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NBA coaches assess Heat's moves; Heat summer-league notes; More UM/MLS stadium news; UM recruiting


In my conversations with several NBA head coaches at the Las Vegas Summer League this week, there was unanimous praise for the Heat’s recent personnel moves. Some of the feedback:

### On veteran guard Gerald Green, who signed for $1.4 million: Sacramento coach George Karl: “Explosive guy coming off the bench. Can blow a game open. He reminds me a lot of J.R. Smith when I had J.R. in Denver. Sometimes you don’t like how he plays. Sometimes he’ll drive you a little crazy.

“But in the same sense, he has a power for a bench player that has All-Star talent. Now he doesn’t put it on the court every night. [But] when you have the ability to put it on the court every other game, that’s still a great weapon to have. I think [Heat coach] Erik [Spoelstra] will use him really well.”

New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry called Green “one of those guys that can change a game. You saw that in Phoenix. Once you get him started, it’s hard to slow him down. The way they’re going to push the basketball, he can be a huge factor there.”

Golden State coach Steve Kerr agreed: “Green can score big time, can light it up in a hurry. He got it going against us a couple times.”

Even though Green takes difficult shots at times, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, Green’s coach the past two seasons, said “you’ve got to let him go, got to let him play, because that’s when he’s at his best. He can shoot from anywhere on the court. He can pull up from deep, 30 feet out. He can get extremely hot. Can put up a lot of points quickly.”

Hornacek previously was critical of Green’s defense last season but says he has the capability to play well in that area: “Almost everyone on this level is athletic. If they put their minds to defense, they can play.” He said it’s “typical of any player” to be more engaged defensively when he’s playing well offensively and that applies to Green.

### The coaches agreed Amar’e Stoudemire, who signed with Miami for $1.5 million, can still make a difference at 32.

“I would be surprised if he can’t give them good minutes, maybe 20 minutes [a game],” Karl said. “Remember Amar’e was one of the first guys who played in the pick and roll game, whatever we call now, that spacing game with a shooting four.

"This kid three or four years ago was one of the best players in basketball. It’s a great pickup. I’m rooting for him. A lot of guys in the NBA are rooting for him that he stays healthy.”

Hornacek: “Amar’e scored 16 points on us pretty easily last year. He’s a veteran guy, knows how to get the ball in the basket. Veteran guys can play a long time. You won’t get the Amar’e you got 10 years ago,
but he’s still pretty good….

Gentry: “Oh yeah [he has something left]. He had a good year last year. He can still get out and run. He can’t do it like he did six, eight years ago but no one else can.”

### The coaches hadn’t seen a lot of Justise Winslow, whose minutes have been limited, but Hornacek said: “I love their two draft picks. That will be big for them, too. Josh Richardson is a very good defender.”


With Justise Winslow and Shabazz Napier sidelined by ankle injuries, the Heat completed summer league play in Las Vegas by squandering a 51-26 halftime lead and losing 73-68 to the Kings in overtime at The Thomas & Mack Center.

Miami, which was outscored 27-1 to start the third quarter, finished 1-4 in Las Vegas after going 5-0 in Orlando.

Guard Josh Richardson, Miami's second-round pick, scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half, closing 8 for 18 from the field and with four steals.

Forward James Ennis (13 points, 9 rebounds) continued to struggle with his jump shot (4 for 16 from the field, 0 for 8 on three-pointers) and committed seven turnovers.

Winslow ended up missing three of the five games in Las Vegas (because of general soreness, the ankle injury and an appearance at the ESPY awards) and played  only 23 combined minutes in the other two.

Heat assistant Dan Craig, who coached Miami's summer league team, said Winslow was too sore to play today.

Queried by national reporters afterward, Winslow said: “I’m looking forward to winning championships. We have the talent to do it…. I can impact the game in so many ways… Summer league really helped me mentally.”

Winslow’s final summer league numbers, including four games in Orlando and six overall: 9.0 points per game, 34 percent shooting from the field (14 for 41), 3 for 12 on three-pointers, 12 turnovers and nine assists.

