NEW ORLEANS — Well, Pat Riley just added a little more fuel to the Heat-Celtics rivalry that simply won’t die.
After Celtics GM Danny Ainge recently called LeBron James’ complaints about the hard fouls he takes “almost embarrassing,” the Heat President fired back with both barrels in a pre-game statement delivered to the Heat media by a representative, saying:
“Danny Ainge needs to STFU and manage his own team. He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing. I know because I coached against him.”
Yes, that is an accurate quote, STFU and all, delivered to a huddle of media members with their jaws firmly on the floor. My two big takeaways from this:
1) Pat Riley is certainly willing to stick up for his players, and clearly is at the stage of his career where he’s willing to say whatever is on his mind.
2) If the Celtics manage to fall down to the 8th seed, a Celtics-Heat playoff series would be about as interesting as a #1-#8 matchup can get.
“I see you,” he said. “I see everyone. More than just your physical presence, I see your energy. I feel it. I know it.”
“I think that the most important thing that I strive to live by is extremely by truth and by consistently giving others the truth, without any judgement, without constraints, without anything extra except the understanding that I see you,” he said. “I have family members who come from knowing energy, and it was passed along to me.”
Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.
The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.
Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.
The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.
We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.
The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.
The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.
Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.