Hey Pat You’re Going ’bout Things The Wrong Way ……… Dwyane Ain’t Comin’ Back If The Heat Are This Bad !
If you thought that billionaire cruise line operator and NBA sport’s franchise owner , Micky Arison had problems, then you’d be absolutely right. The economic downturn being what it is, Arison and his company, Carnival Cruise Lines , has seen something of a drop-off in not only revenues but also in terms of passengers being able to afford cruises aboard his luxury vessels and cruise liners. A marketing push has been started by the company to lure passengers back to the fine art of cruising , traveling the seas and enjoying one’s self amongst the camaraderie on-board a cruise ship .
Arison for all of his brilliance as a businessman has seen limited success with his sport’s endeavors , with regard to his ownership of the Miami Heat. Granted, the franchise has to its name , its lone NBA title won (2006) under the tutelage of NBA coaching great, Pat Riley. But since that win , with both Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal< at the helm to lead the charge to NBA championship glory. Things for the franchise have literally cooled off. Were it to get any colder , then the streets of Miami and South Beach would be littered with ice , several inches of snow , sledges, Eskimos and Alaskan huskies. That’s how bad things have now gotten for the team and their young head coach, Erik Spoelstra. The coach was Riley’s hand picked successor, having succeeded the NBA legend , after his return to the Heat’s front office as President of Basketball Operations and the team’s de-facto General Manager. Power they say ‘corrupts’ but for Pat Riley , it seems to be an elixir that even he simply can’t ever seem to get enough of . It was the same way when he was the head coach of the New York Knicks and it may well have been the thing that led to his abrupt departure from the franchise , after his contentious relationship with team owner, James Dolan.
The relationship between Riley , Arison and Spoelstra, on the face of it seems to be a pleasant one. With each individual doing what’s needed to make the organization productive and a well ran business concept and entity. However, on the field of play the Heat are having their problems and by all accounts underachieving. The standings being what they are at present continues to bear this out. Within the Eastern Conference the team has posted a 23-22 mark that puts it two games over .500. A challenge at best for a team that was expected to be amongst the elite within the conference this season. But we are talking about the Eastern Conference where a .500 record can garner you a playoff berth at the end of the regular season. And I’m to believe that’s meant to be competitive ?
Based on that record the Heat as a team would garner the sixth seed in the conference , were the playoffs to start today. And within the Southeast Dvision the Heat now lies in third place behind the surprise division leading, Atlanta Hawks (29-14) , with in second place, last season’s Eastern Conference representatives in the NBA Finals, the Orlando Magic (29-16). And beneath the Miami Heat within the division are the Charlotte Hornets (22-22) followed by the last plaaced and woefully inept Washington Wizards(14-30). The standout teams within the division this season are Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic. And it would appear that both will be contesting the divisional honors based on their present form. The same cannot be said of the Heat , as they have lacked consistency and Dywane Wade has been lacking in support from his teammates. And one well understand the frustrations behind the player and his lack to make a full commitment to the team, as it concerns his immediate future. At the end of the season Wade become an unrestricted free agent. And he, alongside LeBron James are thought to be the most prized assets of what likely will be ‘a blockbuster crop of talent laden stars’ on the open market.
Courtesy of Miami Herald
By M Wallace , Miami Herald
Toronto — The last time center Jermaine O’Neal was traded, he was involved in just about every step of the negotiation process in his move last February from the Raptors to the Miami Heat.
If the Heat has any plans to move O’Neal and his $23 million expiring contract before next month’s trade deadline, the 14-year veteran apparently is not aware of them.
O’Neal could be a major cog involved in a potential deal if the Heat is serious about acquiring Amare Stoudemire from Phoenix.
The Heat has been mentioned among a half-dozen teams that might pursue a trade for Stoudemire if the Suns make him available. Stoudemire has a $17 million contract option for the 2010-11 season, but could opt out after this season to join free-agent class highlighted by Cleveland’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
League and team sources confirmed Wednesday the Heat is in its “due diligence” process, something team president Pat Riley does when a big-name player surfaces who could help Miami.
Despite concerns at times over his role, O’Neal is not believed to have publicly or privately asked to be traded, and would like to make it work in Miami. The Heat seemed committed to O’Neal for the season and had not ruled out trying to resign him.
Riley’s plan has been to maintain enough salary-cap space this summer to re-sign Wade, add another maximum-level player and also convince a third star free agent to take less money on what would be a title contender.
If Miami is reluctant to package second-year forward Michael Beasley in a potential offer for Stoudemire, then O’Neal and a first-round pick might entice Phoenix.
Such a package could be constructed under salary-matching guidelines that would allow the Heat to swap O’Neal for Stoudemire and still get beneath the league’s $71.2 million luxury-tax threshold.
Riley has said Miami is about $2.5 million over the tax and is intent on getting under it.
