Former Miami heat player Shane Battier gestures to his former teammates before an NBA basketball between the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Shane Battier returns to Heat, to lead analytics department

1 Comment

Shane Battier has returned to the Miami Heat.

Battier is now a member of the Heat front office, assuming the newly created role of director of basketball development and analytics. The Heat announced the move Thursday, describing Battier’s new job as one where he will develop analytics to evaluate talent – including college players, free agents and members of the existing roster.

“My goal, as is the entire organization’s, is to bring another championship back to Miami,” Battier said.

Battier played 13 seasons in the NBA, the last three of those in Miami and helped the Heat win championships in 2012 and 2013. He and his family have continued to call South Florida home since, and has maintained ties with the organization.

He has been close with Heat managing general partner Micky Arison and CEO Nick Arison since his playing days at Duke, when Nick Arison was the Blue Devils’ manager.

“I am thrilled to be joining the front office of the Miami Heat,” Battier said. “I look forward to working with the Arison family, learning from a Hall of Fame executive in Pat Riley, general manager Andy Elisburg and of course my old coach, Erik Spoelstra.”

Battier was enormously popular among fans and teammates in his tenure with the Heat. He was a key part in the second and third championships won by the Heat, and now he’ll be asked to help them win a fourth.

“We believe Shane is an incredible example of our Heat program, not only for the present, but also for the future,” said Riley, the Heat president. “He embodies everything that we are looking for in our players and staff. We feel he will help us tremendously with his experience and knowledge of the game. Shane is an out-of-the-box thinker and will bring a fresh expertise that can help us evolve as a franchise.”

The Heat went to the NBA Finals in all three seasons that Battier played in Miami. He won the Twyman-Stokes NBA Teammate of the Year award in 2014 and the Magic Johnson Award for excellence on the court with cooperation with media and fans in 2013, both of those coming during his Heat tenure.

He retired with career averages of 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists on 44 percent shooting.

Kevin Durant says widely mocked 2010 super-team tweet misunderstood

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 25: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors shoots over LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
6 Comments

In July 2010, Kevin Durant broke the news of his five-year contract extension with the Thunder via tweet. Six years later, he conducted a high-profile free agency in the Hamptons and bolted for the Warriors.

That change in approach is perfectly reasonable, but another tweet in July 2010 had many Durant critics crying hypocrisy when Durant joined Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson with Golden State, which had just eliminated Oklahoma City in the playoffs:

How could Durant criticize LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for teaming up with the Heat and then join the Warriors?

Durant on The Bill Simmons Podcast:

Let me clear this up, because a lot of people who talk to me about, I took a shot at him on Twitter.

If you go back and look at when I posted that, I posted that later in the month. You want to know why?

Because I seen — it was a fake article at that, so now, I was like, damn, I feel like an idiot. Penny Hardaway came out and said, “I would love to play for the Heat. I think I could help them win the championship.” And I’m like, “Come on, Penny. You’ve been out of the game. I played against you my rookie year. It’s like three years later, man. You’ve been out of the game for a while, man. What are you doing?” But it was a fake article. So I tweeted that.

And now everybody’s like, “Well, you was criticizing LeBron.” I signed an extension and right after LeBron decided to go to Miami, and I had a press conference, and a lot of people asked me about that, and I said, “Cool, for them. We play them three times, I can’t wait to play them. It’s going to be cool.”

But I didn’t criticize him. I was criticizing Penny Hardaway and this fake article I read.

So, a lot of people took that and ran with it.

This mostly checks out.

Hardaway stated and restated a desire to join the Heat before ending his comeback attempt a couple days later. He hadn’t played in the NBA in three years, at all productively in eight years or well in 10 years. But he actually said these things about joining Miami. It wasn’t fake news.

And Durant’s tweet came in the midst of Hardaway explaining his hope to return. It would have been strange for Durant to slam LeBron in a tweet nine days after The Decision.

Durant’s recollection of his comments about the top 2010 free agents were mostly accurate. Via a 2010 article in The Oklahoman:

“As a fan of the game, I’m excited for guys like LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh. Getting new contracts and getting to pick a team is a blessing so you can’t blame them for what they did.”

However, that was before The Decision. Only Wade and Bosh had picked the Heat at that point. Durant was praising the players for navigating free agency.

Overall, far too many facts match up with Durant’s account to believe he’s fibbing to cover up a LeBron diss.

 

 

Manu Ginobili with ridiculous no-look pass to Kawhi Leonard for dunk (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Tuesday, we were rightfully praising LeBron James for maybe the best pass of the year, a no-look between Andrew Wiggins‘ legs for a Derrick Williams dunk.

