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Tag:Pat Riley
Posted on: November 12, 2011 9:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Fight with Pat Riley led Miami Heat to trade Shaq

Posted by Ben Golliverpat-riley-shaquille-oneal

Shaquille O'Neal will be remembered as one of the NBA's greatest players, but his ugly exits from city after city caused plenty of controversy and wound up staining his legacy and lowering his career ceiling.

The scorched earth farewell from Orlando and the battle of egos with Kobe Bryant that led to his departure from Los Angeles are well-known. But there was also the move from a title-winning Miami Heat squad to the Phoenix Suns, a blow-up that might not have attracted as much attention because O'Neal was already past his prime, but nevertheless had plenty of eye-popping drama.

In an ESPN.com excerpt from his forthcoming autobiography, Shaq: Uncut, O'Neal lays out the story behind why he left South Beach for the Southwest. O'Neal admits that he threw a teammate to the ground while exchanging profanites with legendary coach Pat Riley, all while approaching Riley, who was 62 at the time, as if he was going to punch him.

The encounter, O'Neal writes, began when Riley attempted to throw guard Jason Williams out of practice only for O'Neal to step in and tell him to stay.
I tell Pat we're a team and we need to stick together, not throw guys out of the gym. Pat is screaming at me and says if I don't like it, then I should get the hell out of practice, too.

That's when I said, "Why don't you make me?"

I start taking a couple of steps towards Pat. Udonis Haslem steps in and I shove him out of the way. Then [Alonzo Mourning] tries to grab me. I threw him aside like he was a rag doll.

Now it's me and Riley face-to-face, jaw to jaw. I'm poking him in the chest and he keeps slapping my finger away and it's getting nasty. Noisy, too. He's yelling "F--- you!" and I'm yelling back, "No, f--- you!"

Zo is trying to calm us both down and he has this kind of singsong panic in his voice. He keeps saying, "Big fella, no big fella, big fella!" I finally turn around and tell him, "Don't worry. I'm not going to hit the man. Do you think I'm crazy?"

Everybody was kind of backing away from me because I had that murderous "Shaq is about to go off" look on my face. They knew better than to mess with me at that point.

So, if you're keeping score at home, that's teammate-on-teammate violence plus threatened elderly violence.

Shortly thereafter, O'Neal writes, Riley contacted his agent and said that a trade was in the works. O'Neal played his first game with the Suns in February 2008. The Heat won just 15 games that season and took a step towards rebuilding; O'Neal enjoyed a mini-resurgence in the desert. One of those mutually-beneficial trades, I guess.

The biggest lesson here is that it was Riley's way or the highway in South Beach. Having won and lost with the biggest egos of multiple generations of NBA players, it's no wonder that he took the plunge on acquiring LeBron James without hesitation. Dealing with O'Neal nose-to-nose with your credibility challenged is perfect training for the many personality challenges that James brought to the table last season.

If Riley could motivate a title out of O'Neal, who was apparently capable of really flipping out when the going got tough, it's difficult to bet against him coaxing one out of James, too. Of course, it's Erik Spoelstra, and not Riley, who must physically stand, unflinching, when questioned and challenged on the practice court these days. 

RELATED: In new book, Shaquille O'Neal writes that he was physically abused by his father 
Posted on: September 10, 2011 2:20 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Shavlik Randolph: hype, hospital & heartbreak

Posted by Ben Golliver

shavlik-randolph-heat

Professional basketball players on the fringes of the NBA, those without the certainty of a guaranteed multi-year contracts and forced to compete over and over with others to land a coveted roster spot, understand that control gets cede sooner or later, that relentlessly chasing opportunity wherever it may be is the only way to make a living.

