The Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat don’t start their playoff series until Saturday, but things are already getting juicy between the two sides.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday had some trash talk for the Heat.
“I feel like talent-wise, we have a bit more of that,” said the veteran Holiday, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The Bucks certainly have a formidable roster headlined by reigning back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Complementing Antetokounmpo is a stout crew of ex-All-Stars as well in Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez. But the Heat are not lacking in the talent department either led by stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Former All-NBA guard Goran Dragic, former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, and sharpshooters Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro also round out a very balanced rotation for Miami.
Many are looking forward to the rematch between these two teams after Miami upset Milwaukee with a gentleman’s sweep in last year’s playoffs. While Holiday is only in his first season with Milwaukee, he is diving headfirst into the growing Heat-Bucks rivalry.
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A week ago, Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler was critical of his team after a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. After the Heat dropped another game to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Butler struck a more conciliatory note.
Butler said after Friday’s game that he would “ride with these guys ’til wheels fall off,” pointing the finger at himself for not doing enough to help the team.
“We’ve got to be in this thing together, which we are,” Butler said, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “We’ve had lapses where I could do more. I got to show that I could do more.”
It’s a different tone than the one Butler used a week earlier. At the time, he was sharply critical of the team’s play, and the comments even raised questions about chemistry issues. As honest as those original comments were, Butler’s handling of this latest loss is probably better for team morale, at least publicly.
The Heat sit seventh in the Eastern Conference after Friday’s loss, putting them in danger of landing in a play-in spot just one year after reaching the NBA Finals.
Bam Adebayo played a role for the Miami Heat on Sunday that Dwyane Wade is quite familiar with, and the big man gave his former teammate a great shoutout after coming up huge in the clutch.
Adebayo hit a jumper at the buzzer to give the Heat a 109-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Some fans were in attendance at AmericanAirlines Arena, which made the game-winner that much more exciting.
Wade hit several game-winners during his Hall of Fame career with Heat, and his signature move was jumping on the scorer’s table afterword. Adebayo told ESPN after the game that he thought about doing that but isn’t quite ready for it yet.
Adebayo finished with a team-high 21 points and game-high 15 rebounds. He also played outstanding defense, holding the Nets to 3-of-17 shooting when he was the primary defender, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Wade was known to give a good shoutout after his game-winners, so it’s only right that Adebayo sent it full circle.
It’s quite obvious that the Miami Heat’s struggles this season are wearing very thin on Jimmy Butler.
Butler was sharply critical of the Heat after Friday’s surprising 119-111 loss to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, calling the team “soft” and afraid of physical play.
Butler might have a point. The Heat rank third-to-last in the NBA with 41.7 rebounds per game, while only Butler and Bam Adebayo average more than five per game.
The Heat have failed to build on last season’s NBA Finals appearance, and they sit just 28-28 while flirting with the play-in game. For the notoriously competitive Butler, that simply isn’t good enough, and he won’t be afraid to say it privately or publicly.
Dwyane Wade announced on Friday that he has purchased a stake in an NBA team, but that team was not the one with which he won three championships. Miami Heat owner Micky Arison admits he is not thrilled about that.
After Wade shared his big news, Arison took to Twitter to both congratulate the Heat legend and address the question many have asked — why didn’t Wade buy a stake in his former team? Arison said the Heat spoke with Wade about joining their ownership group when the 13-time All-Star retired in 2019, but Wade was not ready to commit at that time.
“I want to congratulate Dwyane on his recent announcement,” Arison wrote. “We had discussed having him join our ownership group after his retirement but he was not prepared to commit at the time. Of course I am disappointed that he didn’t reconsider. Having said that I wish him good luck and much success with the Jazz. To me Dwyane will always be a HEAT lifer.”
Wade also addressed the Heat questions.
“The respect I that I have for that organization will not go anywhere, the love that I have for the [Heat] fans — that goes nowhere,” he told ESPN. “But this is about the next phase of my life as an investor, a businessman, an entrepreneur. For me, this is an opportunity to grow.”
The biggest factor in Wade’s decision to buy into the Jazz was his relationship with majority owner Ryan Smith. The two developed a close relationship after Wade retired, and Wade said that is what made him want to be involved in Utah.
