Tag Archives: Dwyane Wade

Windy City Bull

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Fred Hoiberg

The transition from Tom Thibodeau to Fred Hoiberg as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls has not been a good one. In each year that Thibodeau was the head coach of the Bulls, he got them to the playoffs. But since Thibodeau was unable to get along with Bulls general manager Gar Forman, he was asked to leave in 2015. In Hoiberg’s first season with the Bulls they posted a record of 42-40 but failed to make the playoffs, and things have gotten worse during this campaign.

The Bulls won their first three games of the season, but they have struggled ever since. Chicago’s record of 31-32 has them tied with the Detroit Pistons for third place in the Central Division and seventh overall in the Eastern Conference.

When the NBA season began, the Bulls were expected to be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. However with the regular season set to finish in about a month, there is a possibility that the Bulls could be watching the playoffs from home for a second consecutive year.

Gar Forman

There was optimism last summer for the Bulls when Gorman was busy making moves. The Bulls traded longtime point guard Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks, while they also allowed center Joakim Noah to leave in free agency as he joined Rose in the Big Apple. The Bulls would also sign shooting guard Dwyane Wade who is a native of Chicago whose career has been highlighted by helping the Miami Heat win three NBA Championships. Along with Wade, point guard Rajon Rondo would join the Bulls as these two were expected team with small forward Jimmy Butler to give Chicago a solid trio.

Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler

Wade has had a solid season for the Bulls as he is averaging 18.9 points, while Butler is leading the way with 23.9 points per contest. Rondo’s reputation as being a malcontent has followed him to Chicago as he’s been benched, while also clashing with Wade. Rondo is only averaging 6.9 points and 6.5 assists after he led the NBA in assists last season with 11.7 as a member of the Sacramento Kings. And even when you take Rondo out of the equation, the Bulls have individual talent, but that alone won’t win as the issues with the team fall right into the lap of Forman who has put this team together.

In nearly two seasons with Hoiberg as the Bulls head coach, Chicago has yet to find an identity. Under Thibodeau you knew that the Bulls were going to grind out games due to their defense which was one of the best in the NBA. The Bulls were up and down last season primarily because Hoiberg attempted to open things up on offense, while concentrating less at the defensive end of the floor which has been Chicago’s bread and butter. But Hoiberg tried to do this with Thibodeau’s players and there was never any middle ground.

This season those struggles have been magnified as everyone on the Bulls appears to be playing for himself as there isn’t a concept of team basketball; especially when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter. Wade has criticized some of the younger players on the Bulls for “not wanting it enough”, while Rondo became the spokesperson for the team’s young talent as he went to social media to criticize the leadership of Wade. And although that Wade and Butler are big names, neither former Marquette Golden Eagle has provided the Bulls with the leadership that is needed. And as the Bulls are languishing through this NBA season, the term “starting over” is not that far-fetched for them as it might be time for team owner Jerry Reinsdorf to pull the switch on this team.

A house cleaning would make sense for the Bulls as the team parted with the wrong guy in Thibodeau instead of Forman. The Bulls need a new voice that will provide this team with structure and the emphasis of once again providing this organization with an identity. Hoiberg is not the man to lead the Bulls on the sideline as in spite of the fact that he played in the NBA for a decade, he can’t get his message across in the same manner that he did collegiately at Iowa State University where he was the head basketball coach for five years. Each roster spot for the Bulls needs to be evaluated; including Butler who in spite of being Chicago’s best player is not expendable.

It’s not as if we haven’t seen Reinsdorf start from scratch before as after the Bulls won the NBA Championship in 1998 for their sixth title of the decade, this team was quickly dismantled. And it was seven years before the Bulls made it back to playoffs, while they’ve never won another NBA Championship. It might appear to be insane, but the Bulls are no closer to an NBA Championship now than they were the day that Forman hired Hoiberg as the past two seasons are clear evidence that the Bulls at best are nothing more than first-round cannon fodder for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

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A Tale Of Two Legends

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This summer has seen dollars handed out at an alarming rate in the NBA. The league’s new television deal has seen role players become multi-millionaires while making some superstar players appearing to be underpaid. We’ve also seen franchise players change addresses in the hopes of winning an NBA Championship and/or more money. After 13 seasons with the Miami Heat, shooting guard Dwyane Wade left as a free agent to join the Chicago Bulls. Wade was seeking $50 million over the next two seasons from the Heat which he didn’t receive and thus he bolted to Chicago. Like Wade, Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki opted out of his contract as he was seeking a pay increase. But unlike Wade, Nowitzki and the Mavericks agreed on a new two-year deal that is worth $50 million as this all but symbolizes that he’ll retire in Dallas. And it is a tale of how two NBA franchises approached their veterans players in different fashions.