For Shavlik Randolph, a former McDonald’s All-American who battled injury and illness while at Duke, sticking in the NBA has been a whirlwind process, one that began when he wasn’t selected in the 2005 NBA Draft but wound up catching on with the Philadelphia 76ers. The last five years have been a blur of spot minutes, 10-day contracts, try-outs and workouts, but his whirlwind has never spun faster or with more force than the last 12 months. In a year that he won't soon forget, Randolph found himself in the eye of the Miami Heat’s hype hurricane, in a skier’s paradise rehabilitating alongside a No. 1 overall draft pick, and finally in the Caribbean tropics, where he had a courtside view of one of the most tragic events in basketball in 2011.

Miami

The story begins just months before LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join Dwyane Wade in Miami. Randolph had just finished filling in for the Portland Trail Blazers when a string of injuries had decimated their roster. Miami, merely a slightly above-average team at this point, was looking to add a little depth in advance of a playoff run and also, knowing that big offseason changes would be in store one way or another, to get a look at a potential hard-working, low-cost, no-ego role player. Randolph appeared in just three games for the Heat but was encouraged to stick around for summer workouts.

What happened next won’t soon be forgotten in the NBA. Bosh and Wade committed to the Heat, James announced his “Decision,” the trio held a parade to predict multiple championships and the basketball world’s attention honed in on South Beach.

“It was definitely crazy,” Randolph remembers. “I was there through every step of it. The circus, the hype.”

To get away from the scrutiny, the Heat, with Randolph in attendance, moved their training camp to a Florida Air Force base.

“It was all business,” Randolph said. “Hardest training camp of my life. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra did an amazing job of creating a situation where [the distractions] didn’t affect them or the players. Just keeping a family atmosphere.”

A family atmosphere, at least off the court, anyway.

“LeBron, D. Wade and Bosh are three of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen,” Randolph said. “They went at each other like they were enemies every day in practice. They might have been the most talented, people gave them crap for all the hype, but no team practices harder.”

James, in particular, stood out. Randolph was born and raised in the heart of basketball country, Raleigh, N.C., the grandson of an All-American. He was a highly-regarded prospect as early as his mid-teens and he even broke his high school’s single-game scoring record set by Naismith Hall of Famer Pete Maravich. But nobody along the way made the kind of impression that James did during that training camp.

“The only word for it is ‘overwhelming,’” Randolph said. “His talent level is overwhelming. I had played against him [before[, but at camp I finally understood why he has the phrase ‘witness’ associated with him because until you step on a court with him and you see him, you can’t understand. That guy is the fastest player on the court, the strongest player on the court and the highest jumping guy on the court every time he plays.

“I would just say overwhelmingly impressive,” Randolph repeated. “He works hard. He works on his body, he works so hard.”

Ultimately, Randolph was one of Miami’s final roster cuts, released by the Heat in mid-October. A 6-foot-10 forward with a versatile offensive game, his skillset didn’t fill Miami’s biggest frontcourt need: bulky, veteran big men to provide depth in the middle.  

Vail

In truth, Randolph had actually dropped a significant amount of weight simply so he could keep up with the pace of play. A hip problem that he had dealt with since high school and that had required surgery while he was at Duke had resurfaced. He participated in a group tryout for the Blazers in early November, after Jeff Pendergraph was lost to a season-ending knee injury and his replacement, Fabricio Oberto, promptly retired due to an ongoing heart condition. Free agent Sean Marks won the job, though, leaving Randolph to face a difficult decision regarding his health.

“I’m 27 and I’m not getting any younger,” Randolph said. “My hip was so prohibiting. My flexibility, my explosiveness weren’t the same. I was playing at 220 pounds to be able to maintain a pro level of athleticism,” Randolph explained.

Admitting that he had put off surgery for “three or four seasons,” Randolph finally decided, in late-November, to undergo another procedure. Corrective hip surgery, he knew, would cost him most, if not all, of the 2010-2011 NBA season and, because he wasn’t on an NBA team, it would cost him money out of his own pocket. Still, it was worth it.

“If you’ve ever run around with a rock or a pebble in your shoe, that’s what my hip felt like,” Randolph said. “It twinges you. It doesn’t stop you from running and you can still do stuff on it, it just affects you and throws you off from being able to do what you normally do at 100 percent.”

