000. For the other five home games, tarps will cover a portion of the upper bowl, limiting capacity to 67,000."

The return of the tarp
Tarps R US
67k seats for the other 5 games is way too generous you will be lucky to have butts sitting in half those seats

"UM expects more than 60,000 will attend the Pittsburgh game because all of the university’s 10,000-plus employees can buy as many as four tickets for $3."

So you have 40k $3 tix available for all home games
yet you fail to reach 30k on the average Saturday.
You will have to resort to paying people to go to the games, but you have already done that in the past and it still doesn't work.


"Wyche, from East Los Angeles Community College, needs to start, or at the very least be an impact player, on a defensive line that needs all the help it can get at tackle"

In recruiting news the sorry canes need to count on a schitzo freshman to come in and be the man on the D line from the get go. Sounds like another last place ACC defensive ranking to me.
What happened to the 17 TEs Golden was gonna convert to DTs?

Reality for cane clown is much more pathetic than fiction.

Go Heat!

Not our rival

Hush nerd, no one reads your sad mean spirited nonsense, get a life, UM is not Florida's rival, Florida is not UM's rival.

Florida State is UM’s rival. Florida State is Florida’s rival. Florida State is the defending state, national, and recruiting champion.

There are zero comments from FSU fans or about FSU on this website because there was a UF blog and no FSU blog here for many years.

Your trolling has 100% to do with internet nerdery and 0% with real life college football.

In real life college football we smashed your team last year and aren’t scheduled to play again.

Not our rival

BTW, UM's attendance isn't down.

It's always been bad.

They had more people come for Savannah State last year than for Rutgers, Troy State, and Temple in the OB during the 2001 championship season.

Miami fans don't go to bad games. It's always been that way, always will be that way.

Makes sense to target UNC.

 u are u ... DelUsional  pUhhhthic u...

Posted by: Reality Bites | 06/30/2014 at 05:34 PM

AMEN ...

Not our rival

Posted by: u are u ... DelUsional pUhhhthic u... | 06/30/2014 at 06:45 PM

u have been doing this for years on the UM blog.

u are even sadder than Reality Bites.

 u are u ... DelUsional non rival u

Hush nerd, no one reads your sad mean spirited nonsense, get a life, UM is not Florida's rival, Florida is not UM's rival.

Florida State is UM’s rival. Florida State is Florida’s rival. Florida State is the defending state, national, and recruiting champion.

There are zero comments from FSU fans or about FSU on this website because there was a UF blog and no FSU blog here for many years.

Your trolling has 100% to do with internet nerdery and 0% with real life college football.

In real life college football we smashed your team last year and aren’t scheduled to play again.

Posted by: Not our rival | 06/30/2014 at 06:17 PM

.

for someone that "Doesn't" read TRuTHFuLL trolling responses... u sure respond with loooonnnngggg drwln out responses lil mr not our rival...

what say u ?

IMAWriter

"Freet said some UM fans and donors initially questioned the strategy but many of them understood when UM explained it."
---------------------
We songwriters have an axiom " if you have to EXPLAIN what a song is all about, it's a BAD SONG."
I've also spent my early years in advertising, and this sort of campaign reeks like the long ago "My-oh-My-Miami."

Miami is not exactly a Mecca for creative thought. I know this, as I was born there, and spent my first 21 years there.

My advice to my alma mater is HIRE A NY OR LA AD AGENCY.

Not our rival

I didn't read a single word of his mean spirited trolling nonsense.

You'll notice I don't address anything he writes, I don't care a bit about the Florida Gators or what an internet troll thinks about UM.

I just hate that this internet nerdery has polluted the best blog on the Herald.