Dirk Nowitzki

Nowitzki was drafted ninth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998, and they immediately traded him to the Mavericks. But in Dallas, Nowitzki has gone on to be a rock as he is the best player in Mavericks franchise history. In 18 years with the Mavs, Nowitzki has averaged 22 points per contest while helping Dallas win their only NBA Championship in 2011 as he was named the Finals MVP. Nowitzki is the Mavericks all-time leader in nearly every statistical category, and he is closing in on becoming the first and only player in franchise history to score 30,000 career points.

Wade was the fifth overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Heat and he would make an immediate impact as he averaged 16.2 points as a rookie in helping Miami reach the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In 2006, Wade would team with center Shaquille O’Neal to help the Heat win their first NBA Championship. Wade’s Heat knocked off Nowitzki’s Mavericks, and he would be named NBA Finals MVP that June.

Dwyane Wade

Like Nowitzki, Wade is the Heat’s all-time leader in most statistical categories and he has become a cultural icon in South Florida to the point that some people refer to Dade County as “Wade County”.

In 2010, Wade took a backseat when the Heat signed small forward LeBron James and power forward Chris Bosh to make things work as he was all about winning championships. Like Bosh and James, Wade took less money in order to give the Heat cap flexibility to put a quality team around them which led to four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and a pair of championships.

But unlike Nowitzki, Wade has had trouble staying healthy throughout his NBA career as he has never made all 82 regular season starts in the league’s calendar year. This issue was front and center last summer when Wade was seeking a new long-term deal from the Heat which he was never received. Wade who was 33-years of age at the time was unable to persuade Heat president Pat Riley to give him that long-term deal and the two sides came to an agreement on a one-year deal for $20 million.

But this past NBA season it was vintage Wade as he averaged 19 points per game in leading the Heat to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However when it came time for both sides to talk turkey, Riley simply didn’t see Wade as still being a superstar caliber player which led a disgruntled Wade to taking his talents to the Windy City.

Just like Wade, Nowitzki took less money in order to make things work in Dallas which is what led to an NBA Championship in 2011. Nowitzki has continued to take contracts that were under his market value until now. And unlike Riley in Miami, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t have a problem in backing up the Brinks truck to pay the best player in his franchise’s history in order for him to remain in Dallas.

Pat Riley

This is just another example of the business of professional sports and how two franchises chose to operate differently. Riley was reluctant to pay an aging player superstar money as he felt that he was no longer worth it. But Riley called Wade’s bluff when he was unwilling to offer the shooting guard more than $40 million over the next two years. Wade didn’t get the $50 million that he was seeking from the Bulls, but he received $47 million as Chicago simply made him feel wanted as Riley has publicly expressed regret over allowing Wade to leave South Beach.

Riley was looking at the long term for the Heat, but in the short team Miami is not a better team without Wade as they will sorely miss his leadership. And Riley knew that he made a mistake as soon as Wade signed with the Bulls.

Cuban on the other hand feels that he can still win a championship with Nowitzki if the right players are put around him while also making sure that the Future Hall of Famer retires in Dallas. But it was Cuban’s commitment to Nowitzki that has shone brighter than anything else.

Like Tim Duncan who just retired after playing 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Nowitzki has never publicly criticized the Mavericks when it came to money, and you have never heard of any animosity between him and the front office in Dallas which is the exact opposite of Wade and Riley in Miami.

Mark Cuban

From Cuban’s first day as owner of the Mavericks, he has run a top-notch organization and he has treated his employees accordingly. For nearly two decades with the Heat, Riley has built the Heat into a contender, but two of the last three summers have seen him lose James and now Wade in free agency. Cuban didn’t have to weigh the pros and cons of re-signing Nowitzki as he did what was best for business, while Riley will always have to face speculation as to why he let the best player in Heat franchise history as well as on the current roster leave town scot free.

