Tag: Miami Heat

2014 NBA Finals - Practice Day And Media Availability

Jason Kidd: Bucks, too, had interest in signing Ray Allen


Ray Allen is one of the game’s greatest shooters, so it’s no surprise that he drew interest from plenty of teams in free agency, even as he’s set to enter what would be his 19th NBA season.

The problem for all of them is that Allen has yet to decide if he’s going to play at all this year, or simply retire instead.

The Cavaliers, thanks to Allen’s prior relationship in Miami with LeBron James (along with the team’s status as title contenders) have to be considered in the lead for his services, should he indeed choose to return. But others like the Clippers, Spurs, Wizards and Bulls have reached out, as did another team that would appear to be a long shot.

From Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Bucks coach Jason Kidd said the team had sincere interest in bringing veteran Ray Allen back to the team during the past summer, but the former Bucks player was not inclined to return. …

“We did contact Ray,” Kidd said. “He’s weighing his options to see where he wants to go. But we did have interest.” …

“We thought he would be a good piece for us to try to get but he didn’t have any interest.”

Allen played the first six-plus seasons of his career with the Bucks before being traded to Seattle in the middle of his seventh, and was a key piece on the 2001 team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals.

But since he had similar runs with the Sonics and Celtics, Milwaukee doesn’t have the emotional pull necessary to lure Allen back — especially to play with a young team that isn’t expected to come anywhere close to sniffing the playoffs.

67RIEFNS No. 15: Kawhi Leonard playing to get paid (even if he’s not)

Kawhi Leonard

The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

The Spurs, more than any other NBA team, are known for their strong organizational culture.

They share the ball, defend hard and, when the time comes, accept less-than-market-value contracts.

Kawhi Leonard has bought in to those first two principle. Now will he follow suit with the third tenet?

Leonard is San Antonio’s only draft pick higher than No. 20, either drafted directly or acquired in a draft-night trade, since No. 1 pick Tim Duncan in 1997. The talented Leonard has blended seamlessly with Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. There’s no whiff of entitlement or selfishness that comes with many high picks. Leonard is a dedicated student, a hard worker and a true Spur.

Now, it’s time for him to get paid.

Leonard, who’s eligible for a contract extension until Oct. 31, should accept nothing short of a max deal. I previously wrote San Antonio shouldn’t offer that much until Leonard becomes a restricted free agent summer next season, but the escalating salary cap under the new national TV contracts might change the math.

Still, from Leonard’s perspective, it should be a max extension or no extension. As I wrote earlier this summer:

In the last decade, just 20 first-round picks have produced as many win shares as Leonard through three seasons, when they became eligible for contract extensions. So far, 15 of those 20 have received max deals – 14 by extension.* Only Brook Lopez had to wait until free agency for his, and Greg Monroe – a free agent this summer who’s seeking a max contract – could make it 16 of 20 with max contracts following their four-year rookie deals.**

*Max contract is a term with multiple definitions. Here, I mean any contract that starts at the maximum allowable salary for a typical fifth-year player.

**The other four – Al Horford (five-year, $60 million extension), Rajon Rondo (five-year, $55 million extension), Andre Iguodala (six-year, $80 million re-signing), Luol Deng (six-year, $71.06 million re-signing) – also did pretty well for themselves.

And none of those players were the youngest NBA Finals MVP outside Magic Johnson. Leonard checks every box.

There’s a case Leonard, whose youth allows him to play more than his aging teammates, is already the Spurs’ best player. He’s a stout defender, active rebounder and emerging spot-up shooter. His length and athleticism will allow him to keep improving, too.

In every way – for his own betterment – Leonard has tilted his game to help San Antonio.

Now, it’s time to look out for No. 1.

Leonard could accept the security of a max extension if the Spurs offer one. Or he could chase a bigger contract in an escalating-cap world. He’s so clearly a max player, and I don’t see him slipping below that bar anytime soon.

If Leonard opts for a max extension now, that’s great. He deserves it, and I’d celebrate him earning the highest possible amount from a San Antonio franchise that has marketed stinginess as positive player sacrifice.

But if he lets Oct. 31 pass without a deal, he’ll be very directly playing for a new contract. He’ll be standing up to the system, a powerful move.

Either way, Leonard should keep the same approach that has gotten him so far already.

Work hard. Focus on improving individual skills. Do whatever is necessary to complement the veterans.

And then he should adopt an additional ethos:

Get paid.

Heat players happy that first game against LeBron, Cavs behind them

Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers

It got as much hype as any preseason game in years — LeBron James and his Cavaliers take on his old team the Miami Heat down in Brazil.

The Heat players are mostly just glad that’s over.

For a couple days before there were some verbal jabs. When the game tipped off LeBron was booed some early by the pro-Heat Brazilian crowd, but Cavaliers went on to win the meaningless preseason game in overtime (the Heat scrubs came back from 10 down in the fourth quarter on the Cavs scrubs to force OT). When it was done both Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra told Brian Windhorst of ESPN they were happy its as all over.

“I like the fact we could get everything out of the way,” said Bosh, who had 19 points in the game. “Just let everybody see it, so we can move on. As far as seeing LeBron on another team, we’re pretty much over that now.”

“There was a certain level of strangeness to it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think it benefits both teams to get the awkwardness out of the way in the preseason.”

You’d like to think this is in your past Heat players, but it’s not.

Most sports fans are not paying a lot of attention to the NBA right now. They will be on Christmas Day — and that is the next time you face LeBron and the Cavaliers. They come to Miami just a few hours after Santa.

That is when all this is going to be dredged up again, all the questions will be asked by the media again, the Miami fans will be fired up again. You’ll say “we’ve moved past this” for a week beforehand, it will not slow the train.

After Christmas, then it will mostly be over.