Da’Sean Butler had played his way into a sure first-round draft selection with a spectacular senior campaign at West Virginia last season, sinking six game-winning shots, earning second-team All-America honors, and leading the Mountaineers to the Final Four for the first time since 1959. With a first round selection comes the virtual guarantee of becoming a multi-millionaire.
And then one fateful play changed the course of Da’Sean’s career. With a little less than nine minutes remaining in the Mountaineers’ national semi-final match-up with eventual champion Duke on April 3rd, Butler drove to the basket and collided with the Blue Devils’ Brian Zoubek. Moments later, the senior forward lay on his back clutching his left knee, writhing in pain caused by a torn ACL, a sprained MCL and two bone bruises.
The image of head coach Bob Huggins consoling his fallen superstar was simultaneously touching and perhaps just a bit uncomfortable. But we can all certainly empathize. Instead of beginning preparation for a potential spot in a starting rotation somewhere in this league, Butler found himself instead fighting for any place at all. Read more…
Mikhail Prokhorov is a newcomer to the NBA, as the billionaire owner of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets. At 45 years of age, Prokhorov is Russia’s second richest man, with an estimated net worth of $13.4 billion. Apparently, he is also a classy guy in defeat.
The Nets were one of the teams shut out of the Lebron James sweepstakes after James’ whirlwind free agent courtship, but Prokhorov says he has no problem with the superstarâ€™s decision to play for the Miami Heat. In fact, he offers James his best.
Prokhorov sent the following letter to the USA Today:
The players are signed, the “Decision” is made, but the passions around this year’s extraordinary class of NBA free agents refuses to die down. What surprises me is the amount of negative commentary directed at the three top free agents (especially LeBron James) who decided to play on the same team and to create a great franchise together. Of course, any club owner dreams of having those players, including me, but all questions of how the announcements were made aside, I respect their choice, and no one has the right to judge them.
I want to say that I support LeBron, the best athlete in the NBA. He had a truly difficult choice to make. Any move he made was sure to be viewed as wrong, and to leave many unhappy fans. Basing his decision on achieving results on the basketball court shows that the sportsman won the day, not the showman or the businessman. What is wrong with that?
We are seeing the birth of a new, dynamic team with such star players, and all of us can await the new season with great anticipation. I wish them success and give them my moral support. I will be happy for us to beat the Miami Heat in the conference finals, maybe not this season, but in the very near future. Read more…
Bryan Colangelo lashed out against his former All-Star power forward, Chris Bosh, yesterday.
Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo went on the air yesterday, now three weeks after his former All-Star power forward decided to leave Toronto in favor of the Miami Heat, and basically declared that Chris Bosh quit on his team during the stretch run of the regular season.
After seemingly being a lock for a playoff spot midway through last season, the Raptors collapsed amidst a more difficult second half and missed the postseason by just one game. Bosh missed all of the twelve total games he missed throughout the season during the second half.
Talking on radio station FAN 590 in Toronto, Colangelo said Bosh wasn’t the same player toward the end of the year. He also complained that Bosh took an excessive amount of time returning from injury, an apparent reference to the seven games Bosh missed in February with a sprained ankle. Read more…
House re-joins the Heat after a 7-year pause, in which he played for 8 teams
Eddie House is now officially the latest addition to the Miami Heat rotation, and a very good one at that that.
The three-point specialist has agreed on a two-year contract at the veteran minimum of $1,352,181 and $1,399,507, respectively, with the second season a player option.
The story for Eddie is a now a common one on this Heat roster. He passed on more lucrative deals elsewhere. The Bulls were thought to have been the front-runners for House, with the Celtics also in play to bring him back. Instead, he has chosen to re-join the team that originally drafted him out of Arizona State with the 37th overall pick ten years ago.
House is a perfect fit in the Heat rotation. He will serve as a high-energy spark off the bench. I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround three superior defense-collapsing playmakers with a gaggle of superior three-point shooting specialists. The Heat now has three legitimate threats – Eddie House, Mike Miller and James Jones.
