Quick update: On the day of the Cavaliers' victory parade, LeBron James, moments ago, told Cleveland.com and other media outlets that he has no plans to leave the Cavs. That comes a month after Stephen A. Smith reported that James might return to the Heat if the Cavs won the title.
"I love it here. I love being here. I love my teammates," James told cleveland.com, moments before he boarded a float at The Q for the Cavs' championship parade through downtown Cleveland. "Obviously my agent will take care of all the logistical things but, I'm happy. I've got no plans to go nowhere at this point....This is the happiest time in my life right now."
And when USA Today's Jeff Zilgitt asked James if he's returning to Cleveland next season, he smiled and nodded yes.
"I love it here in Cleveland; I have no intentions of leaving," James told ESPN.
WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Adam Gase had just been named Denver’s offensive coordinator after the 2012 season when he was chatting with then-Colts stars Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis at the Pro Bowl.
Gase knew he would be running an offense led by Peyton Manning, and Wayne and Mathis “were both like, ‘You’ve got no chance; Peyton is going to eat you up,’” Gase recalled last week, smiling.
“I said, ‘I appreciate your confidence.’”
Not only did Gase bond with Manning and earn his respect, but Gase called plays for a Denver offense that became the first in NFL history to surpass 600 points. And he made such an impression on Manning that the legendary quarterback dropped by Dolphins headquarters to visit him earlier this offseason.
Now Gase is trying to extract more from Ryan Tannehill the same way he did with Tim Tebow and Jay Cutler.
Matt Moore offered some insight last week into exactly how Gase is doing that.
Gase’s approach – besides extremely detailed teaching – also includes pushing Tannehill to his limits but also giving him more freedom than he has ever had.
Gase tries to distract Tannehill and the other quarterbacks during drills by behaving like a rambunctious child who had too much sugar.
While the quarterbacks throw sometimes, Gase is “throwing bags at you or big balls, just making you move,” Moore said. “He’s flashing up signs, using his hands, usually numbers or thumbs up.”
Sort of like the crazy guy behind the basket when the opposing team shoots free throws.
“All of these things he does while doing a drill, it’s stuff that translates to your game naturally and that’s what you want as a quarterback,” Moore said. “There is always some crazy drill. Always a competition. He’s big on accuracy and footwork.”
During practice, Gase likes to put Tannehill and the other quarterbacks in a bunch of difficult situations: 4th and 10, facing unexpected blitzes and anything they could possibly encounter in a game.
“He puts a lot of pressure on you,.. makes practice hard,” rookie quarterback Brandon Doughty said. “You have a microphone in your helmet. [Gase] doesn’t really say much. He gives you a play and lets you roll. I thought during practice he would say, ‘The blitz is coming to the right, let’s check this.’ He doesn’t give you much, which is good, because he’s not going to be out there on game day.”
As Gase noted last week, “I put a lot on [Tannehill’s] plate. It’s almost to the point where it’s probably too much this fast. I want to see where the breaking point is. He’s been doing a good job of responding.”
Not only is Gase giving Tannehill more freedom to change the plays than Joe Philbin, Mike Sherman, Bill Lazor, Dan Campbell or anyone else ever did, but Moore says much of the playbook is now available to Tannehill at the line of scrimmage.
“Maybe it’s not the entire playbook but there’s a lot of things we can get to very quickly,” Moore said. “[Gase] really instills in your mind that if there’s something you don’t like, you can get into it or out of it at your will. We have a lot of answers to a lot of different looks. If Ryan sees something he likes, it’s very easy to get to it. That’s probably the biggest thing…
“The whole offense can be done at the line of scrimmage. It’s very simple to get from one thing to another. In other offenses, it’s small packages or a couple plays here or there. Everything is on the table at all times” now.
No wonder Tannehill has seemingly never been happier.
“The offense is great,” he said. “I spent a lot of time trying to understand exactly what to do, where I’m supposed to go with the ball, protection adjustments. I’ve made some mistakes, but I’m learning and getting better every day.”
This also has become apparent: As far as head coaches go, Gase is the most hands-on teacher with quarterbacks that the Dolphins have had in many years.
“He’s very, very involved big time [in teaching],” Doughty said. On the final night of the offseason program last week, “we met with him an hour and half just going over what they did in Denver, what they did in Chicago, looking at clips and being very methodical about things. He knows what he wants and he will get it out of you.”
• Though the Heat will have difficulty clearing out enough cap space to keep Luol Deng (if it can re-sign top priority Hassan Whiteside), there are emotional factors that appeal to Deng.
“Not only did I enjoy playing [here], but it's an amazing city,” he said. “So much to do. Everywhere you go, people really love the Heat and appreciate what you do. Here, people notice how hard you play and how hard you work, and for me that's always been who I've been.”
A Josh McRoberts trade (with no contractual commitments coming back to Miami) could allow the Heat to make a competitive offer for Deng.
• The New York Daily News says if Heat target Kevin Durant leaves Oklahoma City, Golden State is his preference and Durant will meet with suitors in Los Angeles after July 1.
• Jose Fernandez said by skipping one more start this season (besides one last week), that will allow him to pitch in postseason if the Marlins make it.
• Marlins president/baseball operations Michael Hill says the team sees 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee when it watches prep left-hander Braxton Garrett, who it drafted seventh overall earlier this month. Miami is very optimistic it will be able to sign Garrett, who committed (non-binding) to Vanderbilt.
• The Marlins are looking for starting pitching help, and as Fox reported, one name they’ve discussed is Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.63). But the Marlins know they don't have a lot of appealing assets to trade for a high-end pitcher.
• Mo Smith, rated the No. 12 cornerback in the 2013 class, is leaving Alabama as an immediately-eligible grad transfer and he and Miami are in the exploratory stages on each other, though Smith is assuredly exploring a lot of options and it’s too early to tell if anything will develop from this.
UM’s cornerback depth is shaky; Smith had 38 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 41 games at Alabama, including two starts. He played mostly special teams last season but worked in the slot in spring ball at Alabama this year.
• Sophomore linebacker James King, who played sparingly for Miami, has left the program. The former two-star prospect from Booker T. Washington wasn’t expected to play much.
• Before Turtle Thomas and FIU parted ways last week, we mentioned that FIU would have interest in UM pitching coach J.D. Arteaga if its baseball coaching job came open. And CaneInsight's Peter Ariz, who is doing some work for The Herald, says Arteaga has emerged as the front-runner for the job.
• ESPN draft analyst Fran Fraschilla says it’s a toss-up whether UM guard Sheldon McClellan will be one of 60 players drafted Thursday.
“What will keep him out if he's not drafted is teams may not see a high ceiling for him because he's going to be 24 [in December],” Fraschilla said. “I had him in my top 60. He gets a little bit underappreciated because of his age, because he's a transfer. His strengths are his experience, positional size, ability to shoot the ball and the fact he's been well coached at two different places [UM and Texas].
"I don't want to compare him to [the Heat’s] Josh Richardson because I don’t think anyone saw this coming with Josh. Unlike Josh, he’s not a [point guard]. I don’t think Sheldon is a great ball-handler.”
Fraschilla said UM’s Tonye Jekiri and Angel Rodriguez are “long shots to be in the NBA. Angel would have to go to school on J.J. Barea [and become that type of player]. I think both Angel and Tonye will be in the [NBA’s] summer league. Tonye has got the requisite size. His strength is on defensive end as a rim protector. Chances are slim for Jekiri to make an NBA team but not impossible.”
The Heat said it hasn’t done anything individually with the UM players but has carefully scouted each of them.
• The NBA Finals finished with an 18.5 rating here (18.5 percent of Miami/Fort Lauderdale homes with TV sets; fifth among 56 major markets). That compares with our 38.1 rating for this year's Super Bowl (lowest among the 56 big markets), 6.5 for the 2015 World Series (43rd) and 1.2 for this month's Stanley Cup (46th).
Twitter: @flasportsbuzz.. For an explanation on the complex contract situation of Tyler Johnson, plus some interesting comments from Dwyane Wade and some ESPN news from today, please click here.