Randolph travelled to the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado, where he could be operated on by Dr. Marc Philippon, an orthopedic hip surgeon who has treated the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Greg Norman and Mario Lemieux.

“It made all the difference in the world,” Randolph said of the surgery. “My explosiveness is back, my ability to box out, being able to play above the rim. It really affects you in every aspect. Now I'm back up to 245 or 250 pounds and moving with much more mobility. It brought all the fun back to the game too. My hip was pretty messed up and it was something I wish I had done a long time ago. I'm really excited.”

Rehabilitation work continued in Vail and, within days, Randolph was joined by another NBA player and former teammate: Blazers center Greg Oden.

Oden was in Vail to undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee after suffering a non-contact injury while working to get back on the court for the Blazers after fracturing his left patella in December 2009. In the months since his surgery, Oden, the 7-foot-0 and 285 monster whom the Blazers selected over All-Star forward Kevin Durant in 2007, has been as invisible as a man his size can be. He has consented to only a few media interviews, made one television appearance and has otherwise been content to remain totally out of the media’s critical spotlight.

But, in Vail, Oden wasn’t as withdrawn.

“He was very upbeat and very excited,” Randolph recalls. “I think he has a huge chip on his shoulder. He's looking forward to getting back on the court. I could see a sense of refreshment in his eyes after his surgery.”

A picture of the two players, side-by-side, confirms that account. Oden, his giant body balanced on crutches, smiles from ear-to-ear. His stay in Vail was brief, as he left town soon after his procedure to return to Portland and continue his rehabilitation. The encounter between the two left Randolph worried not for Oden, but for his future opposition.

“I feel bad for the centers in the NBA when he does get back on the court,” Randolph said, chuckling. “He’s so big. And he has a new sense of purpose.”

Puerto Rico

As if heading to training camp with the NBA’s best player and rehabilitating next to the man some have called the league’s biggest “bust” wasn’t enough for one year, Randolph wound up in one of basketball’s most remote locales, a by-stander to one of basketball’s most shocking tragedies of 2011.

With his rehab complete, the NBA regular season winding down and a lockout on the horizon, Randolph sought out an opportunity to play competitively and regain his professional bearings. In April, he signed with Gallitos de Isabela, a professional team in Puerto Rico.

The gyms in Puerto Rico are hot, loud and small and extra security attends rivalry games to protect against crowd violence. Players have even been known to issue threats to opponents on the court. The whole thing combines to create a bit of a Wild West atmosphere. But the geography and climate makes it a convenient, pleasant location for former or future NBA players to make a pitstop.  

“Puerto Rico is a very competitive league,” Randolph said. “Every team had NBA caliber players. I think that league is on the come-up.”

Randolph was able to find his old form, averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds in 27 games for the Gallitos, earning recognition as the league’s “Import of the Year.”

But his time on the often overlooked island would be marked by sad news that travelled quickly throughout the international basketball community. In May, former University of Michigan basketball star and journeyman NBA big man Robert “Tractor” Traylor was found dead at his apartment in Puerto Rico after suffering a heart attack.

Traylor was on the island playing for Vaqueros de Bayamon, one of Gallitos’ competitors.

“I played against him the week it happened,” Randolph said. “I had never met him until my team played his team. I had to guard him, he had to guard me, the week before that happened. He was the nicest, most upstanding guy. He couldn't have been a better sportsman. When that happened, the level of respect, the other teams, his teams, it was unbelievable. I was privileged and honored that I had the experience of meeting him.”

The Gallitos and Vaqueros played again shortly after Traylor’s death. Randolph and his teammates took courtside seats as the Vaqueros honored Traylor’s memory.

“They retired his jersey, brought his whole family in and had an hour-long presentation,” Randolph remembered. “They lifted his jersey up, had a video collage. It was very touching. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place.”

China?

As spring turned to summer, league play in Puerto Rico concluded and Randolph returned to North Carolina to plot his next move. Playing in the thriving pro-am scene, Randolph played with or against North Carolina and NC State players and recruits as well as a host of current NBAers. As with everyone playing professional basketball, though, the lockout cast a shadow over his next move.

A few years removed from his most recent full-time NBA paycheck and still getting used to life post-surgery, Randolph must decide whether to wait on the NBA and take another shot at cracking a roster or heading overseas, where the pay and playing time will be more immediate. Until this summer, Randolph had always postponed the international option, content to take his chances and hope for an NBA call.

After receiving some “very, very good” offers from Europe and going through a workout process, Randolph now says he is in the “advanced stages” of negotiating a one-year deal with a team in China. He’s scaled back on his pick-up play to avoid injury in recent weeks and considered, but decided to pass on playing in the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas for the same reason.

He says he is “very close” to signing and expects to make a final decision within the next week. The offer on the table is “equal to or greater than” what he would make signing a veteran minimum deal in the NBA.

“It's important for me to play this season,” Randolph said. “I just want to put myself in a situation where I can play. That's the most important thing for me. I miss playing.

“I'm not a player who will have a large, multi-year contract on the table. I know that's not my situation. My goal is to play in the NBA but, first and foremost, to play. It may be in my best interest to go play overseas in a situation where I know I’m going to play and play a lot because there is so much uncertainty here.”

Following a year that took him from hype to hospital to heartbreak, Randolph admits there would be an adjustment in heading to China, but that won’t guide this decision.

“I know some guys who have already signed to play and other guys in talks, considering going over there,” Randolph says. “I've talked to a few people who have played there. A few people who are going there this year. It's such a culture shock going over there but the bottom line is that you're playing basketball. I went and forfeited this past season by having surgery so I could go out and take advantage of any opportunity that's presented to me.”

Because it’s always about that next opportunity. No matter how wild and crazy the ride, or how long and winding the road, to get there might be.

“It's basketball,” Randolph concludes. “The only way you get better is by playing.”

Posted on: July 24, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 3:48 pm
 

Former exec Ronnie Lester blasts Lakers, Jim Buss

Posted by Ben Golliverjim-buss

Is Los Angeles Lakers VP Jim Buss the least respected executive in the NBA?

That's a question we have to ask as the list of people who have gone public to criticize him continues to grow longer and longer.

First, there was a flap over new coach Mike Brown, which ended with Buss essentially apologizing to Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant for not consulting with him on the hire. Then, long-time and well-respected assistant coach Brian Shaw, who was a top candidate to replace Phil Jackson, took the unusual step of blasting Buss on a radio interview for his treatment during the hiring process.

But this tops it all.

Former Lakers Assistant GM Ronnie Lester was one of many casualties of the recent decision by the Lakers to not renew contracts or to lay off employees during the lockout. 

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lester takes shots at the organization and Buss in particular.
"You think of the Lakers and you think they are a great organization," Lester said. "But if you work inside the organization, it's only a perception of being a great organization. It's probably not a great organization, because great organizations don't treat their personnel like they've done."

"Jim Buss is not around much," Lester said. "The only time he is here consistently is a week or two before the draft."
In NBA executive circles, respect is achieved in one of three ways. You're either 1) a former player, in which case it's given to you until you prove yourself to be incompetent, or 2) a rags-to-riches story who rises through an organization through determination and hard work before executing solid trades and drafts to establish your reputation, or 3) you're the direct relative of the team's owner, in which case you better make friendly with everyone and hire good basketball people that you trust to make the decisions, and then let them make the decisions.    

Unlike Nick Arison, the son of the owner who was recently promoted to CEO of the Miami Heat, who is seen as a hard-working fresh face who understands that president Pat Riley must call the shots, Buss has now been accused of two major internal crimes. One: he sloppily ran a coaching hire, trumping the authority of his long-time GM and communicating so poorly throughout the process that he got put on blast by Shaw. Two: he made these decisions while being largely an absentee manager. This is heading the wrong direction, and it's heading there quickly.

