Posts Tagged ‘Mike Wallace’

How Long Does The Heat Big 3 Last?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – They haven’t even had the parade yet and all anybody wants to know is if the Miami Heat’s Big 3 is ready for an encore or the end of a fruitful three-year run together?

LeBron James isn’t going anywhere, Heat boss Pat Riley cannot let that happen. And Dwyane Wade is already the most decorated and beloved player in franchise history. He should be and probably will be allowed to leave on his own terms, whenever he gets to that point in his career.

That leaves Chris Bosh, the oft-maligned third member of the crew, the one who went scoreless in that deciding Game 7 of The Finals, the one who always seems to be at the center of trade rumors when the topic of what the next act is for this Heat outfit. If Bosh is the one member of the group that is expendable, the time to strike and make a move could be upon us this summer.

Free agency is around the corner, July 1, and if the ongoing escapades between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics have shown us anything, it’s that there are teams out there ready to risk franchise and limb to either remain or make themselves relevant in the championship picture.

Only Riley knows how long the Heat’s Big 3 lasts. It’s going to be his call, no matter what anyone else says about it. And in the immediate aftermath of the Heat clinching their second straight title, he didn’t seem inclined to touch a hair on the head of his masterpiece:

“I just want this thing to keep going,” the 68-year-old Riley told ESPN.com after the Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of an epic Finals. “I’m at an age now where I’m ready to just fly off somewhere. But I’m not going to because the Good Lord has blessed me with a team that’s allowed me to grab onto its coattails for as long as they want to be together.”

But it’s obvious that the gap between the Heat and the rest of the pack is closing. We saw that in the playoffs, when Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert and then Tim Duncan took turns exposing the Heat’s tender underbelly inside.

A “stretch 4 or 5″ like Bosh is a luxury for a team that is head and shoulders above the competition, a team with a healthy James and Wade to lean on night after night. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has often referred to Bosh as his team’s most important player, though I’m still not sure how much of that is honesty and how much of it is posturing to keep Bosh’s fragile confidence intact. But this three-year grind the Heat have been on has taken its toll on Wade (knees), and even LeBron looked mortal dealing with the likes of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in the Eastern Conference finals and The Finals, respectively.

There’s a reason Bosh, an eight-time All-Star and self-professed future Hall of Famer, was reduced to pedestrian numbers this postseason. As the quality of the competition increased, Bosh’s performances didn’t increase along with it. Sure, he mustered a couple inspiring performances along the way and played a huge role at the end of the Heat’s pivotal Game 6 overtime comeback win.

But Bosh’s critics, and there are plenty of them, would point to the fact that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had Duncan on the bench when Bosh grabbed that critical offensive rebound and found Ray Allen for the game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation.

In theory, that is work that a younger and perhaps much cheaper big man (names like DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love have been floated for months now) can do.

The company line, however, tends to favor at least one more year of this holy hoops trinity. James, Wade and Bosh all have opt-outs in their contracts that come up after the 2013-14 season, giving any one of the three the option of bolting from this championship experiment for the fruits of free agency. And James and Bosh are young enough and healthy enough to command the full max-salary available from any team capable of paying that price.

Wade, who has spent his entire career with the Heat, believes in the future of the Big 3, as my main man Mike Wallace of ESPN.com explains:

“Our first year together, we tried to make it work,” Wade said. “But we weren’t the team that we needed to be to gut out a Game 6, to win a game like that. Everybody can’t get to the Finals and win six [championships] in a row — and not lose one like Michael Jordan. But we are excited about the future of this organization. We are still a good team, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we stay competitive.”

But in some ways, they remain a work in progress. While Riley said before the playoffs that he envisioned the Heat being like the Spurs, who kept Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili together for a decade, Wade said he, Bosh, and James haven’t spoken as a group yet about how they’ll approach their contract options after next season.