Big mo

lol I love reading lonley gator fans comments on this blog. We live in there heads, we are all they think about lol. How old are these guys? It must suck for them to know that while they type all that nonsense on thier Commodore 64 inside that spacious doublewide we never think about them. Only when they type all this funny stuff

THEREALTRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HEY PEEPS..THIS IS THE 411 0N THE HEAT...THIS IS COMIN STRAIGHT FROM JAMES FAM....LEBRON WANTS TO GO BACK TO THE CAVS..HE'S NOT INTO WINNING RINGS AS MUCH AS YOU GUYS THINK..HE WENT TO THE HEAT FOR 2 YEARS..THATS WHAT HE WANTED..WHEN HE GOT A RING IN HIS SECOND YEAR HE WANTED TO STAY ONE MORE YEAR..TO GET BACK TO BACK..THAN WHEN THEY GOT 2 THEY THE HEAT CLAN SAID YOU SHOULD GO FOR 3..HE SAID YES ONE MORE YEAR..NOW TIMES UP..LEBRON ISN'T TOO MUCH INTO B-BALL AS YOU GUYS THINK HE IS..WHAT MAKES HIM A LITTLE MORE INTO B-BALL IS GETTING FRIENDS AND NEW PLAYERS AROUND HIM..HE HATES MIAMI...WADE IS THE ONE WHO'S TRYING TO CONVINCE HIM TO STAY AND GOT HIM HERE..WADE IS THE GUY THAT WANTS TO BE POPULAR AND HAS THE REAL EGO..LEBRON SAYS WADE ISN'T TOO WASHED UP ..HE HOLDS BACK SO LEBRON CAN BE HAPPY..HE SAYS THAT ALONZO IS THE REAL GUY THAT'S RUNS THE HEAT..HE'S ALWAYS IN THE PLAYERS FACES AND CALLS PLAYERS EVERYDAY...THEY GETING SICK OF HIM..HE SAYS MICKEY ARRISON SON BRINGS WOMAN TO THE PLAYERS..HE SAYS THAT THE HEAT GOT HIS MOM A MAN A CUBAN GUY...AND THAT GOT HIM MAD/// WADE AND BOSH ARE TRYING TO FREE UP MONEY TO KEEP JAMES HERE SO THEY CAN GET HIM MORE FRIENDS ON THE TEAM..ALSO WHEN JAMES LEFT THE TABLE FROM THE OWNER A WEEK AGO..THAT WAS RIGHT..LEBRON DOESN'T WANNA OR IS GONNA TAKE A PAY CUT..WADE AND BOSH WILL HAVE TO TAKE A HUGE CUT AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN JAMES IS GONNA BE BACK EITHER,,LEBRONS WIFE DOESN'T LIKE THE FAKE PEOPLE OF MIAMI..SHE HATES WADE CAUSE HE CONVINCE BRON TO COME HERE..AND MADE HIM LOOK BAD TO HIS FAMILY HERE IN CLEVELAND..HE'S SATASFIED WITH GETTIN 2 RINGS ALREADY...HE DOES LOVE MONEY..SO HEAT FANS DON'T BE SURPRISE HE LEAVES OR WADE OR BOSH HAS TO LEAVE SO HE CAN GET MORE FRIENDS ON THE TEAM..AND HE WANTS A FRIEND LIKE MELO WHO CAN PLAY NOT BARGINS EITHER..

Timmy's NutSack

Hey Nerd

21-16

4-8 NO BOWL

7 GAME LOSING STREAK

PLAYERS BLOCK EACH OTHER IN GAMES

LOST TO DIV2 GA SOUTHERN AT HOME WHO LOST TO WOFFORD

PRESEASON WAS RANKED TOP TEN....OOOOF

rboud

Wade needs to take a substantial cut in pay. After all, he'll probably sit out at least a third of the season again next year. Bosh also needs to take a cut, but not near the amount that Wade needs to cut. LeBron deserves a maximum contract.

Hey Barry - You're right about UM's returning D-tackles. I'll believe they are really improved only when I see it on the field. UM is in trouble on defense if these returning linemen don't improve significantly.

 Cellar Fins

A 32 yr old Colledge is no part of the rebuild. These guys havent learned that bandaids dont help long term. SHEESH!

 Cellar Fins

The stinkin Gators are always scared to play the U.

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