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.

Lou Williams trolls Jimmy Butler for resting during All-Star Game

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Jimmy Butler was in Los Angeles and enjoying his well-earned All-Star slot on Team Stephen.

Well, except for the actual playing basketball part. Butler did not set foot on the court during the All-Star Game at his own request.

“Rest,” Butler said when asked why he didn’t play. “I have to rest. I have to rest my body up. This Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to roll when I get back there.”

Lou Williams, the Clippers’ guard who likely would have been near the front of the line for an open All-Star roster spot in the West (likely second in the queue behind Chris Paul), but instead took part in the Saturday Skills Competition then had Sunday off, trolled Butler for it on Twitter.

This seems more good natured than genuinely bitter.

Williams will roll with it, but his point’s a valid one — if you’re an All-Star, at least play a little and give the people what they want. Get out there for five minutes or whatever. LaMarcus Aldridge only played four minutes, no big deal.

If you’re not going to use the roster spot, give it up to someone who will.

Report: Raptors won’t sign Vince Carter if he gets bought out

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Of returning to the Raptors, Vince Carter said, “It’ll happen one day.” It sounds as if the Kings would buy him out if he wants.

Will he end the season with Toronto?

Josh Lewenberg of TSN 1050:

After speaking with a few team sources, I can confirm that they’ve had internal dialogue and debate about the idea of bringing Vince Carter back. It’s something that they wanted to do over the summer. That’s why they made him an offer, something that I’ve reported in the past. And it’s also something that they’d be open to in the future, perhaps next year in some capacity. But they’ve decided now is not the right time. And I think the consensus seems to be there’s so much going on right now, and they want this season to be about this team, their accomplishments and their playoff push and not the sideshow that I think would come with a Vince Carter return.

The Raptors (41-16) are on pace for their best record ever. They’re excelling offensively and defensively. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are spearheading a more dynamic offense that spurs hope for more playoff success.

Toronto is probably correct to save the Carter reunion for another year – though it depends who else is available. That 15th roster spot could be useful. If Carter is the best player who’d sign, the Raptors should sign him and deal with the hoopla.

But it’s not clear whom they could get or whether they could even get Carter. He hasn’t sounded like someone who’d forgo guaranteed salary to play for the minimum.

Tiago Splitter announces retirement

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Tiago Splitter was so effective in his role for the Spurs during their playoff run to the 2014 title – 19.1 PER, .239 win shares per 48 minutes, +7.5 box plus-minus. It gets forgotten, because he twice lost his starting job that postseason.

Limited by a late start in the NBA and injuries, Splitter’s prime was short and ill-timed. He was a traditional center just as those were going out of style.

But for moments in the right matchups, he provided a major boost to a championship team. That was the peak of a seven-year NBA career.

HoopsHype:

Tiago Splitter announced his retirement at the age of 33 in an interview with SporTV.

Splitter just couldn’t get healthy. He missed 150 games over the last three years with the Spurs, Hawks and 76ers.

Drafted No. 28 in 2007, Splitter remained overseas for a few years and built hype and intrigue. He signed with San Antonio and started alongside Tim Duncan for a couple years. The Spurs later dumped him on Atlanta to clear space for LaMarcus Aldridge – a sign of Splitter’s success. He earned about $47 million in his NBA career.

J.J. Redick apologizes for saying what sounded like a slur for Chinese people

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76ers guard J.J. Redick explained saying what sounded like a slur for Chinese people – he was tongue-tied. But he didn’t actually apologize, and that bothered many.

Now, he’s getting that part right.

Redick:

Maybe Redick really did just stumble over his words. Based on the inflection, it certainly sounds possible.

Maybe he thought he was being funny then got caught.

He’d respond now the same way now either way. Maybe it’s just unfortunate he’s caught up in this. Maybe he’s using plausible deniability to get away with something.

I don’t know, but it’s good he apologized. People can apologize for accidents, and it usually helps make everyone feel better and move on.