Napier’s final summer league numbers, in four games: 17 points per game, 36.5 percent shooting (19 for 52), 5 for 14 on three-pointers, 18 assists and 11 turnovers. Napier said he's happy how he played.

Ennis, incidentally, closed summer league with unfortunate numbers: 29.7 percent shooting (19 for 64), just 2 for 23 on threes, 23 turnovers and 11 assists.


### So what's the next step for UM and MLS? City manager Danny Alfonso said both sides will draw up a non-binding letter of intent in the coming days to build a stadium on the site next to Marlins Park.

Alfonso said negotiations will then begin between David Beckham's group and the city. One key point that must be resolved: how and how much Beckham's group will compensate the city for using what's primarily city land for the stadium.

Alfonso said Beckham's group reiterated today that it will pay for construction and also buy out a few private landowners who have property on the proposed stadium site.

As for UM's potential involvement, here's what we wrote in our last post a few hours ago in case you missed it (if you already read it, please scroll down to next item):

David Beckham’s group announced today that it is moving forward with plans for a 25,000-seat soccer stadium near Marlins Park and that UM is not involved “at this time” but that it is still talking to UM and open to more discussions in the future.

So why has the UM/Beckham joint stadium not materialized?

Stadium size appears to be the biggest obstacle.

According to a source close to MLS, when MLS and UM have spoken in recent weeks, MLS has made clear that a 25,000-seat stadium works best for MLS.

UM has responded that it must have at least 40,000 seats in any stadium that it plays in. MLS has hasn’t gone as far as to tell UM that 40,000 isn’t do-able but has been non-committal on the topic. And Friday’s announcement reinforces Beckham’s desire for 25,000 seats.

“As I’ve said before, there isn’t a stadium option I would see working for our program that would have less than 40,000 seats,” UM athletic director Blake James said Friday.

Asked his reaction to MLS saying it plans to build a stadium and is moving forward without UM for now, James said: “It’s an exciting day for soccer fans in the South Florida area. I congratulate them on moving forward. With that said, we are in a contract with Sun Life Stadium and are excited to open our season there on Sept. 5, in many ways in a brand new stadium that will enhance our fan experience.”

Would James have interest in continuing to talk to MLS about a joint MLS/UM football stadium?

“I will always keep all  options open,” James said. “My preference is for the University of Miami to have the best home for football and right now that is Sun Life Stadium.”

Though an MLS source said Beckham’s group would like UM to contribute toward construction costs, a source said Beckham’s group has never made a specific financial request to UM or even given UM any specific proposal for a 40,000-seat stadium.

One possibility: Build a 25,000-seat stadium now with the potential to make it 40,000 later.

Even if MLS and UM could resolve the stadium size, UM’s lease with Sun Life is another significant obstacle.

UM has 17 years on the lease, and the Dolphins are of the mindset to ask UM for a financial buyout if they tried to bolt, according to a source with direct knowledge. The Dolphins were not pleased when former president Donna Shalala said she wants to leave Sun Life Stadium.

So even though UM and MLS have stayed in contact in recent weeks, talks have not progressed to the stage of negotiations.

Beckham’s group hopes to be playing here in 2018.

### So just how good is the group of 22 UM football oral commitments for 2016?

Some say it’s outstanding; others say UM reached on a few players. Rivals.com and ESPN both rank UM’s class fifth nationally.

“It’s really good; and remember, a lot of Internet sites will drop a kid that commits early because they can’t make money off committed kids,” longtime recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said.

“[Receiver] Sam Bruce is outstanding. Jack Allison is the best quarterback in the state. Joseph Jackson looks like he will become an All-American at defensive end; he already looks like he belongs in the NFL.

"Tyler Byrd can be an outstanding safety. Dionte Mullins, Amir Rasul and Ahmmon Richards are great athletes, can play both ways. Shaquille Quarterman reminds me of linebackers Miami had 20 years ago; a real thumper who can play right away. Miami would be top 10-15 even if they don’t sign anyone else.”

The risk, of course, is how many will de-commit before National Signing Day.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz