What losing really means for the Heat

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Teams that have great chemistry win games. Or is it teams that win have great chemistry? Everything’s all well and good when you’re riding the wave of a big win streak, but what happens when people stop being polite and start getting REAL? Fingers are pointed in a particularly angry fashion, feelings are hurt, and the rumors start to fly.

That was certainly the case with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat — they of the five-game losing streak. Personnel and execution are undoubtedly the primary concerns in Miami, but in the wake of a tough loss, Dwyane Wade voiced a bit of displeasure. From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

In Monday’s follow-up to the Heat’s winless three-game trip, when addressing Dwyane Wade’s postgame comments Saturday in Chicago, it was mentioned at the top of that story that the Heat guard had “taken issue with the approach of Erik Spoelstra.”

Because he did.

Not with Spoelstra. Not with Spoelstra’s body of work, personality, career. But with the need “to find a way also to mix it up, stop being a team that everybody knows exactly what we’re going to do.”To use Erik’s parlance, the moments after a game are when things can get “raw.”

Monday, the “raw” had given way to reasoned.

In the short-term, I don’t know that there’s anything to worry about. As SLAM’s Marcel Mutoni notes, “everyone in Miami seems to be in agreement that Wade and Spoelstra have a great relationship.” There will be no locker room implosion, despite how dire things may seem.

But the real reason why we keep a close eye on Wade and Spoelstra is because of the impending off-season. Of all the big name stars scheduled to be free agents this summer, Wade has the least reason of all to stay. LeBron James is the hometown here and playing for a contender and Chris Bosh’s team is competent even if underwhelming at times. But Wade? Aside from the extra coin he can get by re-signing with his current team, what reason is there for him to stay with the Heat? Is it worth it just to see if Michael Beasley can realize his potential? To see if Mario Chalmers can be a consistent player? The goings-on of Miami’s locker room beg for our attention because we know that if Dwyane Wade isn’t happy by season’s end, Miami may not even have stories like this one to analyze next year.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.