Heat coach Erik Spoelstra spoke today with me and four other writers.
A quick look at some of his thoughts:
### On missing the playoffs last season: "I take full ownership of what happened last year. There are some things I would have done differently. I take responsibility. It should be on my shoulders. I’m not running away from that. My energy and focus is on this team. Big expectations, and that’s the way we like it."
### On his long offseason: "It was strange. I went on vacation in May. Was able to surprise my mother for Mother’s Day. Wasn’t able to do that for 20 years. Was able to visit Portland twice. Get away twice to clear my head, recharge and take on the challenge of this new season. I wouldn’t want that every year. But it was fantastic this summer."
### On getting engaged: "From a personal standpoint, great summer. Right time, right person. We’re excited about it." No date has been set.
### He met with other coaches and business executives as part of personal growth this summer but declined to give details.
"I kept a little more quiet this year. Met with people in multiple sports, business leaders in different fields. I didn’t speak to 100 people. It was big time growth for all of us. Time to reflect on the last seven years and also for the players. Guys are refreshed."
### Spoelstra said: "We are going to try to build a team tough defensively. We will defend with physicality, rebound the basketball. We have to potential to do those things."
### He confirmed the Heat will try to run more or as he would say, play with pace.
"It might not as be as conventional as what you think. If you asked 10 NBA people what that means, 10 NBA people would define that 10 different ways. The word I am using is pace. We want to play with an adequate amount of pace. This team has to get the ball up the floor, get into our actions with decisiveness, clarity and pace. Whether than translates into us being in the top 3 of fast break points, it may or may not. It will benefit us to get into our spacing, play with pace. Playing with a slower, methodical pace doesn’t do that as efficiently."
"I’m putting 5 basketball players out there. that’s how we’re going to play [regardless of position]. Some of our perimeter players are better in the basket area and near the paint. Some of our bigger players are better outside the paint. We are going to try to leverage that, whether you call that positionless, That’s what we’re going to try to do.
"We will play some conventional basketball in some peoples’ eyes. Other times, we’ll be able to use versatility and flexibility of our roster to play positionless. Our practices and roster will tell us. I’m very open minded going into this season."
### He said Chris Bosh "has been working out. We fully expect him to be cleared for contact for camp."
### Spoelstra, on Josh McRoberts, coming off knee surgery last December: "I’ve been encouraged with his summer. He’s also trained very hard. We’ve been in constant communication. He’s moving fluidly. He’s stronger than he’s ever been in a Miami Heat uniform. In terms of moving and getting on the court, he’s been able to do that for a while. He will be cleared but we will be judicious with how much he does."
### On his crowded group of power rotation players, which includes six established veterans: "We like the talent. We like the depth. We like the experience. We like the skill set with that front line and the expectations that brings."
### On Dwyane Wade, Spoelstra said there will be no restrictions on his minutes: "I can’t imagine coaching a Miami Heat team without Dwyane....Dwyane has to be our leader. He has grown in that role and with new veteran players, everyone just naturally turns to Dwyane. And they turn to CB and UD. I’m very pleased with his summer, with his leadership, where his peace of mind is right now. I’m looking forward to working with him."
### On Amare Stoudemire and Gerald Green: "If you had told me a year ago we would have an opportunity to sign both those players, I would have said that’s not realistic. We recruited Amare in 2010 and were fans of his game back then. His game has evolved and he has found a niche and a role the last couple of years we definitely can take advantage of.
"Gerald Green is an explosive player. Those type of game changing players are tough to find in this league. He has been very committed to get to know us and also be in a great shape. To be part of a championship culture and a team with high expectations. I told him you put on this jersey, there are different expectations. He loves the challenge of that."
### On Mario Chalmers: "Last year, Mario was a combo player coming off the bench. Now he’s a backup point guard."
### On Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson: "We don't want to overload their mind. I want them to learn our culture and our system. The rest will take care of itself."
Please see the last post for a lot on the Dolphins, Canes, Marlins and Panthers and check back later for more Heat. Twitter: @flasportsbuzz