Source: Basketball-reference.com

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The National Debt, NBA Style!!!!!!!!

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NBA Players such as Mike Conley Jr. have hit the jackpot this summer, but will the teams that paid them roll snake eyes when it’s all said and done?

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At The Crossroads

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After missing the NBA Playoffs last year for just the second time since 2004, the Miami Heat rebounded this season to win the Southeast Division. The Heat would advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals where they were eliminated by the Toronto Raptors in a fierce seven-game series. But by the time that the Heat were finished off by the Raptors, they had been depleted by injuries. Heat team president Pat Riley has made it his business to keep Miami in title contention as they’ve won the NBA Championship three times since 2006. And even though that Riley has one of the best basketball minds in the business, he’ll have his hands full this summer as far as keeping the Heat as one of the top teams in the NBA.

Chris Bosh

As of right now the Heat have nearly $50 million committed to player salaries for next season, but that could be changing. Power forward Chris Bosh has missed 67 games over the last two NBA seasons due to complications from blood clots. Bosh did not appear in the playoffs for the Heat, and there is a possibility that he might be forced to retire. In the summer of 2014, Bosh re-signed with the Heat for $118 million over five years. However if Bosh does retire, nearly $24 million would come off of the books towards next year’s payroll. But what the Heat would lose from not having Bosh on their roster is his leadership on the court, and in the locker room as he was a vital member of their championship teams in 2012 and 2013.

Like Bosh, shooting guard Dwyane Wade has been a part of much of the Heat’s success recently. Wade was the fifth overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Heat and he has gone on to become the best player in franchise history. Wade has been a member of each of the Heat’s championship teams which included him being the NBA Finals MVP in 2006. Wade is the Heat’s all-time leader in points (20,221), assists (4,944), and steals (1,414). But at the age of 34, injuries have really caught up to Wade as he has never played a full season in the NBA.

Dwyane Wade

Last summer, Wade was seeking a long-term contract from the Heat which he didn’t receive as Riley wasn’t ready to commit to that on an aging player. The Heat and Wade would agree on a one-year deal for $20 million. Wade averaged 19 points per game in the regular season. But in the NBA Playoffs, Wade was showing signs of once again being “Flash” as he averaged 21.4 points per game as he attempted to will the Heat to victories which should make for a very interesting round of negotiating this summer between him and Riley.

After being a basketball nomad, center Hassan Whiteside has emerged as one of the best shot blockers and rebounders in the NBA. Whiteside was a second-round pick of the Sacramento Kings in 2010, but he spent more time in the NBA’s Development League than anything else. ┬áIn 2014, the Heat would pick Whiteside up off of the scrap heap and in 48 games with the team, he would average 11.8 points and 10 rebounds. Last summer Whiteside signed a one-year deal with the Heat for 981k and he easily outperformed that by averaging 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds while leading the NBA in blocks with 3.7 per game.

Hassan Whiteside

Whiteside has tremendous athleticism, but there have been maturity issues for him which has seen him draw the ire of Riley, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, and veteran players such as Bosh. Whiteside did suffer a knee injury in the playoffs against the Raptors which could give the Heat leverage in their contract negotiations with the 26-year old this summer.

As of right now the biggest impact players that the Heat can count on for next season are point guard Goran Dragic and small forward Justise Winslow. The Heat acquired Dragic from the Phoenix Suns during the 2014-2015 NBA season, but he hasn’t had the kind of impact that the Heat were hoping for as he wasn’t the focal point of the offense with Wade and Bosh on the roster. However that could potentially change next season. Last summer, the Heat used the 10th overall pick of the NBA Draft on Winslow. Winslow appeared in 78 games during the regular season for the Heat, but he only made 8 starts. As a rookie, Winslow averaged 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds as a role player, but you can see the potential there for him to develop a more important role on both offense and defense for Miami.

The Heat should be active players in free agency this summer, and with Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in July, you can expect Miami to put on the full-court press as far as attempting to persuade him to come to South Beach. However it will be more difficult as I don’t see Durant leaving the Thunder with their deep run into the playoffs that currently has them three victories away from their second trip to the NBA Finals with him on the roster.

