Pat Riley: Heat will be patient and wait for Dwyane Wade’s decision

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — When it comes to Dwyane Wade, it’s clear that the Miami Heat want him back and they’re willing to be patient while he figures out his plan.

What’s unclear is this: How much they’ll have to pay.

Heat President Pat Riley said Friday that he will have talks with managing general partner Micky Arison in the coming days about Wade’s future. Realistically, there’s only two contract options for Miami to present Wade – the $5.3 million exception, or the $2.4 million veteran minimum. The potential luxury tax implications Miami could face next year would rise in either case, and that’s what the Heat are trying to avoid.

“That’s the abyss that we all deal with in the NBA,” Riley said.

Riley said Miami has had talks with Wade and his agent Leon Rose over the summer, though no real detail about those conversations has been revealed by either side.

Wade has reportedly been offered a three-year, $25 million contract to play in China.

Wade said at the end of last season that he wasn’t certain about playing for a 16th NBA season in 2018-19, and hasn’t offered anything in the way of an update since. He has been doing on-court workouts regularly in recent weeks, including a session Thursday in Las Vegas with LeBron James, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate a decision about playing or not.

“I think it’s best that we give him some more time,” Riley said.

Wade left Miami for Chicago in 2016, spent one season with the Bulls, began last season in Cleveland and then was traded back to the Heat in February. Wade appeared in 26 regular season and playoff games with Miami after the trade, all off the bench, averaging 12.9 points.

For his career, the future Hall of Famer is averaging 22.5 points and he leads the Heat all-time lists in several statistical categories.

“I want him back as a player,” Riley said. “I want him back as a competitor. I want him back as a guy who wants to have the greatest year he ever had as a player. I read more articles about `Dwyane being done, he’s lost a step, he’s not the same player, he might not have the same motivation.’ But I still see a player who can contribute heavily if he really wants to.”

The same wait-and-see approach is being utilized with fellow Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, who also is weighing whether to return for a 16th season.

Haslem has spent his entire career in Miami, and he and Wade are the only Heat players to be part of all three of the franchise’s championship seasons.

“Both players are being respected to the utmost because of their history with us,” Riley said. “I’m sure they’re sitting down thinking about what they want to do and how it’s going to impact the rest of their lives. I do believe, and I hope, that by the middle of August that we’ll probably have a decision on both players.”

In other matters Riley covered in a teleconference with reporters:

– Riley insisted that the Heat were not widely shopping center Hassan Whiteside in trades this summer, though he said Whiteside “has a lot of work to do.” Whiteside has often expressed unhappiness with his role in Miami, and he and coach Erik Spoelstra have met this summer to try to find common ground. “Stuff happens. Things are said. Players are frustrated. … This isn’t anything new,” Riley said. Whiteside will be part of the NBA Africa Game next week in South Africa, accompanied by Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard.

– The Heat will have talks with Justise Winslow‘s representation next month about an extension. “We look as Justise as an anchor, as one of our anchor pieces,” Riley said.

– Riley said Dion Waiters (ankle surgery) is “ramping up” his rehabilitation. Waiters missed most of last season.

Watch Bam Adebayo score 38, lift Heat to win over Wizards

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MIAMI — Bam Adebayo scored a season-high 38 points and the Miami Heat beat the Washington Wizards 110-107 Friday night.

Caleb Martin added 20 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 13 points while Tyler Herro had 11 points and 10 assists for the Heat, who won their second straight at home against Washington after their 113-105 victory Wednesday.

Adebayo’s two free throws with 1:37 remaining put Miami ahead 105-104 lead then extended the advantage on a short jumper with 38 seconds left.

“It was one of those things where my teammates gave me the ball and I was taking advantage of the mismatch,” Adebayo said. “They were shots (Washington) let me have.”

Adebayo has scored in double digits in all 18 of his appearances this season. He’s had double-doubles in half of those games; Miami is 6-3 in those contests.

“He had a lot on his shoulders, really the last several games with a lot of different lineups and everything,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You need that stability from your leaders. I think at some point we’ll print up these shirts, `Mr. Reliable,’ and I’ll wear them, probably.”

Lowry also had eight assists, seven rebounds and a four-point play with 3:15 left for a 103-102 lead – the 11th of what would be 13 lead changes on the night.

And it was another close game for the Heat, who are already 4-3 in games decided by three points or less this season.

“That’s what’s happened really for, it seems like several weeks,” Spoelstra said. “It just feels like every single one of these games is going down to the last possession.”

