Heat’s options without Haslem: More Juwan Howard or get another player. Yuck.

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More Juwan Howard?

If this were 1988, that might be a good call for a team, but we’ve all moved on from that year, something evidenced by the fact we no longer consider “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” good music. In 2010 both Howard and Bobby McFerrin should be used only in moderation.

But right now, the Miami Heat don’t have a choice.

The Heat are not a deep team, a truth born of the salary cap and the way the team was assembled. After a few core players Pat Riley could only offer minimum salaries, and while he may have gotten the best of that group we’re still talking about guys willing to play for the minimum.

So the news that Udonis Haslem will be out until the All-Star break or longer really cuts into the Heat depth and rotation. Haslem was the best rebounder the Heat have and was a steadying, physical presence inside on their defense. Both of those things will be missed.

So now what?

In the short term, it means more Juwan Howard, the 16-year veteran who has so far played just mop-up duty at the end of a couple games. He is the guy on the depth chart behind Haslem.

He doesn’t bring a lot, as Tom Haberstroh noted in a detailed look at ESPN. The good news is he still has a midrange game so you can run some pick-and-pop with him on offense. He can still score the rock a little.

But he does not bring much if any real rebounding. He is not a defensive presence in the paint. He doesn’t bring the things the Heat really counted on out of Haslem.

That means Miami could try to sign a free agent, something Riley admitted to ESPN.

“There’s a possibility we might need more rebounding,” Riley said. “We need more rebounding, and we need obviously somebody that is going to have a big body in the paint that can make a difference and have an impact. We will consider something like that.”

There are not a lot of free agent bigs out there right now. Erick Dampier remains the biggest name, he flirted with a number of teams including the Heat but has had a couple deals fall through. There have been rumblings of health concerns, but for whatever reason a guy who started in Dallas last season but can’t get a job may be the Heat’s best option.

Shavlik Randolph also was in the Heat’s training camp and they could bring him in.

However, the Heat have a full 15 guys on the roster, to bring anyone in means to buy out someone already in the locker room. Which is not something owners like to do.

Basically, there are no good options, just some that may be less bad than others. But after Haslem went down against Memphis the Grizzlies dominated the glass on their way to upsetting the Heat. If that remains the case, choosing the less bad may be Miami’s only option.

NBA makes it official, moves up free agency six hours to 6 p.m. June 30 (Eastern)

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I’d like to think this means we’ll all be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour on June 30. I also know better.

There is a frenzy of activity right as free agency opens (Tampering? There is no tampering in the NBA…), which traditionally has been as the clock turns to July 1 in New York, right at midnight. Things got so active that a lot of agents and players made sure they were in Los Angeles, even if they didn’t live there in the offseason, just so things started at the more reasonable hour of 9 p.m.

Now the NBA has made the rumors official: Free agency will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 30. Six hours earlier than before.

This was done as an agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

This is going to be a wild July with a lot of big-name free agents — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler — and maybe a third of the players in the league on the market, plus there are a lot more teams with cap space to spend this season. It’s going to be a frenzy.

Now we know what time the wild times start.

Why does Kevin Durant respond on social media? “I’m qualified to talk about basketball”

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Every NBA player gets ripped on social media, even the guys who are not on social media. Most of the time players just ignore it, the way they ignore fans yelling stuff courtside or distant family asking them for money.

Kevin Durant, however, gets into it sometimes, even with national media members (and even had a burner account). Which always becomes a thing.

Why? Why not just ignore it? From Durant himself at practice Friday, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Because I have social media,” Durant said Friday… “I mean, I’m a human being with a social media account. I could see if I ventured off into like politics, culinary arts or music and gave my input, but I’m sticking to something that I know. You know what I’m saying? This is all I know. I’m actually talking about stuff that I know. I’m qualified to talk about basketball.

“So when I respond to something, especially if it’s about me personally, of course I’m going to tell you if you wrong about it. When I’m on the training table getting treatment on my calf and I see a tweet that come by and I disagree — I don’t talk to people because I’m worried about what they say, it’s just that I’m interested. So if you talking about in-game or the NBA Finals, they’re the same to me, you know what I’m saying?”

Durant seems to have more time on hands to get into these spats while he is out injured. Which likely will last into the start of the NBA Finals.

Does this mean the Drake/Durant beef is inevitable?

LeBron likes Instagram of Kyrie Irving in Lakers jersey, Internet goes berserk

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The Lakers landing Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer might be their best realistic option. It’s far, far from a lock — the Knicks, and yes Celtics, will make their pitch, too — but reuniting the pair that won a title in Cleveland is on the Lakers’ radar. (Insert your own, “you know who should coach this team” Tyronn Lue joke here.)

Fueling the speculation, LeBron James and Irving were seen hanging out together at a club in Los Angeles recently. Then Friday, this happened: Cuffthelegend posted this on Instagram and LeBron liked it.

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I like how this feels

A post shared by Savage Season 365 (@cuffsthelegend) on

(For the record, Cuffthelegend gets some stuff right, he’s not a guy who posts stuff out of nowhere.)

Of course, NBA Twitter and the web responded to this in its usual measured, thoughtful way. Some Lakers fans think the deal is done, others mock the idea altogether.

Two thoughts on Irving and the Lakers:

• Multiple reports say Irving is open to it. Irving also has a strong relationship with Kevin Durant, and Boston still plans to trade for Anthony Davis and then try to re-sign Irving (even if Boston fans are done with Kyrie). The only person who knows which way Irving is leaning right now is Irving, and there’s a good chance he changes his mind in the next five weeks anyway.

• If the Lakers are going to land a star free agent this summer, it will be because LeBron was an active recruiter. These elite players have options, and the Laker front office is not inspiring confidence of late, it will be on LeBron to win guys over.

 

Jeremy Lin: Milwaukee security guard asked for my pass to Raptors team bus

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Jeremy Lin has discussed people not believing he plays in the NBA.

It apparently still happens.

Lin, whose Raptors are playing the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, via Bill Michaels Sports Talk Network:

After Game 2 in Milwaukee, I was trying to get to the team bus and one of the dudes in the Milwaukee arena just screams at me. He’s like, “Where do you think you’re going?!” And I’m like, “Uh, I’m trying to get to the team bus.” He’s like, “What?! Where’s your pass?” I was like, “I don’t have a pass. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a pass.”

This happens in a lot of arenas, so I just kind of go with the flow.

It’s a fine line. Lin shouldn’t be profiled as a non-athlete because he’s Asian-American. Arena staffers should keep everyone safe by stopping unauthorized people.