Pat Riley

Riley knows a thing or two about building a contender as he has only been a part of four losing seasons either as a head ocach of team executive. Riley got creative in putting Bosh, Wade, and LeBron James together in the summer of 2010, and there’s no telling what he has up his sleeve this summer for the Heat. But one thing for sure is that Riley will find a way to put a quality roster together.

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A Harsh Reality For Wade

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https://cdn.evbuc.com/eventlogos/98052713/dwyanewade201290todsgt.jpgThe Miami Heat have been in business since 1988 as an NBA franchise and the case can be made that shooting guard Dwyane Wade is the most important player in franchise history. The Heat drafted Wade with the fifth overall pick of the NBA Draft and the rest has been history. Wade helped the Heat win their first NBA Championship in 2006 as he introduced the world to “Flash”. Wade was named the NBA Finals MVP as he averaged 34.7 points per game in the series win over the Dallas Mavericks. In the summer of 2010, the Heat signed small forward LeBron James and power forward Chris Bosh to join Wade in Miami and form their version of “The Big Three”. And in the process, Wade took a backseat to James as the trio led Miami to the NBA Championship in 2012 and 2013. But when James left the Heat last summer to re-join the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade once again became more of a focal point of the offense in Miami this season. Wade averaged 21.5 points per game this season, but at the age of 33, the explosion that was once there in his body isn’t there in the same capacity which has left him and the Heat at an impasse.

Last summer, James, Bosh, and Wade opted out of their respective seven-year contracts that were signed with the Heat in 2010. And when James left Miami, it forced Heat president Pat Riley to scramble as he re-signed Bosh to a five-year, $118 million contract. Wade also re-signed with the Heat, but only for a two-year deal that was worth $31.1 million. Wade’s contract also included a player option of $16.1 for next season. The NBA has a new television deal coming down the pike and because of that, the league’s salary cap is expected to skyrocket soon. Wade like many other stars is seeking more money. But it won’t be as easy for Wade to attain what he is seeking.

In 2010, Wade, Bosh, and James each agreed to take less money in order to win titles and that philosophy was indeed successful. But now that is simply a thing of the past.

Wade is the Heat’s all-time leader in most major statistical categories. But Wade will be 34-years old this January and he has to be realistic about his current worth as a basketball player.

The Heat are reportedly offering Wade less than $10 million per season as Riley has his sights set on putting together another mega-team in Miami. Riley also knows that Wade is not the player that he once was. Wade has never appeared in all 82 regular season games as a professional and he hasn’t played in at least 70 regular season games for the Heat since the 2010-2011 NBA season.

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Pat Riley

We live in a time where players want to be compensated for past accolades, but in the end the NBA is simply a business and thus players tend to get compensated for what they can potentially do as opposed to what they did. The extension that was given to Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant two years ago was the prime example of this. Two years ago, the Lakers signed Bryant to a two-year extension worth $48.5 million. The last two seasons have only seen Bryant appear in 41 games as the Lakers are paying him $24 million a season to be a spectator. Bryant is a five-time NBA Champion and one of the best players to ever lace them up, but at the time of his extension, he was 34-years old and injuries have caught up to him.

Make no mistake about it that Wade is Mr. Miami, but Riley and the Heat are not going to allow themselves to be handcuffed to one player regardless of what he has previously done; especially if he can no longer do it at the same level. If Wade decides to hit the open market as a free agent, he more than likely will not get the money that he seeks either as most executives around the NBA will look at him in the same fashion as Riley currently is. And if Wade ends up getting the huge payday that he is seeking, it more than likely won’t come from a team that will be competing for the NBA Title. Wade’s feelings might be hurt, but like most professional athletes he must realize that when his playing career is over, the arena or stadium that he played at will still be there and eventually he will be replaced on the playing field. It isn’t harsh, but it is realistic. What Wade gave up in salary in the past got him two more NBA Championships so it appears that previously taking less money was worth it.

Wade might not see it today, but the Heat will take care of him. When Wade decides to call it a career, his jersey number will be retired by the Heat. The Heat will also more than likely compensate him handsomely for making public appearances as he is an icon in South Florida. But at the present he is no longer the explosive player that he was a few years ago and it is something that he must realize.