Lester's charge is perhaps even more damning than Shaw's. NBA executive circles are just as tight-lipped as coaching circles, if not more so. To speak out against one's own organization can be viewed as a death sentence, not only with that team but around the league. That Lester would bother to take that risk, when he certainly doesn't have to, shows how strongly he feels the Lakers were in the wrong here. Really, he's almost achieving a whistle-blower status, pulling back the veil on some organizational unprofessionalism. 

And who bears the brunt of that burden? Jim Buss, of course. As with any executive that's being charged with making rookie mistakes and faux pas, I guess we have to ask whether Buss even realizes that he's messing up. How many more distraught interviews with former employees will it take for Buss to realize that something is fundamentally wrong with his approach?

The NBA is the ultimate bridge-building world and Buss is busy shooting more fireballs than the Mario Brothers.

Posted on: July 22, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:07 pm
 

Miami Heat name Nick Arison as new CEO

Posted by Ben Golliverriley-title

If there's an argument in favor of nepotism, it's Nick Arison.

On Friday, the Miami Heat announced that it had named Arison, son of owner Micky Arison, as the franchise's new CEO, promoting him from the position of Vice President of Basketball Operations. The decision comes more than 15 years after Nick first worked for the organization, as a team attendant.  
In his new role, Arison will oversee the day-to-day operations of the franchise and report directly to Micky Arison, who will remain the team’s Managing General Partner and Governor at the NBA’s Board of Governor meetings. Nick Arison has been a limited partner of the team and has served as the alternate governor since the 2005-06 season. The move is a natural progression for Nick, who has grown up with the HEAT. His grandfather, Ted Arison, was one of the team’s original founders and his father, Micky, bought the controlling share of the franchise and was named Managing General Partner on Feb. 13, 1995. Nick first started working for the organization as a team attendant for four seasons from 1995 through 1999, and upon his graduation from Duke University became a full-time staff member in 2003.

“This is something Nick has been working towards his whole life. He’s more prepared for this job than I was at his age when I became CEO of Carnival,” expressed Micky Arison. “I have the utmost confidence that Nick will continue to lead the HEAT as a model NBA franchise for many years to come.”

Nick Arison has served the HEAT in a variety of positions over the years, learning the business from the ground up. After first joining the HEAT as a team attendant and later serving summer internships in the Arena Operations, Community Affairs, and Sales and Marketing departments, he became a full-time staff member on the business side in 2003 as an Account Manager, Premium Partnerships. In 2006, he was promoted to Director, Corporate and Premium Services where he oversaw the Account Management Team. Prior to the 2008-09 season he was named Vice President, Basketball Operations where he worked directly with HEAT President Pat Riley and Assistant General Manager/Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations Andy Elisburg in overseeing the basketball side of the organization and played an active role in the recruiting and procurement of talent.

“I have been working for the Arison family for 16 years,” said Riley. “The Miami HEAT is truly a family organization and that is what makes it a desirable franchise to work for. The HEAT are the Arisons. Like his grandfather Ted and father Micky, Nick is an extraordinary, special young man and will serve the HEAT in a highly professional manner as those men did. Congratulations to Nick. He has earned it.”
Riley, of course, will continue to call the basketball shots, but in Nick Arison he has a sort of anti-Jim Buss on his side. By all accounts, Arison is respected for his understanding of the game, commitment to the organization and energy. He's not known as a meddler and is someone who is perceived as having earned his positions and promotions rather than simply have them handed to him. He's had the unique opportunity to learn about running a basketball organization from the inside and he's taken advantage of that.

Unlike so many professional sports franchises that get passed haphazardly around the family tree or sold off when the patriarch passes away, Arison also represents a third generation of stability for the team. For many reasons -- the 2006 title, the Big 3, and others -- the Heat have completely shed the label of an "expansion franchise." Think about this: the Heat opened up shop the same year as the Charlotte Hornets (who moved to New Orleans), one year before the Minnesota Timberwolves (regularly near the bottom of the league's standings), seven years before the Toronto Raptors (regularly near the bottom of the league's standings) and Vancouver Grizzlies (who relocated to Memphis). The Heat, along with the Orlando Magic, are the top two success stories when it comes to recent expansion franchises in the NBA, but the Heat have won a ring and are likely headed for many more, and they accomplished that feat without lucking into Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard in the NBA Draft lottery.

