Jimmy Butler trade talks are heating up, with one Eastern Conference team apparently looking to make a splash in the market.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Miami Heat have been “as aggressive as any team” in discussing a Butler trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Indications are that the Butler situation is progressing quickly and may be resolved fairly soon. The guard wants to be traded, and ownership wants to move him on. The Heat have traditionally been aggressive in trying to land a star in recent years, but have failed to succeed. This could be their break if they can fend off a conference rival in trade talks.
The Miami Heat thought it would be a good idea to sarcastically hype up their schedule release as some huge offseason news, and it comes as no surprise that fans didn’t appreciate it.
Beginning last Thursday, the Heat shared a series of videos on Twitter teasing some “big news” they had coming. Some wondered if Dwyane Wade had made a decision about his future while others thought a big trade — perhaps one involving Hassan Whiteside — was on the verge of being announced. Instead, it was merely the release of the 2018-19 schedule.
On Sunday, Heat executive Michael McCullough apologized for the organization being “more than a little tone deaf” with the posts.
Here are the posts that infuriated many fans:
To make matters worse, the schedule isn’t even a good one. As Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel pointed out, Miami has no major holiday national appearances and only three nationally televised games on TNT and two on ESPN.
While it does not sound like Heat fans need to worry about losing Wade to another team this offseason, the last thing they want to see is a big announcement teased that turns out to be the upcoming schedule. At least a member of the organization was willing to acknowledge that.
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman is still trying to put the pieces of his franchise back together after LeBron James chose to leave for Los Angeles, and he got some valuable advice from the one person who understands more than anyone in the world how he might be feeling.
In a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at LeBron’s latest decision and the ripple effect it has had across the league, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne revealed that Altman received a call from Miami Heat general manager Andy Elisburg the morning after James announced he will sign with the Lakers.
“I called him and said, ‘Well, did the sun come up this morning?'” Elisburg recalled asking Altman. “And he said, ‘Yes, it came up.’ And I said, ‘Well, I just want to let you know it’s going to come up tomorrow too.'”
Elisburg said he was “so angry and emotional” when LeBron left Miami in 2014 that he thought he was having a heart attack. But once the initial shock wore off, he realized there was nothing he could have done to change LeBron’s mind. He relayed that message to Altman.
“I came in the next day around 9, 10 o’clock in the morning, went to the whiteboard, started putting down names and building the roster like we’d always done,” Elisburg told Altman. “You have to realize, it always ends. It never ends the way you want it to end, but it ends, and you have to start again.
“But no matter what, it was an incredible four years. You won a championship, you know? Nothing takes that away.”
Altman said he appreciated Elisburg’s words of wisdom.
“He said he wouldn’t have given up his four years with him for the world, and I feel the same way,” the Cavs GM said. “To have four years of the Finals under my belt and the experience of working with the best player maybe ever … it’s incredible.”
Bad breakups always involve intense emotions, and we saw the most infamous example of that when Cavs owner Dan Gilbert blasted LeBron with his infamous letter in 2010. Heat president Pat Riley also had somewhat of an ugly breakup with James, and it may have provided LeBron with his “secret motivation” when the Cavs won the NBA Finals two years ago. This time, it’s almost as if everyone knew what was going to happen. That probably didn’t make it any easier for Altman, but the perspective from Elisburg seems like it was helpful.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are planning to part ways with Carmelo Anthony at some point this offseason, and they seem to be letting the star forward get a head start on figuring out where he might play next season.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Thunder gave Anthony permission to meet with the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat, which he did during summer league games in Las Vegas over the weekend. Oklahoma City is exploring possible trade options for Carmelo, and he has agreed to waive his no-trade clause since he would be waived by any team that acquires his $28 million contract.
The Rockets have seemed like the favorite to sign Anthony when he eventually becomes a free agent, and one star player is reportedly working hard to make sure it happens. He has also been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, which makes sense considering his close friendship with LeBron James.
Anthony, 34, may have to accept a reduced role and a team-friendly salary if he wants to join up with his buddies and contend for a championship, and it seems like he is willing to do that.
Things got a bit chippy again in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers.
A battle for a loose ball, followed by a rather hard foul by Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, was enough to raise the ire of Miami’s James Johnson, who had to be restrained by players and coaches alike.
Technical fouls were assessed, but the real damage came on the other end of the floor from the scuffle for the loose ball, which knocked Josh Richardson out of the game and sent Justise Winslow for stitches. Richardson was okay.
This has been a rather heated series, and we probably haven’t seen the last of it. The Heat led at halftime as they tried to even things up at 2-2.
Joel Embiid finally made his playoff debut on Thursday night after having to watch his team’s first two postseason games from the bench, and the big man managed to make a big statement. Naturally, he wasn’t surprised by the result.
Embiid scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the 76ers’ 128-108 win over the Heat. He was sporting a custom mask for protection in the wake of the orbital fractures he suffered, and Miami made a concerted effort to be physical with Embiid, fouling him a whopping 10 times.
It didn’t matter much.