Source: Basketball-reference.com

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The Race For Eighth In The East

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It’s the best of the worst who are trying to sneak into the NBA Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

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The Heat Are Going Through The Motions

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We all knew that things would be drastically different for the Miami Heat this season. After four seasons with the Heat, small forward LeBron James decided to return to playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The departure of James forced Heat president Pat Riley into scramble mode as far as fielding a team this season and more importantly a team that could compete in the Eastern Conference. Without James, the Heat still have power forward Chris Bosh and shooting guard Dwyane Wade who were key members of Miami’s NBA Championships teams in 2012 and 2013. But the injury bug has pulled up a beach chair Miami which has led to inconsistency on the basketball court.

At 20-26, the Heat are on pace for their first losing campaign since the 2007-2008 NBA season. Thoughts of a fifth straight Southeast Division Title have all but evaporated for the Heat as they are in third place and 18.5 games behind the division leading Atlanta Hawks. On the bright side for the Heat, they still call the Eastern Conference home and in spite of their sub-.500 record they are still in possession of the seventh seed for the NBA Playoffs.

Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade

After winning their first three games of the season, the Heat have not won more than two consecutive games since. Wade is leading the team in scoring at 21.4 per game, but he has missed 10 games as a result of injuries and a strained hamstring is going to force him to miss some more time. Bosh is right behind Wade in scoring at 21.3 per game while also averaging 7.5 rebounds and he has missed eight games due to a calf injury. As Wade and Bosh have gutted it out, the supporting cast has changed around them.

Pat Riley

Last summer Riley signed power forward Josh McRoberts to a four-year, $23 million deal. McRoberts was coming off of his best statistical season in the NBA as he averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds last season with the Charlotte Bobcats. McRoberts was not brought to the Heat to be the next Karl Malone, but he was expected to provide size for Miami on the interior. Last month McRoberts suffered a torn meniscus which ended his season. The Heat are also without reserve power forward Chris “Birdman” Anderson who is day-to-day with with injuries to his elbow and back. These injuries may not seem that significant, but unlike the past four years they are stinging a little bit more.

The past few years saw all of the Heat’s deficiencies masked by the superb talent of James as he was a triple-double waiting to happen. This season the Heat are last in the NBA in rebounding and 27th in assists. The Heat have lost 15 games this season by double figures and they have not been as strong in the fourth quarter as that was the time in which James took over in years past. But Riley appears to be a man that is simply biding his time as far as once again bringing a dominant basketball team to Miami.

After next season the Heat only have $31.85 million committed to salaries for the 2016-2017 NBA season which could lead Riley to becoming very creative over the next two summers. This summer’s NBA free agent market will be headlined by Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Portland Trailblazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol while the summer of 2016 will see teams drooling for the services of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant. If Jordan or Gasol would be too expensive for Riley, I could see him turning his attention to the likes of New Orleans Hornets center Omer Asik or Blazers center Robin Lopez. Asik and Lopez won’t command as much salary as Gasol or Jordan, but Lopez is a tremendous energy player while Asik has asserted himself into one of the top rebounders in the NBA over the past few seasons. For his NBA career Gasol has averaged 14 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and he could be another low-post presence for the Heat. And I highly doubt that Riley would go after Aldridge simply because he and Bosh are basically the same player.

But I believe that Riley will put the full-court press in the attempt to sign Durant. For his eight-year NBA career, Durant has averaged 27.3 points per game and he would fill some of the void for the Heat that they have since James left as he is one of purest scorers in the NBA. Bosh would be 32-years of age in 2016 while Wade is already beginning to slow down and he would be 35-years old at the time.

The Heat are down right now, but they are far from out because of the craftiness of Riley. As a head coach, Riley won five NBA Championship with the Heat and Los Angeles Lakers while getting the New York Knicks within a whisker of the title in 1994. Through wheeling a dealing on the trade market, Riley turned the Heat into title contenders when he took over in 1995 and he brokered the deal in 2010 to get James to come to South Beach. And in spite of the fact that James left the Heat last summer, it is tough for NBA superstars to say no to Riley and South Beach. Just like Riley positioned himself in 2010 to turn the Heat into a title contender, he can and will do it again. Right now for the Heat and their fans, it is just a matter of keeping the ship afloat.

Source: Basketball-reference.com

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