Wednesday, Manu Ginobili reminded us all he’s the master of the no-look with a dish in transition to Kawhi Leonard for the dunk.

San Antonio picked up the win, 107-79, behind 23 from Kawhi Leonard.

LeBron James, Cavaliers hold off Andrew Wiggins and Timberwolves 116-108 (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) LeBron James spent the morning sending a crystal clear message to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the wake of Kevin Love‘s knee injury: things will be just fine as long as James is on the court.

He spent the night backing that up against an emboldened Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves, as if anyone doubted him in the first place.

James had 25 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds to lead the Cavaliers to a 116-108 victory over the Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Channing Frye had 21 points and 10 rebounds while starting for Love, who will miss at least the next six weeks after having surgery on his left knee. Kyre Irving scored 25 points for the Cavs and James sealed the victory with a stepback 3-pointer with two minutes to play.

“The one thing that we can always rely on is the fact that we’ve played without Kev before,” James said. “We’ve had to do that in the playoffs. As much as you don’t like to play without some of your big guns, sometimes if it happens then you’re just ready for it.”

Wiggins scored 41 points against the team that drafted him and Karl-Anthony Towns scored 26 for the Wolves, who finished a six-game homestand at 2-4. The Wolves allowed Cleveland to shoot 51 percent and hit 13 3s.

“It’s always competitive playing them,” Wiggins said. “I feel like it brings out the best in everybody.”

James took his time to get going, choosing to get others involved, including with a no-look pass through Wiggins’ legs to a diving Derrick Williams for a layup in the second quarter. He threw down two soaring dunks later in the third and added a Jordan-like reverse layup as part of a highlight-filled night.

“It’s been a burden on me since I got drafted. Why does it change now?” James said when asked if he has to do more with Love out. “Nothing’s changed. I’ll have my guys ready to play every single night.”

The Cavs appeared to be pulling away when they opened a 14-point lead in the third quarter, but Wiggins exploded for 20 points in the period to make it a game. He hit a 3-pointer and beat the buzzer on a long 2 to tie it at 93 going into the fourth.

Wiggins was chosen by the Cavs No. 1 overall three years ago, but that was before James made his surprising return to Cleveland. The Cavs traded Wiggins to Minnesota for Love and Wiggins has always given them his best punch. He entered the night averaging 27.6 points per game against them, his highest scoring average against any team in the league.

The Wolves missed two open 3-pointers that would have tied the game in the final four minutes, but James hit his from deep and Williams got a steal and a layup to drop Wiggins to 0-6 against the Cavs.

“We’ll get `em eventually,” Wiggins said.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: F Iman Shumpert played 25 minutes after missing the previous three games with a sprained left ankle. … Williams scored 13 points off the bench against the team that drafted him No. 2 overall. … Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 11 boards.

Timberwolves: SG Zach LaVine had surgery in Los Angeles on Tuesday to reconstruct the torn ACL in his left knee. He is expected to miss nine months while recovering. … Ricky Rubio had 16 assists and eight rebounds, but was just 2 for 8 from the field.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

As he prepared to face a Timberwolves team filled with very young players trying to find their place in the league, James was asked how long it took him to turn the corner as a professional.

“I turned a corner very, very young,” James said, smiling. “Probably about 16.”

STEPHENSON INJURED

Guard Lance Stephenson has played well since signing a 10-day contract last week, and the Wolves were hoping to have his defensive intensity against James and the Cavs on Tuesday night. But Stephenson grotesquely rolled his left ankle just three minutes into his first shift and needed help walking off the floor. Stephenson hit his only two shots before he was injured.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: Cleveland heads back home to face Indiana on Wednesday for its final game before the All-Star break.

Timberwolves: Minnesota flies to Denver for a game Wednesday night in a key game for the Wolves against the Nuggets, who currently own the eighth seed in the West.

Let LeBron melt your brain with this between-the-legs pass on Andrew Wiggins (VIDEO)

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James waits during a timeout in the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
AP
1 Comment

LeBron James said he wouldn’t need to step up with Kevin Love out because he never stepped down. After watching this pass, that seems about right.

The play started with LeBron bringing the ball down the floor in the second quarter on Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

James was at the top of the arc, with Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins playing up and in a defensive stance to guard against a drive to the basket.

LeBron saw an opportunity, and no-look nutmegged Wiggins on an assist to Derrick Williams.

That’s just … what?

Every part of that pass — the angle, the nutmeg, the look off, and the chutzpah to throw it — was incredible.