Feb 20, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra on the sideline against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Heat have had to adjust their scouting efforts a bit in light of Joel Embiid’s injury.
Miami’s second-round opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, will be without Embiid for at least the start of the series. That means the Heat have to adapt on the fly to a team that will be led more by James Harden. One complicating factor is that Harden did not play much without Embiid since being acquired by the 76ers, making game tape scarce.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team has a secret weapon in the form of former Harden teammate PJ Tucker.
With limited 76ers film on Harden in these situations without Embiid, Spoelstra said Heat has looked back at some of Harden’s Rockets film when usage rate was among the top in the NBA. Spoelstra said Tucker’s familiarity with Harden as his former Rockets teammate has also helped.
Tucker is turning into a key cog of a lot of really good teams. The Milwaukee Bucks used him to bother Kevin Durant on the way to an NBA title last season, and his defense will likely be needed in this series as well. He’s been around a while and played for five different teams, so he’s widely familiar with the league.
The Heat open their series against the 76ers on Monday. Tucker seems likely to play a significant role for them if this is any indication.
Jan 22, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) controls the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Simon once sang about 50 ways to leave your lover. Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat will probably sing about 50 ways to get fined by the NBA.
Butler and the Heat drew an unusual fine from the league Thursday, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Butler was fined $15,000 for making “an obscene gesture” when he did a thrusting motion on the bench during Tuesday’s series-clinching victory over the Atlanta Hawks. The Heat also got fined a separate $15,000 for turning the moment into a GIF and posting it in a since-deleted tweet to their official page.
There has been some precedent this season for the NBA fining star players because of obscene gestures. But for Butler to get fined over a game he was not even playing in (and for the Heat to draw a separate fine for a post on social media) is certainly not something that you see every day.
Nov 27, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers power forward Carmelo Anthony (00) warms up prior to tip off against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Carmelo Anthony might not be the NBA’s most famous Melo any more (thanks LaMelo Ball), but he may still have something interesting up his sleeve in free agency this summer.
Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported this week on the ten-time All-Star’s options as an unrestricted free agent. Deveney notes that Anthony’s starting point would be to potentially re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers since Anthony has a certain comfort level with living and playing in L.A. But Deveney adds that Anthony’s situation is wide-open and mentions the Nets as another option for the Brooklyn native Anthony. Additionally, Deveney says that the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are in the mix as dark horses for Anthony.
Though he will turn 38 next month, Anthony averaged a decent 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game for the Lakers this season. He has been comfortable playing in a bench role for the last couple of years and might still have some value as a gunner on a contender.
Nov 8, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) walks on the court after the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
John Wall may be getting rewarded for his season-long NBA exile.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported on Thursday that all signs point to the ex-All-Star point guard Wall revisiting buyout talks with the Houston Rockets if they are unable to find a trade for him by the NBA Draft in June. Fischer adds that both the LA Clippers and the Miami Heat have been mentioned by league sources as strong possible landing spots for Wall.
The 31-year-old Wall did not play all season for the rebuilding Rockets. He was also unable to secure a trade or a buyout from the team because of the bloated amount still left on Wall’s contract. Either might be more feasible now come this summer however since Wall will only have one year left on his deal (albeit for $47.4 million).
The Clippers, who should be one of the title favorites next season, would be an excellent fit for Wall. They did not have a true backup point guard behind Reggie Jackson this season, instead relying on wings like Terance Mann and Norman Powell or even big men like Isaiah Hartenstein to run the offense for the second unit. The Heat are a bit more set at point guard with Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, and Gabe Vincent. But they are another top contender in the East and may be appealing to Wall for a number of other reasons too.
Aug 12, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo before a NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Victor Oladipo pulled a Clay Aiken and went invisible for the Miami Heat’s official team photo on Saturday.
The Heat guard was noticeably absent from the team’s 2021-22 snapshots, which were taken a day ahead of their playoff opener on Sunday. All other players, coaches, and staff were present for the photo, even including two-way players Javonte Smart and Mychal Mulder.
Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reported the reason for Oladipo’s absence — the veteran guard did not make it in time for the photo, which was taken before practice. Oladipo was on time for and participated in practice however.
The two-time All-Star was indeed seen shooting around at practice.
Oladipo returned from injury for the Heat in March. He had his best game of the year in the team’s regular season finale, scoring 40 points (albeit as Miami rested most of their regulars). Oladipo is on a one-year deal though and will be a free agent after the season.
Jimmy Butler is putting the rest of the NBA on notice.
Butler’s Miami Heat went through a rough stretch recently where they lost four in a row. But they broke that losing streak with a 123-100 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
After snapping the losing streak, Butler spoke with the media. He touted his team.
Jimmy Butler: I feel like we put together this roster to win a championship. It feels like a championship caliber team. When we’re clicking, I think we’re going to be tough to beat. pic.twitter.com/FerHxcLsmr
“I feel like that we put together this roster to win a championship,” he said. “It feels like a championship-caliber team. It does. We have lapses at times. We have a couple more days, games to figure that all out. But when we’re clicking, when we’re guarding, when we’re making shots, when we’re sharing the ball, I think we’re going to be really tough to beat.”
The Heat reached the NBA Finals during the pandemic-altered 2020 season. Last year they lost in the first round of the playoffs. But Miami enters a big game Wednesday against the Celtics holding the top spot in the East. They seem to have many of their communication issues worked out, which should be a positive sign moving forward. Butler certainly is confident about matters.
Photo: Jan 22, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) controls the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Heat had a surprising reaction to the public altercation between Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler that occurred during a loss last week.
Spoelstra and Butler were involved in a confrontation that involved Udonis Haslem stepping in between the men. The incident took place during a timeout while the Heat were getting crushed by the Golden State Warriors (video here).
Though the incident was a poor reflection for the Heat, the team reportedly is turning the incident into a positive. Five Reasons Sports, which covers the Miami pro teams, says the public fight has helped open communications between Spoelstra and Butler.
The sideline incident, while not something the organization wanted, was a rare time this season that the communication was that clear & open. The organization still strongly supports Butler, even while acknowledging he (like many stars in Heat history) has "difficult" moments….
This isn’t surprising. Teams that play an entire season are going to experience some moments where it’s not all harmonious. Maybe the blowup will help the Heat in the long run. They finally won on Monday to break a 4-game losing streak that included the loss to Golden State.
Photo: Feb 20, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra on the sideline against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Things got heated on the Miami Heat bench Wednesday night during the team’s 118-104 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The game was tied at the half, but then the Warriors went on a 19-0 run to start the third quarter. Miami had to take a timeout during the run, and that’s when things got heated on the bench. Jimmy Butler seemed to get upset with coach Erik Spoelstra. Udonis Haslem then stepped in to challenge Butler.
Bradley Beal has about as much chance of winning a championship with the Washington Wizards as he does of getting to the moon by flapping his arms. A very alluring alternative could be emerging for him this summer however.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday that the Miami Heat are seen as a legitimate suitor for the star shooting guard Beal if he decides to leave Washington. Charania adds though that the Heat would need to complete a sign-and-trade in order to land Beal.
The three-time All-Star Beal has spent his entire career with the Wizards. But he will turn 29 in the summer and does not appear to have a legitimate path to title contention in Washington. Beal also attended the University of Florida for college and can become a free agent this offseason by turning down his $36.4 million player option for 2022-23.
Photo: Jan 30, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) warms up before the game between the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports