Associated Press

Dwyane Wade wants to wear Heat jersey again — someday


MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade cannot be clearer about this: He wants to wear a Miami Heat uniform again.


After signing his one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade – speaking from his new locker room – told The Associated Press that Miami is “always in my heart” and that he took a serious look at whether this was the right time to return to the franchise where he spent his first 13 NBA seasons.

“Miami, the door’s always unlocked,” Wade told AP. “One day I want to retire in a Miami Heat jersey. I don’t know how that will happen, but I definitely want to make sure than when I decide to hang it up, that jersey is on. Whether it’s being back there or signing a one-day deal like Paul Pierce, I want to make sure that I go out the way I came in.”

The Heat have also indicated they would like a reunion many times – such as when they took out a full-page newspaper ad saying “We’ll leave a key under the mat for you” when he left Miami for Chicago last year and earlier this week, when Miami coach Erik Spoelstra talked about “our hopes for where he ends up eventually.”

“Everybody knows how we all feel about him,” Spoelstra said.

The feeling is mutual.

Wade is from Chicago and now will live in Cleveland, but Miami is home. His children are back in South Florida schools after joining him in Chicago last year, and Wade said he got the blessing from his oldest son to pursue the Cleveland opportunity.

“When it comes down to big decisions like this, there’s two people I listen to: Her name is Gabrielle Union Wade and his name is Zaire Wade,” Dwyane Wade said, referring to his wife and oldest son. “I listen to Zaire and my wife and try to see what they feel and what they want. Zaire told me just like this: `Dad, I would love to have you here and be around more. But I want you to go get your fourth ring.”‘

With that, it became an easy choice.

Some Heat fans lobbied Wade on Twitter to come back to Miami after he got his buyout from the Bulls this week, and former teammates like Udonis Haslem, Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic also said they wanted him back.

Wade said it was flattering.

“To be in this position, to be in this league so long and to have fans wanting you to be part of their team – I mean, we all want to be wanted – I can’t even explain what that means,” Wade said. “I really looked at their team and where could I fit in and what could my role be and would I be happy with that role.”

Miami has plenty of shooting guards: Dion Waiters is the presumed starter, and Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Wayne Ellington all will see time at that spot for the Heat.

Wade looked at Miami’s depth at that position and realized the fit wouldn’t be ideal. Plus, the Heat were able to bring back most everyone from a team that went 30-11 in the second half of last season and Wade thought he could get in the way.

“Honestly, I didn’t feel they needed me there,” Wade said. “I feel that those guys are in a good place. They deserve to come back this year and see what that 30-11 was about. They don’t need me there over their shoulder or anything like that. That’s kind of how I approached it.”

There is a bit of irony in how the schedule works out.

When he was with the Bulls last season, Chicago played at Miami only once – one of the schedule quirks that has some Eastern Conference teams playing each other three times instead of the more-customary four. The same thing happens this season in the Heat-Cavaliers series, with Cleveland coming to Miami one time only.

“Last year, honestly, I could only take coming back that once,” Wade said. “It worked out for the better last year. It was the weirdest game I ever played in my life.”


Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo doubtful with ankle injury for Bulls game

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MILWAUKEE (AP) The Milwaukee Bucks say Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful for Friday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls with a sprained right ankle.

The All-Star forward got hurt in the second quarter of a 127-120 loss on Wednesday to the Los Angeles Clippers when he appeared to trip over teammate Shabazz Muhammad under the Bucks’ basket.

Antetokounmpo is fourth in the league in scoring at 27.3 points a game.


Anfernee Simons declares for NBA draft straight out of high school (kind of)

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Anfernee Simons spent the last year playing high school basketball. But because he did so as a fifth-year prep after technically graduating from high school last year and turns 19 in June, he’s eligible for the NBA draft.

Following a path taken by Thon Maker and considered by Jonathan Isaac, Simons – as expected – is turning pro.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN:

Anfernee Simons will forgo his collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2018 NBA draft, he informed ESPN.

Simons informed ESPN that he will sign with agent Bobby Petriella of Rosenhaus Sports Representation

Simons looks like a mid-first-rounder, though his range is quite wide considering how large of a jump he’s making. Teams can learn relatively more about him in workouts and interviews.

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard who specializes in scoring, Simons is quick on his feet with a quick release off the dribble – with range from beyond the 3-point arc to an impressive floater game. Those floaters will be important, because Simons isn’t nearly strong enough for the NBA. He’s also a lackluster passer, though because of physicality concerns, no team will count on Simons to run an offense anytime soon, anyway. He’ll have time to develop as a distributor.

By signing with agents, Simons loses his college eligibility. Drew Rosenhaus, a big-name football agent, isn’t certified with the National Basketball Players Association. Petriella’s only NBA client has been Diamond Stone, a 2016 second-rounder who’s out of the league. They’re all in this bold venture together now.

As the NBA considers changing its draft rules for young prospects, Simons will be an interesting case study. He obviously meets the draft-eligibility requirements in the one-and-done era, but he’s also jumping from prep-school competition to the NBA. The league’s strength and nutrition programs should serve him well. His overall development could influence the wider debate.

For third time in career, Dwight Howard suspended for technical fouls

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In the midst of his historic 32-point, 30-rebound game, Dwight Howard picked up a technical foul for arguing about an uncalled foul when his shot was blocked.


Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard has been suspended one game without pay for receiving his 16th technical foul of the 2017-18 season, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Five players have been suspended 11 times under NBA’s current technical-foul policy, which went into effect before the 2005-06 season and suspends players one game for their 16th technical and another game for every other subsequent tech each season.

The full list of suspensions:

  • Rasheed Wallace 2006-07
  • Rasheed Wallace 2006-07
  • Stephen Jackson 2008-09
  • Dwight Howard 2010-11
  • Dwight Howard 2010-11
  • DeMarcus Cousins 2013-14
  • Blake Griffin 2013-14
  • DeMarcus Cousins 2015-16
  • DeMarcus Cousins 2016-17
  • DeMarcus Cousins 2016-17
  • Dwight Howard 2017-18

The Hornets are already out of the playoff race, and Howard will serve the suspension against the tanking Grizzlies tonight. He loses $162,069 in salary, but the effects of this suspension are relatively minimal.

However, Howard will miss his first game this season. Playing all 82 games would have been quite an accomplishment at this stage of his career.

Report: Kawhi Leonard didn’t give inquiring Spurs teammates a return date or guarantee he will play this season

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The Spurs reportedly held a players-only meeting to implore Kawhi Leonard to play. He reportedly defended his missing games due to injury. Even if his teammates believed his extended absence was justified, they surely wanted to know when it would end.

Apparently, they didn’t get an answer.

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:

According to sources, Leonard, who was caught off guard by the meeting, stood his ground. He spoke up telling his teammates that a return was still the goal. But Leonard offered no set date or guarantee about a return this season.

Leonard did receive support from some teammates, urging him not to return until he feels healthy enough, sources told the Express-News.
The meeting lasted roughly five to 10 minutes with no clear update on Leonard’s plans.

Leonard previously told teammates he planned to return to play, according to Danny Green (who, incidentally, denied the ESPN report). Later, Leonard said he planned to play soon. But despite reportedly targeting a return a week ago, he remains out.

No matter how hard anyone pushes, nobody can seem to get a straight answer – which only adds frustration.

Some teammates are apparently more understanding than others, though. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN characterized the meeting as “tense and emotional at times” with teammates “expressing frustration and confusion.” Young adds Leonard “did receive support from some teammates, urging him not to return until he feels healthy enough.”

I’m sure everyone wants Leonard back only once he’s healthy enough, but that’s a vague standard. The Spurs have reportedly cleared him. Leonard and his own medical team haven’t. It wouldn’t be surprising if his teammates are also divided on whether or not Leonard should play.

When will he deem himself ready? If this meeting didn’t yield an answer, I don’t know what will.