House does one thing exceedingly well – shoot. He can shoot set shots, shots off the dribble or falling away, and is an elite free throw shooter. His jump shot is all there, particularly in all-important clutch situations, and his lightning quick release (as well as the height he jumps to shoot it) means that he can always get it away. Read more…
It took 14 years, 7 teams, 4 trades, 3 free agent signings, 2 repeat pit stops, 1 buyout and 1 outright release, but he has finally found his way back to Miami. Roster spot number twelve belongs to Juwan Howard.
Fourteen years ago, when the Heat signed and subsequently lost Howard due to alleged salary cap violations, an incensed Pat Riley declared:
The day that Juwan Howard signed a contract with the Washington Bullets is the day I hit a new low in my 30 years in the NBA. I knew that once he signed that contract, we would probably never get him back, even if we took it to the Supreme Court and won it, because he wanted to stay in Washington. It’s very disconcerting to invest $100 million in a player, to go that far, know that you’re going to fight to keep him, and they just run to another deal.
Apparently, all is forgiven. Today, a more even-tempered Riley commented:
We feel that Juwan’s ability to play both the four and five spot will be complementary to what we have put together. He also gives us incredible professionalism and is a perfect fit behind Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem.
The signing is nonetheless a head-scratcher. This time around, Howard is no longer the talent he was once thought to be. At 37, his athleticism is in a rapid state of decline. He is old and slow. He can’t rebound. He can’t defend. If he doesn’t knock down his line-drive jump shot, he serves no real purpose on the court. And barring an injury to Chris Bosh or Udonis Haslem, he’s not likely to see any time on it.
After an impressive summer league showing in which many felt he outplayed teammate Dexter Pittman, Garret Siler thinks he has a chance to make the Miami Heat roster. Siler is receiving interest from Pat Riley for the team’s training camp in late September.
The 7’0″, 275-pound behemoth of a man made the most of his limited time on the summer league floor. In nine games with the Nets and Heat, Siler saw just 12.6 minutes of action per game. But he shot 17 for 22 (77%) from the field, averaging five points and three rebounds per contest. He also did a good job clogging the lane and staying alert defensively, compiling six total blocks, though he was foul prone.
Miami really wants me. Summer League went pretty good. With the time provided, I did my thing.
Siler is a 23-year-old from Winton Salem, North Carolina that registered for the 2009 NBA Draft but went undrafted. Back then, he was a relative unknown from Augusta State University, a Division II school. At the time, Siler was nothing more than a massive 303-pound body with limited athleticism and mobility.
He was eventually picked up by the Minnesota Timberwoves where he raised eyebrows during summer league play, averaging eight points and six rebounds in five contests. He went on to accept an invitation to join the Atlanta Hawks organization on a non-guaranteed contract, where he advanced through until training camp only to be the last player cut.
Siler went on to join the Utah Flash of the D-League. However, the Hawks and Heat both told him that he’d have a better shot at making the NBA if he played a full year in China. After only two games with the Flash, he accepted an offer in December to play overseas for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, and new owner Yao Ming. Read more…
The Miami Heat’s bid for Matt Barnes is not yet officially dead.
Despite what Matt Barnes reported on his own Twitter account last night, he will not be heading to Toronto. Somewhere along the way, Barnes, his agent, the Raptors and the Magic are making a horrible miscalculation.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that Barnes has agreed to a two-year deal to join the Raptors that will pay him nearly $10 million, the second year being a player option.
However, in my humble opinion, the Raptors don’t have the means to offer such a contract.
What appears to be happening here is that Barnes, his agent, the Raptors and the Magic are confusing the basics of the salary cap rules. It’s actually quite embarrassing.
The Raptors are currently over the salary cap. The fact that they received a $14.5 million trade exception in the Chris Bosh sign-and-trade should make that obvious to everyone.
