The Heat enters Saturday’s start of training camp with several players still recovering from injuries but with the hope of being at full strength for the regular-season opener Oct. 30 against Boston. An update:
• Coach Erik Spoelstra predicts “you’ll see a great deal of the athleticism come back” with Dwyane Wade this season. But the Heat will be cautious during camp, with no pressure to play in preseason if he’s not deemed ready.
“My focus is on Oct. 30,” Wade said. “I’m feeling good. I will get stronger and stronger as the year goes on.”
Spoelstra said Wade “will do something on the first day of camp,” but his activity will be monitored for the next month.
“I don’t have a specific plan for him in training camp,” Spoelstra said. “I’m looking at him strictly big picture. We would like to put him in position to be ready for Game 1 of the regular season.”
• Mike Miller: He avoided back surgery and said he’s feeling much better. Spoelstra said Miller has been doing “very regulated” work on the court for six weeks, and Saturday’s session will be his first contact work since playing in the Finals.
“He’ll go full speed Saturday, and we’ll be smart about it,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t expect him to go every day.” Miller said he, Spoelstra and Pat Riley have talked about a maintenance program, but he wants to practice some.
• Ray Allen: Though he doesn’t expect to miss any games, Allen suggested his surgically repaired ankle will need to be managed for a while. Asked if he expects to be pain free this season, he said, “Who knows?”
He isn’t 100 percent yet, but “you wouldn’t know it,” he said. “I don’t want anyone to know. I don’t want anyone to think I’m hampered by any soreness.”
• Rashard Lewis: He said he’s fully recovered from knee problems that slowed and often sidelined him the past two years and won’t be limited in camp. Spoelstra said Lewis “mentioned it’s the first time he has been able to lean down and pick up his kids because his knees feel that good.”
Bosh at center
Chris Bosh, who said he expects to continue playing center, began adding a few pounds this summer (from 238 to 241) but decided to lose the weight because he and Spoelstra do not want to jeopardize his quickness.
“I don’t want him to bulk up,” Spoelstra said. “That makes no sense for how we want to play.”
This and that
• Spoelstra said he will be “intelligent” about not playing his stars too many minutes. But “this season is not about preservation,” he said. “ LeBron James wouldn’t have it any other way.”
• The Heat will have at least 50 regular-season practices (compared with 25 during last year’s lockout-shortened season), and Spoelstra said: “It’s important for the coaching staff we don’t take the attitude of: ‘Let’s just do what we did last year.’ That isn’t enough. The league doesn’t allow you to do that.
“We don’t know that our game that we finished with will be good enough to do that again. Offensively, we would like to play a notch quicker pace than we did last year.”
• Though the league is finalizing a new “flopping” policy that could result in fines, Spoelstra said will “absolutely not” change the team’s emphasis on drawing charges.
“Flopping is a silent killer,” Shane Battier cracked.
• Spoelstra, on how life has changed since winning a championship: “I don’t get things thrown at me as much.”
But seriously, he said, strangers are “a little more respectful than 12 months ago.” And he said other coaches are more likely to call him back now.
He said, half kiddingly, that some non-NBA coaches, when he left messages before winning a title would say, “Who’s he?” with some believing Riley was still coaching the Heat.
• Of the Lakers, Wade said: “We’ll see them twice, and hopefully we’ll see them later.”