“They were doing everything they could to take me out,” Embiid told ESPN Ramona Shelburne after the game. “But they can’t guard me.
“I’m going to be a nightmare for them. I love this moment. I love being physical. I love attacking, I love contact, so I felt like (my teammates) needed me in that way.”
It was obvious in Philly’s Game 2 loss that they missed Embiid’s physical presence. There was some concern that the 24-year-old’s playing style would be different with the protective mask, and the Heat were probably hoping that would be the case. However, Embiid said the 76ers training staff tested the mask to see what he could withstand before the game, and they were obviously satisfied.
“They [the Sixers] did everything possible,” Embiid said. “They were like throwing stuff at it to make sure it could withstand it.”
Embiid created a buzz when he went on a social media rant after the Sixers made him sit out Game 2, but that type of competitive edge is what wins playoff games. Without Embiid, there’s a good chance Philadelphia would be trailing 2-1 instead of heading into Game 4 with an advantage.
Dwyane Wade has been given an opportunity to erase some of the leftover stench from the way he left the Miami Heat nearly two years ago, and his second stint with the team could end up lasting beyond the remainder of the season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers traded six players on Thursday, and Wade was one of them. While the 36-year-old’s contract is set to expire this summer, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype reports that Wade has mended his relationship with Heat president Pat Riley and could end up re-signing with the team.
Wade never really wanted to leave Miami, but there came a time where he felt like he deserved to be paid market value after he repeatedly took less money to help the team sign players like LeBron James and Chris Bosh. When Riley put forth minimal effort to re-sign Wade two offseasons ago, the relationship between the two reached a boiling point.
However, as Kennedy alluded to, more recent reports have indicated that Wade has reconciled his relationships with the Heat, and his desire to return to Miami confirms that.
Wade averaged 11.2 points, 3.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game in a limited role with the Cavs. However, he can still be a productive player and may want to continue playing after the season. It would not be a surprise if he stayed in Miami to finish out his career.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are blowing it all up.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers have traded guard Dwyane Wade to the Miami Heat, part of a cavalcade of trades overhauling half the team’s roster.
There are a lot of levels to this. First, Wade and LeBron James are notoriously close. Wade is also a Miami Heat lifer, and according to Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, this move has been in the offing for quite a while, especially with Cleveland remaking their roster on Thursday.
In the end, it works out for everyone. It’s safe to say that the Wade move didn’t work out for Cleveland, and in retrospect, it always looked doomed to fail. Now he gets to go home to Miami while the Cavaliers remake their underperforming roster.
2018 is already proving to be quite the year in the sport of basketball: Isaiah Thomas is back, DeMar DeRozan is dropping 50-point games, and the founder of the NBA has officially begun his sacred pilgrimmage to Lithuania. But with that calendar flip comes the realization that the trade deadline is but a month and change away. Here are eight teams likely to be open for business.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are just 17-20 on the year as two prime assets (their top individual defender in Patrick Beverley and their $65 million man in Danilo Gallinari) gather dust on the sideline in suits. To make matters worse, the schedule becomes a meat processor from here — the Clippers will face Golden State (twice), Minnesota, Houston, and Boston, all over the course of the next three weeks. DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams (both of whom can be free agents after the season) are two immensely popular trade targets, and each looks like a legitimate top-10 option at his respective position this year. It may only be a matter of time before Clippers executive Jerry West takes advantage of their peaking value and cashes in on this period of feast before the seemingly inevitable famine.
New Orleans Pelicans
Every passing second is a second that DeMarcus Cousins is closer to free agency this summer. To be fair, there’s a lot of good going in New Orleans right now: Cousins and Anthony Davis are a tyranny, little-known guard E’Twaun Moore has been making a killing lately, and Rajon Rondo is slinging dimes like rhymes a la 2008. But the Pelicans seem to have the scarlet letter of “.500 team” permanently emblazoned on their jerseys, and it’s becoming a fair question to ask just how high their ceiling is with this core. The spacing still stinks, and overall the team is still a few wings short of a full chicken. It’s the worst time in the collective history of our galaxy to be a mediocre team in the Western Conference, and you figure that has to leave open the possibility of Cousins getting whacked by the trade bat for a second consecutive February.
The Miami Heat are only five games into the season, but apparently they don’t like what has been going on so far.
Heat co-captain James Johnson said on Sunday that the players had a fiery meeting after a loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday.
“We had our discussions this morning,” said Johnson, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “We aired it out this morning. A lot of people took heat. I think it was the best thing for us to do, even more important than film. That’s what this culture is about, that’s what we’re about — staring guys in the eyes, telling guys the truth and that’s how you show you really love somebody.”
The defeat to the Celtics dropped the Heat to 2-3 on the season. While Hassan Whiteside has been out since the season-opener with a knee injury, and top guard defender Rodney McGruder will be sidelined for the rest of the calendar year with a stress fracture in his leg, the slow start is all too reminiscent of the putrid 11-30 start that the Heat had to last season. The good news though is that the team seems to respond well to being challenged, so their next chance to turn it around will come on Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.