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UM says its expects to keep Golden; Heat notes; Even LeBron gets carded

A few things from Orlando, where the Heat is playing the Magic tonight:


### UM athletic director Blake James texted The Herald’s Susan Miller Degnan and a couple of other UM beat writers saying he expects Golden to remain UM’s coach.

"I believe he will be our coach going forward," James said.

But in an e-mail to The Herald, UM president Donna Shalala said: "We don't know anything yet."

Golden and James have been in contact several times over the past two days, and UM was fully aware that Golden was considering overtures from Penn State. ESPN reported that Golden met with Penn State

officials today.

Still, Golden has not made any public comment. He is tentatively scheduled to hold a season-ending UM news conference on Monday.

Earlier today, WINZ’s Andy Slater reported that Golden planned to inform his team today that he was leaving for PennState. But multiple parents of UM players said no meeting has been called.

Even though Golden attended Penn State, his family loves living here, and that figures to be one of the factors he at least considers.

### One of UM’s key oral commitments, defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, said he is de-committing from UM because the coaching situation is unresolved. He said he now leans toward LSU but won’t

decide until National Signing Day Feb. 5.



Coach Erik Spoelstra reiterated Saturday how much he values guard Roger Mason Jr., which would suggest Mason has a good chance to survive this week’s deadline when contracts become guaranteed for the remainder of the season.

But Spoelstra was non-committal when asked whether Mason will be with the team past the deadline, and Mason has been given no assurances. “We’ll see what happens,” Spoelstra said.

Contracts will become guaranteed for the season on Friday, but Mason’s contract essentially would become guaranteed if he remains on the team past Tuesday, because of the 48-hour waiver period.

Michael Beasley, the only other Heat player with a non-guaranteed deal, assuredly will remain with the team past the deadline. So if Mason isn’t released, the Heat would need to eat a contract or make a trade if it decides to add a player during the remainder of the season.

Spoelstra made clear he views Mason as an important piece, though he appeared in just 14 of the Heat’s first 32 games.

“We don’t take him for granted,” Spoelstra said. “Roger is gaining more confidence with each game he plays, with our system. Those kind of guys are hard to find. To be able to understand the big picture and be available when we need him and to be able to produce and to not be cluttered in the mind, I think a lot of teams would love to have a guy like him.”

Mason, who is averaging 4.3 points and shooting 41.2 percent, would make $1.27 million if he remains on the team all season.

The looming deadline “is not something I concern myself with,” he said. “I haven’t talked to anybody about it. I signed here with the intention of winning a championship.”

Last season, the Heat released center Josh Harrellson before the deadline, then signed him to a 10-day contract after he cleared waivers, before parting ways. The Heat ultimately used that roster spot to add Chris Anderson, while also signing Jarvis Varnado with another open spot.

### Dwyane Wade, who has played both games in a back-to-back set only once this season, said he would play Saturday but was non-committal about whether he would play Sunday against Toronto, adding it will be based on how his knees feel.

### Shane Battier missed Saturday’s game because of soreness in his quadriceps.

### LeBron James, who is eight years above the legal drinking limit at 29, was carded at an Orlando hotel bar Friday night while watching the Orange Bowl.

James didn’t tell the employee who he was but was surprised to be carded. “Look at my beard!” he said.

### Spoelstra decided not to start Ray Allen in the 13 games that Wade missed last season and the first five he skipped this season because he wanted Allen to adjust to his bench role without disruption.

But Spoelstra changed that approach a few weeks ago, and Allen started the last three games that Wade missed. He played very well in his first three starts, averaging 15.3 points on 62.5 percent shooting while logging 28.7 minutes per game – about three more than he usually does.

“We were a little bit on autopilot for a couple years,” Spoelstra said. “We knew what we were doing [when Wade was out] and that guy was Mike Miller. Our bench is different this year, has a little more punch. We thought it would give us more consistency with Ray there and it didn’t hurt us as much on the bench.”

Allen came off the bench only eight times in his first 16 seasons.     

### Please check back late tonight for the Sunday buzz, including lots of Dolphins, plus Canes, Heat and Marlins.