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Fearful of the fact that he could lose the player to free agency , Pat Riley has sought to do almost everything within his power to try and persuade the player to stay. Wade for his part, has said all of the right things but at the same time he’s been critical of the organization and none committal as to his immediate plans for the future and whether not the Miami Heat are part of those plans. Which leaves the Heat fans thinking that they could be once again facing those dark days wherein the team was merely used as a stop off point for South Beach by an opponent and at the same time as ‘cannon fodder’ in an NBA contest. Well that would appear to be the scenario were Dywane Wade not a part of this team in the future. And the Heat certainly hasn’t helped its cause with the understated play of Michael Beasley . Nor has it helped that aged veteran, Jermaine O’Neal appears to be at least five steps too slow from his prominent days where he was considered to be a top ten performer in the league. Such has been the falloff in his play that one wonders why he’s still on the Heat’s roster ? Beasley for his part, has had his moments but they’ve also been overshadowed by his private off the field issues.
One can surmise that until Beasley’s mindset is completely on basketball , then he’ll continue to disappoint not only the Miami Heat fans but also those of Kansas State (Wildcats), where Beasley attended college. It’s too early yet to conclude that Beasley has been ‘a complete bust’ in the NBA. But given the fact that a player of the caliber of Kevin Durant is lighting up the NBA with his enormous presence and phenomenal play. Albeit, that he preceded Beasley by a year in the NBA Draft. Whilst Durant’s game has steadily progressed with each year ,for Beasley it has been just moments of rare glimpses of brilliance and little much else. So much so, that is was widely believed around the league that Riley might pursue a trade of the young player, feeling that a change of environment might to be better Beasley altogether. However, there ‘were no takers’ for the number 2 overall pick from the 2008 NBA Draft , where the overall pick was the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose. Far be it for me to suggest that in making the pick, Riley erred on the side of caution. But given the facts and the play of Rose during the NCAA tournament of that year. It would’ve proven to be fortuitous had he chosen Rose over Beasley by having initiated a change of picks with the Bulls on draft day. But as they say ‘……hindsight sight is 50/50’ ? For Pat Riley this wasn’t necessarily about hindsight but poor judgment by him and the entire Heat coaching staff on the day.
There’s no bone of contention however, that for the Miami Heat to retain Dywane Wade , then the play of note Beasley will have to improve but so too will the play of Jermaine Neal and the entire Heat roster for that matter ! They face enough of an uphill task as it is trying to hold unto the sixth seed within the Eastern Conference. The struggles of this Miami Heat team paints an ominous picture were they to miss the playoffs entirely. So acute now is their situation that Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra , has to be looking over his shoulders to see if Riley will step down from his palatial executive suite in the front office of the organization to return to coaching, relegating his young protoge’ back to the assistants’ bench. After-all he’d done it once before with Spoelstra’s predecessor, Stan Van Gundy, on his way to coaching the team to his fifth NBA titleas a coach and the team’s first and only championship in their entire existence. The latter scenario may not happen but given the present situation , anything is possible at this juncture.
For the Miami Heat fans this may not be something that they can envisage or stomach. And that’s a team without the best player in team history no longer being part of the organization or even the fabric of the local community. Dwyane Wade’s appearances and his philanthropic efforts in the community and beyond have been well documented. And Wade’s recent efforts in not only raising awareness of the Haitian crisis within the community but also putting on a fundraiser amongst fans and members of the team , speaks well as to how much as to how beloved he is within the community but also in the City of Miami. He has in effect become their ‘favorite son’ .
If the Heat are to fare well throughout the remainder of the season , then it will have to be through a collective effort by the team as well as the entire coaching staff. And with trade deadline just around the corner it will be very interesting to see whether or not Riley will be a player in the market , either by trading a player or acquiring one that’ll be of benefit to the team. But it has become very clear to see that the initial gamble made by Riley in the draft hasn’t paid off at all . But where success is now judged by the immediacy of the here and now and what have you done for me lately ? This might well prove to be the last chance for Pat Riley to show us all how good a personnel executive he really is . If he and Erik Spoelstra can’t turn things around then for all sense and purpose they might as well wave goodbye as Dwyane Wade departs from the city of Miami and away from Miami Heat, also. There’s a sense of inevitability that this is about to happen. But as alluded to earlier , Pat Riley will do his damn best to make sure that scenario doesn’t take place in the very near future.
What are your thoughts if any on the possible or imminent departure of Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat ? Do you believe that it is likely to happen or not ?
Catherine Bell, the former star of the CBS hit action-drama ‘JAG’. On the show Bell player US Marine lawyer and‘ Lt. Colonel , Sarah Mackenzie. Let’s just say in or out of uniform , Bell looks ‘damn fine’ !
And as an added treat , here’s a video covering Bell’s photo shoot for FHM . Can we praise Bell for showing us some skin ? Yes we can as it’s change that we can all believe in !
50 cent ‘drops it’ for Pat Riley as a reminder as to what’s needed. ‘Window Shopper’
Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………. 🙂