“This organization doesn’t rest on trying to make sure we can put ourselves in a position to have a trophy like this,” Wade said as he sat next to the Larry O’Brien Trophy. “So we’ll be back next year again, looking to do it again. We’re living in this moment right here, and it’s a sweet moment. It’ll be sweet to be able to have a long run like the Spurs, but we’ll get to that when we get to that.”

Three years, three straight trips to The Finals and two straight titles … is it just the beginning or is this the beginning of the end?


Hang Time Podcast (Episode 75) With Michael Wallace And Jimmy Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you’ve spent any time in the past two seasons contemplating the working dynamic between Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, you’re like the rest of us. You have your own theory about how two superstar teammates might co-exist, but you’re not certain exactly how that dynamic breaks down from the inside.

Well, we’re going to get as close to the middle as we can on Episode 75 of the Hang Time Podcast, breaking down all things Heat and the yin and yang relationship between the team’s two biggest stars with Michael Wallace of ESPN.com and the Heat Index, who has as good a handle on that delicate relationship as anyone in the business.

We also check on the status of the New Orleans Hornets and their new owner, Saints owner Tom Benson, with longtime New Orleans Times-Picayune sportswriter Jimmy Smith (a cousin on the Cajun side of the family). Benson promises a championship contender in both the NBA and NFL for fans in the Crescent City. He also mentioned something about a name change from the Hornets to …

Check out all of that and more on Episode 75 of the Hang Time Podcast with Michael Wallace of ESPN.com and Jimmy Smith of the Time-Picayune.

LISTEN HERE:


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog and the best engineer in the business, Jarrell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Pay For Play On The Olympic Team?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Playing for the Heat, Thunder, Celtics, Lakers or any other franchise has always been a pay-for-play proposition for NBA players.

But what about when the USA is splashed across your chest?

Heat star Dwyane Wade piggybacked on comments made a day earlier by Celtics veteran swingman Ray Allen in stating that he believes the players on the Olympic team deserve some sort of compensation outside of medals won and the appreciation of millions for their service the country.

(That $25,000 handed out for gold medals is gas money for the NBA stars that populate the team.)

It’s a bold statement for one of the league’s biggest and highest paid stars to make, especially when you consider the economic times we are in as a country, one that he backed off of this morning — telling ESPN.com that “he does not want to be paid to play in London this summer.”

But in his initial statement, Wade presented quite a compelling case to Mike Wallace of ESPN.com:

“It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics — a lot of jerseys you sell,” Wade said after the Heat’s practice on Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s game against Chicago. “We play the whole summer. I do think guys should be compensated. Just like I think college players should be compensated as well. Unfortunately, it’s not there. But I think it should be something, you know, there for it.”

(more…)

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 60)

MIAMI – Wait, it’s not over yet.

Before the champagne in Mark Cuban‘s hair dries and the victory parade through downtown Dallas kicks off, we wanted to share our final observations from the thrilling, roller coaster ride that was The Finals.

It’s not easy trying to capture two months of riveting drama, on and off the court, in the limited amount of time we have — kudos to the 2010-11 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, by the way.

That’s why we forced a couple of old friends of the program to join us on Episode 60 of The Hang Time Podcast to see if they could help us figure it all out.

Michael Wallace of ESPN.com’s Heat Index and Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com weighed in with their takes on Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Jason Terry, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and all things Finals.

LISTEN HERE:


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our super producer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

LeBron Says Rose Leads For MVP

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Who better to weigh in on the MVP debate than the two men mentioned most often as the frontrunners?

Heat star and two-time MVP LeBron James was asked his opinion about Derrick Rose and indicated to ESPN.com’s Mike Wallace that the MVP hype for the Bulls’ point guard is justified:

“I think [it's] Derrick Rose,” James said before the Heat’s game Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. “What he’s done for that team, with all the injuries they have and them being first in the Eastern Conference — they’re playing some really good basketball.”

Rose said he was surprised to get LeBron’s vote.

“Yeah … I’m speechless right now to tell you the truth,” Rose said.

Interesting.

What if the MVP voting was done by the players instead of the media?