Ownership, of course, plays a critical component in that ramping up process and the massive international popularity the team now enjoys thanks to the acquisitions of All-Star forwards LeBron James and Chris Bosh to flank long-time All-Star guard Dwyane Wade. Whatever the Heat's management team is doing, it's working. That kind of track record deserves a promotion.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 3:18 pm
 

Miami Heat 2011-2012 NBA schedule breakdown

A breakdown of the 2011-2012 Miami Heat NBA schedule. Posted by Ben Golliver.

heat-lost

After the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Miami Heat were fresh out of answers. The Dallas Mavericks were too much for them, a tough, balanced, steady team that overwhelmed and wore down South Beach's talented trio.

On Tuesday, the NBA officially announced its 2011-2012 schedule, which means it is time to turn our attention to the Heat's quest for redemption. 

First, a few notes. The Heat play just 17 back-to-backs, a bit below average. They're scheduled to appear on national television 25 times, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for tops in the league.

Without further ado, here are 10 games worth keeping an eye on, assuming there is a full 82-game season with no games lost to a work stoppage due to the ongoing lockout.

Season Opener

The Miami Heat's road back to the Finals begins in Madison Square Garden, where they open their season against the New York Knicks on Wednsday, Nov. 2. Most likely, the Knicks still won't be any good, but they do look good on paper thanks to the tandem of Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. The Heat were 2-2 against the Knicks last year and they lost their 2010-2011 season opener to the Boston Celtics, so this won't be a cakewalk. Still, with vision of J.J. Barea running through them and Jason Terry bombing over the top of them, the Heat should come out motivated and take care of business. 

First Loss

No one can forget Miami's slow start last year. The Heat began just 9-8 and rumors circulated that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra could be in danger of losing his job. This year, the opening schedule is fairly easy. The Heat do have to endure a back-to-back against the Knicks and Orlando Magic to start the season, but four of their next six games are against lottery teams and they play nine of their first 13 games at home. Only three of those 13 opponents won more than 46 games last season (the Celtics and the Magic, whom they play twice). Look for the Celtics to draw first blood again this year. Boston travels to Miami for a rematch of their second round playoff series on Nov. 16. Rajon Rondo will be healthy by then.

Return To Cleveland


LeBron James gets his first visit back to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland out of the way early in 2011-2012, as the Heat travel to face James' former team, the Cavaliers, in their 8th game of the season. Will James and his entourage be allowed in the parking garage this time? Will the cheers for No. 1 overall draft pick Kyrie Irving eclipse the boos for James? Will he do the chalk toss? Will he have to use the bathroom during introductions again? These important questions and more will be answered on Friday, Nov. 18.

The Lake Show 

A regular season rendition of the Finals match-up that everyone anticipated but never materialized takes place on Thursday, Dec. 8 when the Los Angeles Lakers travel to South Florida. The last time Kobe Bryant and company were in town, the Heat held the Lakers to just 80 points and Bryant released his frustrations by staying at the arena for hours afterwards, getting up some extra shots. The X-factor will be how much damage Andrew Bynum can do (and who the Heat will find in free agency to guard him).

Holiday Appetizer

In a welcome run-up to the Christmas Day showcase game, the Heat will visit the young and super talented Thunder in Oklahoma City for the first of two meetings this season. The game will be nationally televised on Friday, Dec. 23, and feature five of the most athletic and exciting NBA All-Stars in the Heat's trio plus Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It will be awesome. There really better not be a work stoppage.
 
Christmas Day


The 2011 NBA Finals will have its first official rematch on Christmas Day as the centerpiece of a triple-header. The Heat will head to Dallas to face the Mavericks and confront their late-game collapse demons. Really, I can't imagine a worse way for James to spend Christmas than in the building where he saw his best chance for a ring slip away while playing some of the least effective basketball of his recent career. Kinda brutal, but those are the breaks.

