Heat’s reported free agent targets: Steve Blake, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Marvin Williams, Trevor Ariza, Kyle Lowry, DeJuan Blair, Spencer Hawes, Channing Frye

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LeBron James might want a max contract.

Or he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh might accept less to allow Pat Riley to upgrade the Heat’s supporting cast.

I believe the uncertainty rests in whom Riley could land. I don’t see the big three taking pay cuts to make room for just anyone.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

According to sources, among the players the Heat will pursue are veteran Warriors guard Steve Blake, who can play either guard spot, can knock down 3-pointers and is expected to draw interest from other contenders, like the Thunder.

Another pair of graybeards is also on the Heat list: Shawn Marion of the Mavericks and teammate Vince Carter. Both players have expressed interest in the team, and the feeling is said to be mutual.

The Heat would like to add someone in his prime this summer, including Marvin Williams, Trevor Ariza or Kyle Lowry. But the fact is, there won’t be much available when it comes to players in their 20s, and the Heat can’t go overboard with spending. DeJuan Blair is a possibility at power forward, while Spencer Hawes and Channing Frye are outside possibilities for the frontcourt.

Beyond Lowry – who’s receiving plenty of attention from the Raptors and Rockets – and maaaybe Ariza, those players don’t warrant LeBron, Wade and Bosh relinquishing salary.

Miami needs better support for the big three, and these players could push the Heat over the edge to the championship next season. It’s not as if they were that far off this year, and the won the previous two years.

But most of these players are not exceptional. They’re supporting players, and the mid-level exception, bi-annual exception or minimum salaries – what Miami would have available if the big three seek big deals – should be enough to lure them to a championship-caliber team playing in a tax-free state with great weather.

When Marvin Williams is a longshot, that says something about the Heat’s options.

Charles Barkley on new schedule: “These poor babies can’t play back-to-back games”

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Training camp hasn’t even opened yet, but Charles Barkley is already in midseason “get off my lawn” form.

Barkley — the man who can’t stand jump shooting teams, or analytics, or LeBron James asking for better players, or your newfangled technology — went off on another tedious rant at an SMU event Wednesday, this time about the NBA’s decision to start the season a little earlier and have fewer back-to-backs and eliminate four-games-in-five-nights.

Ugh. Like a lot of former players — and a lot of non-athletes, for that matter — Barkley is convinced his peak as a player coincided with the greatest era of basketball ever. Things were never better than the way they did it in his day.

Which means facts — like pointing to the studies that show players both are less likely to be injured and play better and more efficiently when rested — don’t matter. Barkley did it, so players now should have to do it. Who cares if all these packed in games can shorten their careers?

Then again, maybe a few days off would have helped Barkley in the second half of his career.

B.J. Armstrong, former Jordan-era Bull turned agent, told me last year that if teams and players knew in his day what they know now about rest and injury, you would have seen stars like MJ rest. Over time we learn more information, and the smart people and organizations adjust.

Barkley will make far more headlines over the course of the season, he gets paid to be brash, say whatever pops into head, and be generally draw attention to himself. It makes him entertaining, and that’s what Inside the NBA is about. But I will defer to Steve Kerr’s comments from last playoffs on all these old “get off my lawn” players.

“The game gets worse as time goes on. Players are less talented than they used to be. The guys in the 50s would’ve destroyed everybody. It’s weird how human evolution goes in reverse in sports. Players get weaker, smaller, less skilled. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.

Wizards’ Markieff Morris to have sports hernia surgery, miss start of camp

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When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.

That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.

Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.

Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).