NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Heat’s Bosh, Chalmers reflect on playing alongside LeBron — The Miami Heat are in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, preparing for their preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow. That will mark the first time the Heat will face their since-departed (to Cleveland) superstar, LeBron James. Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving is expected to miss the game with an ankle injury and in the lead-up to the game, Heat point guard Mario Chalmers and power forward Chris Bosh have piped up about what it was like playing with James. Chalmers had some cautionary words for Irving, writes Chris Hayes of The Plain-Dealer, and Bosh had similar ones for Cleveland’s power forward, Kevin Love, writes Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report.
Cavaliers forward LeBron James was hard on Chalmers in their four years together in Miami. As the floor general, Chalmers made his share of boneheaded blunders and James, being the perfectionist that he is, would repetitively scold Chalmers publicly during games.
Sometimes Chalmers would argue back, trying to make his point. However, you’re not winning that battle against the best player in the world. It wasn’t aimed at being malicious. He just wanted Chalmers to succeed at his job.
James was hard on his former point guard because he’s a point guard at heart and understands how the position should be played.
Nevertheless, Chalmers seems relieved that it’s now Kyrie Irving‘s problem.
“LeBron is a dominant player so if he feels like something is not going his way, he’s going to say something about it,” Chalmers told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “For Kyrie, he’s going to have to adjust to that and LeBron is going to have to adjust to Kyrie. It’s going to be a different factor for Kyrie.”
Chalmers refused to elaborate on what it was like when a furious James was approaching and you knew he wasn’t coming to give a hug.
“Man, that process is over and done with it,” Chalmers said. “It’s a fresh start, fresh team, new year.”
He then took it a step further and claimed to have amnesia.
“I don’t even remember, bro,” he said. “Last year is in the past. This is a new year. New me. I’m not thinking about it.”
Specifically, is it more difficult to go from a first option to a second or third choice—as Love must do now—or from a second or third option to a first?
On these topics, Bosh was uniquely qualified to answer, having gone from first option in Toronto to third choice for four years in Miami to, now, first option in Miami.
“Yeah, it’s a lot more difficult taking a step back, because you’re used to doing something a certain way and getting looks a certain way,” Bosh told Bleacher Report recently. “And then it’s like, well, no, for the benefit of the team, you have to get it here.
“So even if you do like the left block, the volume of the left block is going to be different. Now you have to make those moves count. So with me, it was like a chess game. I’m doing this move and thinking about the next move and trying to stay five moves ahead. You’re not getting it as much. If you got one or two a game, it’s a lot different.”
You don’t get your pick of the buffet.
“Exactly,” Bosh said. “You just get your entree and that’s it. It’s like, wait a minute, I need my appetizer and my dessert and my drink, what are you doing? And my bread basket. What is going on? I’m hungry! It’s a lot different. But if you can get through it, good things can happen. But it never gets easy. Even up until my last year of doing it, it never gets easier.”
Love, at age 25, averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds his final season in Minnesota. Bosh, at age 25, averaged 24.0 points and 10.8 his final season in Toronto. His averages declined in the four years since, as he reached greater heights (four NBA Finals, two championships) playing with James.
“It’s going to be very difficult for him,” Bosh said of Love’s new task. “Even if I was in his corner and I was able to tell him what to expect and what to do, it still doesn’t make any difference. You still have to go through things, you still have to figure out things on your own. It’s extremely difficult and extremely frustrating. He’s going to have to deal with that.”
And, lastly, Bosh told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that he has ‘no hard feelings’ about James’ departure:
Bosh surprised some when he said he hadn’t spoken with James since he left to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers in July. But he doesn’t understand the surprise.
“There’s no hard feelings or anything,” Bosh said after the Miami Heat practiced Thursday in advance of their preseason game against the Cavs on Saturday. “If we’re both trying to win, he’s against us, and that’s a matter of fact.”
This isn’t personal, Bosh said, and he reinforced it by recalling a gift he and his wife, Adrienne, recently sent James.
“He had a baby shower, and we sent him a gift for his daughter,” Bosh said. “Then training camp started, and that was about it.”
Clarifying comments he made Tuesday, Bosh said he did speak with James briefly at Dwyane Wade‘s wedding Aug. 30.
“My time is backwards and everything, but we talked,” Bosh said. “I want people to understand I’m a competitor, and he’s on the other team. I think he’d understand that, and I understand that, and that’s how it is now.”