Road Warriors

On Friday, Jan. 6, the Heat travel to the Sacramento Kings to begin their longest West Coast swing of the season. The Heat will play the Kings, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets over a one-week period. That sounds pretty tough, but it's possible that all five of those teams will miss the playoffs next year and there's only one back-to-back, meaning things could be a lot worse. If the Heat are able to stack up wins on this trip -- and perhaps sweep the quintet --it could be pivotal in determining Eastern Conference playoff positioning. 

Running Of The Bulls


The Heat face the Chicago Bulls, their Eastern Conference Finals opponent, four times this season, but all four games will take place in 2012. The first chance Derrick Rose will have to redeem himself will be Thursday, Jan. 19, when Chicago travels to Miami. The Bulls come back to Miami again later in January before the Heat travel to the United Center for games during March and April. If these two teams are duking it out for the top seed in the East, as expected, they'll get four solid head-to-head chances to settle things directly.

Playoff Push


February 2012 is highlighted by another five-game road trip, this time against all Eastern Conference teams, beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 8. This trip is great news for the Heat: four of their five opponents (New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers) missed the playoffs last season and the fifth, the Philadelphia 76ers, were dismantled fairly easily in the first round of last year's playoffs. It's not often a team has the opportunity to sweep two separate 5-game road trips in a single season, but the Heat definitely have the possibility. Best of all, none of the games in this stretch are back-to-backs.

Season Finale

The Heat close out their season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, April 18. There's always a decent shot that playoff seeding and pairings will already be set, meaning this game could be a Miami fan's best bet to see the odd assortment of end-of-the-bench guys that president Pat Riley assembles to fill out his roster. Good times. 
Posted on: July 17, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 11:51 pm
 

Chris Bosh wedding pictures

Chris Bosh wedding photos with new wife Adrienne Williams in Miami. Posted by Ben Golliver.

chris-bosh-wedding-1

The last time we saw Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, he was collapsing to the ground in the locker room tunnel following a soul-crushing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals.

It's safe to say he's recovered fairly well.

On Saturday, Bosh held an elaborate and ridiculously expensive wedding ceremony with his bride, Adrienne Williams, in Miami's Fontainebleau Hotel. Against all odds, both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade actually showed up, as did Heat president Pat Riley, who was granted an exception to the league's no-contact rule with current players to attend the event.

Curious what the hotel has going for it? Here's its wedding pitch.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach is a canvas to your imagination, where the focus is you - your passions, your dreams, and your spectacular wedding day. We will inspire a wedding to express you - unique, chic, and perhaps a bit unconventional. Mix in the pleasures of luxury surroundings, fine cuisine and superlative venues with striking sophistication.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach offers elegant ballrooms with enduring architectural imprints and an intoxicating mix of old and new 21st century glamour. Inside, floating ceilings, crystal chandeliers and plentiful sweeping curves impart an ultramodern atmosphere. We offer various options for your special day with one of a kind outdoor event space, including the Ocean lawn for elegant festivities. Our wedding planners provide personal, imaginative and discreet planning.
"Unique, chic and perhaps a bit unconventional." Yep, that sounds like Bosh. 

Anyway, here are a few more pictures of Chris Bosh's wedding festivities. All photos via Jason Binn on Twitter and Facebook

Here Wade and James sandwiching Heat forward Udonis Haslem. They all seem quite happy. Original here.

chris-bosh-wedding-2

Bosh gets a smooch from his bride with the cake in the foreground. Original here.

chris-bosh-wedding-four

Here's Heat president Pat Riley with a magazine publisher. Original here.

chris-bosh-wedding-5

Top photo original is here.