Of course, there were also some issues between Wade and Miami’s brass when he left the team in 2016, but Wade later returned and finished his career with the Heat. It’s unlikely that any of that tension contributed to his decision. He simply views the situation in Utah as a better one for him.
Kyle Lowry escaped from the Miami Heat’s clutches at the trade deadline buzzer, but the team may be hot on his trail once again this summer.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported Monday that the Heat could pivot back to the Toronto Raptors veteran if things do not work out with new acquisition Victor Oladipo. Both guards will be free agents in the offseason.
O’Connor notes that Lowry’s preference, if he had been traded, was to go to the Heat. This is because of his close friendship with Miami star Jimmy Butler, his former USA Basketball teammate.
The Heat may have some big money to spend on the upcoming free agent market. In addition to Oladipo, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson are on expiring contracts. Two other newcomers, Trevor Ariza and Nemanja Bjelica, are also on one-year deals. Meanwhile, both Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala carry team options for next season.
We know the 35-year-old Lowry came very close to landing with the Heat. Having just made the Finals last season led by Butler, another star who is in his 30s, Miami is a win-now team. That could be the perfect situation for Lowry as he gets closer to the end of his NBA career.
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The Miami Heat aren’t done trying to improve after making one of the bigger moves of the trade deadline.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Heat are expected to emerge as one of the frontrunners for LaMarcus Aldridge once he completes a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs.
Aldridge wasn’t traded ahead of Thursday’s deadline, which did not come as a huge shock. He’ll be one of the hottest names on the buyout market, as multiple contenders will want to make their pitch to him. Miami’s need for Aldridge could become more pressing after including forward Kelly Olynyk in the Victor Oladipo deal on Thursday.
Aldridge averaged 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this season for San Antonio. He hasn’t played since March 1st, when the Spurs decided to part ways with him.
After being linked to big moves all week, the Miami Heat have finally struck on trade deadline day.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Heat will acquire guard Victor Oladipo from the Houston Rockets. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported that the Rockets will receive Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk, as well as a draft pick swap in 2022.
The Heat have been aggressive all week in trade talks, and were among the teams pushing for Kyle Lowry. Oladipo and the Heat have been rumored to be a match for quite a while now, and he was a cheaper option than anyone else on the market while also having clear upside.
Oladipo was shipped from Indiana to Houston as part of the James Harden trade earlier this season. He averaged 21.2 points per game in 20 appearances for Houston. Health will be a question, but he figures to start in Miami’s backcourt and should provide extra scoring punch as Miami tries to position itself for another playoff run.
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Kyle Lowry is likely the best player available leading into Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline, and three contending teams may be competing with one another to acquire the Toronto Raptors star.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers have all been “seriously engaged” with Toronto in trade talks centering on Lowry. The Heat and Sixers were believed to be the two finalists earlier in the week, but the Lakers entered the mix late.
Miami may have the best chance to land Lowry if they’re willing to part with Tyler Herro, but a report this week claimed they may not be.
Lowry, 34, is averaging 17.6 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game this season. He is set to be a free agent after the season. Some believed he said goodbye to television cameras following the Raptors’ win on Wednesday night. You can see that video here.
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Kyle Lowry’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors for a few months, but he remains with Toronto ahead of the March 25 deadline. The Raptors are open to dealing him, and Miami has been mentioned as a possibility. There is just one issue.
SportsNet’s Michael Grange reported on Tuesday that Tyler Herro is the sticking point in a deal with the Heat. According to Grange, the Heat are willing to trade Duncan Robinson in a deal for Lowry, but not Herro.
A report on Monday said Miami was hoping to make some big moves before the deadline. But you can understand their reluctance to trade Herro.
The 21-year-old was their No. 13 overall pick in 2019. He averaged 13.5 points per game as a rookie and is averaging 15.3 points per game this season. He was also a breakout star in the postseason last year. Miami reportedly was unwilling to include Herro in a potential James Harden trade too.
Herro is making $3.8 million this season and is still on his rookie deal, which makes him a bargain and highly desirable.