Winderman: Heat would like mulligan on expectations hype


The Miami Heat would like a do-over.

No, not on the offseason haul of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. But rather on the approach.

Uh, yeah, perhaps they did get just a wee bit ahead of themselves.

“It’s not easy putting this kind of talent together,” Wade acknowledged in the wake of losses to the Grizzlies and Pacers. “The easiest part was making the announcement and that seemed like it was hard, right? And that was the easiest part.”

To recap:

July 7: Wade and Bosh announce at midday on ESPN they will play for the Heat.

July 8: LeBron announces in prime time on ESPN he will play for the Heat.

July 9: Wade, Bosh and James celebrate their signings rock-star style at AmericanAirlines Arena, forecasting multiple championships.

Today: A middle-of-the-pack reality.

“It’s going to take time,” Wade said of the revised forecast, amid the cold front that has Erik Spoelstra’s future under increased scrutiny. “I think inside, in here, most of the team has communicated with each other to keep our goal that we have in mind first and don’t really get into the outside expectation.”

It is, of course, an “outside expectation” that the Heat created, one that Spoelstra said during training camp that he and his team embraced.

Now Wade is taking the long view, with each of the three under contract for six seasons, albeit with escape clauses after four.

“We’re together for six years, and outside expectations of what this team can be one day might be (realized),” he said. “Right now, at this moment, it’s not that. And we’ve got to understand that and keep working toward that.”

Already Jeff Van Gundy has backed off his prediction of the Heat challenging the all-time best record of 72-10. Of course, Van Gundy also had forecast that the Heat might go the entire season without consecutive losses, something that has happened twice already.

No, this has not been easy, will not be automatic.

“A lot is going on right now with myself and D-Wade; we’re playing passive,” James said. “And then when we take a shot, it almost looks out of rhythm. It looks very out of rhythm.”

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

Rumor: Magic expected to fire Frank Vogel

AP Photo/John Raoux
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Magic president Jeff Weltman inherited an expensive and bad roster, limiting his options to shape it.

He also inherited coach Frank Vogel, and maybe there’s something Weltman will do about that.

Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:

Orlando’s ongoing malaise, especially after the promise of an unexpected 8-4 start, make it a widely held assumption in coaching circles that Vogel will be dismissed after the franchise’s sixth successive season out of the playoffs.

Perhaps, these people in coaching circles are doing nothing more than connecting dots. Many coaches with poor records – only the Suns and Nets have been worse during Vogel’s two-year tenure – inherited by a new front office get fired.

Or it could be something more concrete, like Orlando putting out feelers for potential replacements. That possibility gives juice to this report.

Vogel has one more guaranteed year left on his contract, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Will ownership pay to oust Vogel? That seems likely. The alternative is paying Weltman to sit on his hands.

This would be a tough break for Vogel, who coached well with the Pacers. The Magic’s roster is just so lacking. Vogel hasn’t impressed in Orlando, but his opportunity to do so has been narrow.

At least it’d be more understandable if he got fired by a losing team. Last time, he got fired by a winning team.

Rumor: Bucks, Jabari Parker could part after season

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Jabari Parker is a confounding fit on the Bucks now and in the future.

Could he and Milwaukee part ways this summer, when he’ll be a restricted free agent?

Gery Woelfel on 105.7 The Fan:

At this very moment, I’d say the odds are slim to none it’s going to happen … that he’ll be on this team next year.

I just don’t see a good fit there. I didn’t bring this up, and I’ve been meaning to do so, but I haven’t. He came very, very close to being traded at the deadline. And I think that spoke volumes of they think of Jabari Parker and whether he’s a part of their future plans.

Bucks executive Alex Lasry denied it:

So did general manager Jon Horst. Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Horst made it clear both on the radio and in a separate interview with the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that the Bucks never had any intention of trading Parker

Teams often discuss trading players then deny it to avoid offending the player. Whether or not they nearly traded Parker, the Bucks would probably respond now similarly.

As far as Parker’s future in Milwaukee, it’s unclear where the well-connected Woelfel’s reporting ends and his analysis begins. There’s a huge difference between trading Parker for value and letting him walk for nothing. Just because the Bucks came close to trading Parker wouldn’t mean they won’t re-sign him.

Shedding Parker would not open cap space without additional moves. It would probably allow Milwaukee to use the full mid-level exception and stay beneath the luxury-tax line. But that’s unlikely to land a player who combines Parker’s age and talent.

Because Parker will be a restricted free agent, the Bucks hold the cards. If he’s upset about trade talks or anything else, he can’t unilaterally leave.

Milwaukee must determine how much to pay Parker and how to utilize him with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those are hard questions. But the Bucks throwing up their hands and letting Parker walk in free agency isn’t the answer.

Tony Parker: My quad injury 100 times worse than Kawhi Leonard’s

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Tony Parker reportedly led a players-only meeting in which Spurs implored Kawhi Leonard to return.

Leonard injured his quad last season, has played just nine games this season and remains sidelined. The Spurs have reportedly cleared him, but he got second opinions and is waiting for his medical team to clear him.

Parker injured his quad last May then returned in November – and said at the time Leonard would return in 2-3 weeks.

Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News:

It’s not hard to read between these lines.

Though some Spurs reportedly told Leonard to return only once he feels ready, Parker is clearly applying pressure. It’s not working, but he’s apparently not stopping.

These comments don’t befit a healthy organization, which is just so stunning for the Spurs, whose excellent culture has been exalted for year.

Maybe Parker will get his wish, and a shamed-into-playing Leonard will lead San Antonio deep into the playoffs. But it seems more likely these quotes will just increase tension.

Celtics: Kyrie Irving to undergo ‘minimally invasive procedure’ on injured knee

AP Photo/Jim Mone

With uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving‘s knee injury, the Celtics announced a course of action.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that guard Kyrie Irving will tomorrow undergo a minimally invasive procedure to alleviate irritation in his left knee. Further information will be provided following tomorrow’s procedure, and the team will have no further comment until that time.

This is so vague. We barely know more than we did before.

Irving reportedly might need the pins removed from his knee, so that’d be the first guess at the type of procedure. But that’s just a guess.

The Celtics look vulnerable with Irving hobbled, which is big update from yesterday, when the Celtics looked vulnerable with Irving hobbled.