Hat tip: JocksAndStilletoJill.com
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Posted on: June 21, 2011 2:25 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Riley may have exaggerated a bit with the Big 3

Posted by Royce Young



Some of the biggest issues with the Miami Heat this past season included arrogance. The lack of self-awareness. The ego. The taunting, the preening, the crowing. The Heat threw itself a celebration party before the players even had a practice together, and they started talking about seven championships and basically acted like they'd obliterate the league.

That's why this Pat Riley quote today from his exit interview wrapping the season should come as absolutely no surprise.

"The greatest thing in the history of South Florida sports was those guys coming together," Riley said. "With the exception of the [undefeated 1972] Dolphins. Maybe."

"Those guys" obviously being LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. (Not Erick Dampier, Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire, if you were wondering.)

Clearly, Riley might have exaggerated a bit here. He might have overstated the importance of those three players, just a tad. Possibly, there's a hint of hyperbole here. Especially when he corrects himself momentarily by saying the exception is the '72 Dolphins, then uncorrects himself by adding, "maybe."

Maybe? Maybe the greatest team in professional sports history was a bigger deal than three players deciding to play together? I don't know Pat, do you think the moon landing was a bigger deal than Justin Bieber's debut album? Maybe the fall of the Berlin Wall was a little greater than the return of the McRib. I'm not sure though.

What about your 2006 NBA title, Pat? Did you forget about that one? Or the other Super Bowl the Dolphins won? Or maybe the two World Series trophies the Marlins won? Or even the five national championships the Miami Hurricanes won in college football. (Though maybe those weren't so great. We all saw The U.)

And note this as well: Riley didn't say, "Them winning will be the greatest thing in South Florida sports history." He simply said just them playing together is. That statement sums everything up about the Heat better than anything. Celebrating something before the work is done. Lifting up a free agency period as a championship.

I get that people tend to speak in hyperbole ("Transformers 2 was the greatest movie ever!") but you'd expect someone as deft and smooth as Riley to keep himself in check. The arrogance that leaks from the Heat is repulsive. They just can't shut up.

I agree with Riley too -- they're going to have their time. That roster is too talented not to win. In the end, the signing may indeed be the best thing ever. Maybe they will win four, five, six, seven championships. But don't count your chickens, Pat. Let your game do the talking. For once.

Posted on: June 19, 2011 5:09 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 9:55 am
 

Report: Miami Heat to keep Big Three intact

The Miami Heat will reportedly not break up its Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Posted by Ben Golliver.

miami-big-3

It's too bad that the late, great George Steinbrenner doesn't run the Miami Heat. Can you imagine his executive office meltdown when the Heat crumbled in the 2011 NBA Finals, losing three games in a row to the Dallas Mavericks to fall short of a title in the first year of the Big Three era?

Erik Spoelstra would be gone for sure, Chris Bosh's house would be on the market and the Heat's bench players would quickly be lining up rooms in various Miami-area old folk's homes.

Instead, the Heat are run by Pat Riley, a sage architect of multiple title-winners, who apparently is ready to keep a steady hand on the wheel amidst all the disappointment and unfulfilled expectations.

Indeed, the New York Daily News reports that the Heatles will be back for another tour.
Not long after LeBron James' Finals flameout, Miami president Pat Riley has sent word to other league execs: He's not breaking up his Big Three. That's too bad -- for the rest of the NBA.
This is the wise, save move for now. Coming within two wins of a title in your first year together, expressing massive dominance over your Eastern Conference rivals and having the best trio of players -- all in their primes -- only bodes well for next season. The Heat, without any doubt, are the favorites to win the 2012 title as is.

Of course, Bosh has clearly been pushed to a separate tier by the blossoming James/Wade bromance and his questionable fit stuck out in the Finals. He didn't play enough defense or grab enough rebounds, and he couldn't get enough touches on offense, to really maximize his skills. He played hard, there's no questioning that, but his skill set isn't perfect for what James and Wade demand around them. 

It's a questionable but not necessarily fatal fit long term. Riley should absolutely listen to offers for Bosh, but he need not shop any of his players. The odds that he will get better value in return for Bosh are fairly long, and the media attention will be insane if he actually goes on the block.


 
 
 
 
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