The Wizards cut the deficit on Bradley Beal‘s dunk before Martin made two free throws with 12.5 seconds for the final margin, then hounded Beal defensively on the game’s last possession and forced the Wizards’ All-Star into a miss to end the contest.

“I take pride in trying to make stops,” Martin said. “Those are the types of situations you dream about, game on the line against a guy like Bradley Beal with the ball late shot clock. I just tried to make it as tough as possible.”

Beal and Kyle Kuzma finished with 28 points Kristaps Porzingis added 18 points for the Wizards.

“We did enough throughout the course of the game to put us in position to win,” said Beal, who returned from a one-game absence because of a quadriceps contusion. “We had several leads and ended up giving up those leads late. It was a matter of us getting stops at the defensive ends.”

Heat leading scorer Jimmy Butler (right knee soreness) missed his fifth straight game because of right knee soreness while shooters Max Strus (right shoulder impingement) and Duncan Robinson (left ankle sprain) also sat out.

The Heat rallied from a 12-point deficit late in the first quarter and cut it to 59-56 at halftime.

“Obviously, we had shots late that were makeable to keep them at bay,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.

Another Hornets injury: Hayward out indefinitely with fractured shoulder

Philadelphia 76ers v Charlotte Hornets
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The basketball gods have not been kind to the Hornets this season. LaMelo Ball missed the start of the season with a sprained ankle, got back and played just three games before re-injuring it by stepping on a fan’s foot while chasing a loose ball out of bounds. Miles Bridges will not be with the team. Cody Martin had his knee scoped and is out, and Dennis Smith Jr. is out with a sprained ankle — and that’s just the guys out right now.

Now add Gordon Hayward to the list. He is out indefinitely with a fractured shoulder. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.

Hayward has a long history of injuries and has battled shoulder issues all season. There had been hope in Charlotte that he could stay healthy long enough to contribute to some wins and build up some potential trade interest (his name came up in Russell Westbrook scenarios, for example). In the 11 games he played, he averaged 16.3 points and shot 38.1% from 3. Of course, a trade was always a longshot because Hayward is owed a fully guaranteed $31.5 million next season, no team was taking that on without sweeteners.

With him injured, a trade is out of the question (other than part of a salary dump).

Kevin Durant says ‘it’s cool to see’ LeBron break all-time scoring record

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LeBron James remains on target to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA all-time scoring record, although with the games he has missed this season the target date now looks more like late February/early March.

Kevin Durant is excited to see it, as he told Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“To be the No. 1 in anything, there’s 8 billion people in the world, we just figured that out last week, so to be the No. 1 of all time at scoring the basketball, I’m sure it’s going to be a range of emotions for him,” Durant said at Friday’s shootaround, in advance of a game against the Indiana Pacers. “But to be in an era where we see this live is pretty cool as well. You probably can’t even describe the emotions and feelings him and his family and his friends are going to go through, but it’s cool to see it up close.”

Durant is currently 18th on that all-time scoring list (having just moved past Kevin Garnett), which is impressive in its own right even if he is not going to catch LeBron. LeBron’s feat has taken all of his 20 NBA seasons, and that is what impressed the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich.

“LeBron is taking care of himself so well that he’s been able to play a bundle of games for a lot of years. And that’s what he takes,” Popovich said before his Spurs took on the Lakers. “But he gets credit for taking care of himself and being able to be out there. The way a lot of players don’t even come close to. His commitment to the game and to what he has to do, has allowed him to be in this position.”

LeBron’s quest continues to generate a lot of buzz around the league. He just hopes it’s not the lone bright highlight out of this Lakers’ season, but his team has a lot of work to climb up to the postseason out of a 5-11 start.

 

Leonard, George both out for Clippers Friday, Jokic probable for Nuggets

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When Kawhi Leonard returned and was put in the starting lineup, the Clippers said it was time to buckle down and truly start their season.

Instead, how about another round of injuries?

Paul Goerge is missing his third consecutive game with a hamstring tendon strain, while Leonard has a sprained right ankle and this is his second game out.

Adding to the troubling news for the Clippers in this game, Nikola Jokic is probable.

The Clippers won the first three games Leonard was back, and they have a ridiculous +31.7 net rating in the limited minutes that George and Leonard are on the court together. But the question heading into the season — even among those backing the Clippers to come out of the West (*raises hand*) — was whether would they stay healthy enough to live up to that potential? So far, the signs are not promising.

Yet, the Clippers are 11-8 despite the injuries and just a game back of the top-seeded Suns in a West where no team has run away with it. They are not out of it, but they must find a way to get their stars on the court together for an extended period.