We’ve said it before and I imagine we will say it many more times: If the Miami Heat are going to three-peat they are going to need to a healthy and improved Dwyane Wade this season and in the playoffs. They are going to need some other things as well, but Wade is a huge key.
He knows it. And he’s taking steps to get there.
We told you he was getting back into workouts now that he has an shock therapy on the tendonitis in his knees, now we learn that those workouts are with his former Chicago trainer Tim Grover. You know, Michael Jordan’s trainer. This from Brian Windhorst at ESPN’s Heat Index.
Wade has vowed that he will return a different player than he was at the end of last season, when he was limited by bone bruises and tendinitis in his knees. The 31-year-old guard averaged 21.2 points per game during the regular season, but just 15.9 PPG in the playoffs.
“I don’t train my clients to be good as new, I want them to be better than ever,” Grover said about working with Wade again. “That’s the goal for Dwyane.”
Wade likely will drop a few pounds and be in improved shape for this season, but will that be enough? Has he learned to adapt his game to an aging body that can’t just be explosive?
He told the Sun-Sentinel people will doubt him but he is used to that.
“I’m not done yet,” Wade said. “I still got more in the tank. Like I said, my focus is just to make sure physically I can do the things I need to do. My skills haven’t diminished by no stretch of the imagination….
“You lose something as you get older, when it comes to your athleticism,” he said, “but you don’t lose your game, you don’t lose what’s up here [pointing to his head]. My job, my whole life, I’ve always had that kind of doubter, people have always doubted me. And I don’t know how I would succeed without it. So I welcome it, and it gives me a challenge and I will see if I can live up to my challenge.”
Wade’s spirit is willing, we will see about the flesh.
Eric Bledsoe reportedly requested a trade from the Suns before the season then tweeted yesterday:
After sending home Bledsoe today, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained his rationale:
The hair salon! What a wonderful excuse.
Is it true? I’m not going to call Bledsoe a liar. It might be.
It’s also probably true that Bledsoe isn’t long for Phoenix.
In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.
This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.
At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.
Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.
But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.
Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.
But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.
Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.
Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:
“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”
The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.
There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.
But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.
Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.
Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted yesterday:
In light of Phoenix’s 0-3 start and Earl Watson getting fired yesterday, that sure looks like a trade request. Still, there’s risk in making assumptions about vague tweets.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Why wouldn’t Bledsoe want out? The 27-year-old is in his prime and stuck on a young team that would rather tank than play him.
It’ll be interesting to see how Bledsoe explains the tweet. He previously paid lip service to his situation in Phoenix, but it appears he’s ready to open up. On the other hand, public trade requests typically draw fines from the NBA.