Dwyane Wade out against Celtics


BOSTON – Dwyane Wade is out against the Celtics tonight after falling on his knee on his knee in the Heat’s loss to the Bucks yesterday.

Wade didn’t say how much time he expected to miss, but he indicated he wouldn’t be out long when asked whether this is another chapter in his season.

“Not a chapter,” Wade said. “One page in the book.”

Wade has carried the Heat since Chris Bosh’s season-ending blood clots, so this will require a major adjustment for Miami.

Going big isn’t a viable option. The Heat will also be without Hassan Whiteside (hand) and Chris Andersen (calf).

Expect Goran Dragic to carry a major load.

On the flip side, Isaiah Thomas returns after a eight-game absence. He has emerged as a strong Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and he provides a major spark off the bench.

Boston and Miami are in a tight battle for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The current standings:

7. Heat (32-38)

8. Celtics (31-39)

9. Hornets (30-39)

10. Pacers (30-40)

11. Nets (29-40)

So, this game is obviously pivotal. Before it even begins, the odds have turned significantly in Boston’s favor.

Kevin Love says he, LeBron James are not best friends. So what?


The other day LeBron James posted a pic on Instagram with the quote “Clique Up!!” It featured LeBron, Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Kendrick Perkins, Timofey Mozgov and others.

Not Kevin Love.

And that added fuel to the “Love is going to bolt Cleveland” rumor firestorm, even though Love has denied that every step of the way. Monday on the Dan Patrick Show (broadcast on NBC Sports Network) Love said, “I plan on being a Cavalier either way.” Meaning he’s coming back next season whether or not the Cavs win the title.

Love was also on ESPN’s Mike and Mike radio show and said this about LeBron (via the Cleveland Plain Dealer):

“You know, we’re not best friends, we’re not hanging out every day, but we see each other every day, whether we’re at the practice facility, whether we’re on the road or going to a game,” Love said. “I think our relationship is also evolving. I could say the same with each and every coach, coach Blatt, and each and every player on the team. But, that’s part of the NBA.”

LeBron and Love are not taking selfies together? So what? (Actually, they were next to each other in another LeBron Instagram of a few weeks back. So does that mean all is right with the world?)

If they are professional, the rest doesn’t matter. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal won three titles together, and it took all of Phil Jackson’s Zen ways to keep them from strangling each other. They didn’t hit the clubs together. They still won.

Some guys need to feel loved and reassured to focus and play their best (think Dwight Howard). But sports has a long history of teams that won despite everyone not getting along in the locker room. Going all the way back to Ty Cobb at least.

Expect Kevin Love to stick with the Cavaliers this summer, for a couple reasons. One, he doesn’t want to be seen as a quitter who bolts a winning team. Second, he wants to be a free agent in 2016 when the cap goes up anyway. If he wants to leave, that’s the time to do it because teams will have the room for him and another max player, and he can team up.

Love is going through what Chris Bosh went through. He found his space in the offense and he found peace with it. We’ll see if Love gets to that same place with LeBron, but it’s going to play out over another season at the very least. Likely more.

Pat Riley says multi-year tanking would put him ‘in an insane asylum’


The 76ers are willing to endure (at least) two awful seasons to gain high draft picks. Sam Hinkie is trading (almost) everyone not bolted down for even more picks.

The Heat, on the other hand, just traded two first rounders for the right to pay Goran Dragic nearly $25 million at age 33.

Which strategy is right?

Heat president Pat Riley, via Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

“For me, it’s not through the draft, because lottery picks are living a life of misery. That season is miserable. And if you do three or four years in a row to get lottery picks, then I’m in an insane asylum. And the fans will be, too. So who wants to do that?”

This has obviously worked well for Riley.

Miami bottomed out at 15-67 in 2007-08. But rather than remain in the basement long enough to accumulate young talent, Riley pushed the Heat toward a couple years of mediocrity. Then, he used those playoff berths to sell LeBron James and Chris Bosh on joining Dwyane Wade.

Of course, every market is different. It’s much easier to neglect the draft when you can also pitch warm weather and a lack of state income tax to free agents.

It’s also risky to operate this way. Just look at the Knicks and Lakers, who’ve bottomed out and haven’t had the picks to turn around.

Hassan Whiteside gives the Heat a little leeway, but they’re still an aging team. In addition to the two first rounders they owe Phoenix, the Heat also owe the 76ers a first rounder originally sent to Cleveland in a sign-and-trade for LeBron. If this roster goes south, reinforcements won’t come easily.

Alonzo Mourning on Kevin Love in Cleveland: “He’s outta there”


Chris Bosh warned everyone before the season and some fans — particularly some in Cleveland — scoffed at the notion: It was going to be hard for Kevin Love to adjust to playing with LeBron James.

Here we are with a month to go in the NBA season, and Love remains the uncomfortable fit in Cleveland’s big three. Love is averaging 16.8 points a game (down 10 from last season) on just 43 percent shooting, he’s not getting the ball where he is comfortable, and he’s been sat in the fourth quarters of recent games in favor or Tristan Thompson.

Of course, this has led to a ton of speculation that Love — who can be a free agent this summer with a player option — is going to bolt Cleveland for a team more focused around him. Love has denied this, but the NBA rumor mill will not stop churning on the topic.

Add Heat executive Alonzo Mourning to the mix. He said this in a Q&A with SLAM Magazine.

AM: Then you’ve got Kevin Love, who’s not happy at all. He’s outta there.

SLAM: Where do you think Kevin Love is going to go? LA?

AM: I think he’s probably going to go to LA. I could see that.

The Lakers, who have the money for a max salary, will certainly be making the call to Love’s agent. He’s the level of star Kobe Bryant could hand the franchise over to.

I’d be surprised if that happens this summer, however.

For two reasons. One is simply money — Love wants to be a free agent in 2016 when the salary cap will spike to around $90 million and a max contract will go up in value by a third or more as well (max salaries are a percentage of the cap space available). Love will either opt in with Cleveland or sign a deal with them allowing an opt-out in 2016 so he can cash in.

The second reason? He doesn’t want to be seen as a quitter. Fair or not. He had to have seen the backlash from some quarters (read: Lakers fans) for Dwight Howard choosing Houston, and Love knows if he leaves the Cavs LeBron’s fans will be equally passionate and vocal. The “he wasn’t tough/good enough to play with LeBron” line will be used plenty. Fair or not. So Love will give it another season at least to see if things can be worked out on the court.

Now the summer of 2016 — when Love not only can leave but numerous teams will have a sudden surge of cap space allowing them bring in a couple max guys and put players around them — that could be a different story.

Or, maybe Love is so miserable now he just wants out, like Mourning said.


Report: Heat to sign Michael Beasley for remainder of season


Michael Beasley has been a mixed bag for Miami the last 10 games. What else did you expect from the former No. 2 pick?

He’s played good defense — surprisingly — and been able to score pretty efficiently when he gets around the rim. However, his shot selection remains dubious. At best. He’s averaged 9.5 points a game but needed 9.9 shots a game to get there.

He’s gone through two 10-day contracts in Miami, and they are going to keep him, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

Beal has been averaging 22 minutes a game since joining the team, which speaks to Miami’s need for depth (especially with Chris Bosh out.

But this shot chart shows a guy the Heat may not want to lean heavily on in the postseason.