Therefore, the only means for the Raptors to offer Barnes, a free agent who last played for the Magic, a contract would be via their mid-level or bi-annual exceptions or via the minimum player salary exception.
The Raptors utilized all but $770,000 of their mid-level exception to sign Linas Kleiza to a four-year, $18.8 million contract. Neither the remainder nor the full value of the bi-annual or minimum salary exceptions could possibly produce a contract that pays out $10 million over two years. Read more…
Well, there goes one backcourt option, and perhaps the most versatile option at that. Keyon Dooling has agreed to join the Milwaukee Bucks.
Dooling signed a two-year, $4.3 million deal and will serve as a backup to Brandon Jennings at the point after former Buck Luke Ridnour agreed to a contract with the Wolves.
Apparently, Dooling was forced into accepting the offer after Pat Riley displayed only limited interest in the 30-year old combo guard from Fort Lauderdale known primarily for his strong perimeter defense.
Of course I wanted to play at home. The opportunity to win a championship was down there. Just being from South Florida, it was logical for me. My agent spoke with the Heat a couple of times, but we never got an offer. We never got past the courting stage or anything like that.
Pat has done a great job of putting together a dream team, so I’m quite sure they had a lot of people knocking their doors down. I could ill-afford to pass up good opportunities waiting for them to potentially call me, and then they might not call me.
Jason Williams, the former University of Florida product, now figures to be the leading veteran option for the Heat. Ex-Gator Mike Miller is certainly a fan of the possibility.
I actually talked to him yesterday. I’d love to have him. Obviously, it has to work out on both sides. J-Will would have to want to come back. And Miami would have to be with that.
After the expected additions of Carlos Arroyo and Juwan Howard to come shortly, the Heat will have committed to 13 of its 15 available roster spots. The rotation will break down as follows:
PG: Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: Lebron James, Mike Miller, James Jones
PF: Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard
C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joel Anthony, Jamaal Magloire, Dexter Pittman
As things stand, the Heat has just one point guard and one shooting guard on the roster; the unspectacular Mario Chalmers and the insatiable Dwyane Wade. Behind Chalmers, Arroyo will help. Behind Wade, there’s nothing.
The two remaining spots therefore figure to be utilized to round out the backcourt. It seems likely that one, and only one, of the two remaining spots will be allocated to a developmental project, who could play meaningful minutes in the coming season only if he were to demonstrate the required ability and maturity.
So how is Pat Riley going to decide which such player will earn the spot?
Guards Kenny Hasbrouck and Patrick Beverley each turned some heads with their play during the Heat’s five summer league games in Las Vegas. Read more…
Perhaps we should be the ones to cover up when Jamaal shoots, but he's valuable nonetheless
Jamaal Magloire will be returning to South Florida for a third straight campaign with the Miami Heat. Magloire signed off on his third straight one-year minimum-scale salary, this time paying him $1,352,181.
The former all-star is a shell of his old self, but he’s a welcome addition to the Heat frontcourt. Magloire brings to Miami an added dimension not captured by Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Joel Anthony at the center position. Ilgauskas is more of a finesse offensive weapon while Anthony is more of a tenacious shot-blocking defender. Jamaal provides the necessary third dimension; the I’ll-knock-you-back-down-so-don’t-dare-get-back-up toughness. He is a 6’11″ wide-body who uses his brute force to attack the glass and snatch down rebounds. His size also contributes to his role as a defender, especially since he picks up fouls like a magnet picks up scrap iron.
Jamaal is a good friend of Dwyane, and a personal favorite of mine, as a result of his tough and selfless play. Magloire never complains about his role, which figures to be severely limited once again. Instead, he has been a respected member of the organization and a strong locker room presence. In his two seasons with the Heat, Magloire has averaged 2.6 points (on 50% shooting) and 3.8 rebounds per game in just over 11 minutes of play. He’s also been a pure entertainment to watch at the free throw line. Read more…