Believing there’s no need to add center Andrew Bynum at this time, the Heat decided to keep guard Roger Mason Jr., and, as expected, forward Michael Beasley by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. NBA deadline to guarantee contracts for the remainder of the season. That means Miami would have to eat a contract to add another player.
Erik Spoelstra called the lack of any roster moves “fairly easy decisions” and said of Mason: “It’s not easy to find guys like that.”
Though the Heat hasn’t ruled out Bynum barring a change of heart (if he’s still available), Miami was not among several teams that contacted Bynum’s agent after he was released by Chicago on Tuesday.
The Heat also remains optimistic that center Greg Oden will be able to contribute at some point this season, but feels no rush to insert him in a game. Oden hasn’t played in an NBA game in more than four years while continuing to work his way back from several knee operations.
Chris Bosh said Tuesday that Oden hypothetically could play in a game today, if needed, but “you don’t want to throw him out there too soon. He’s got to get his conditioning under him. He’s got to make sure he’s got his legs correctly. Once he gets in good conditioning as far as doing his drills and can do it with no problem, then I’m sure they’ll insert him in games. …
“He’s really going to be able to help us in some areas we need to fill later on. His time is coming pretty soon. He’ll be ready.”
Joel Anthony said Oden has looked good in two-on-two matchups against him. The Heat hasn’t done much five-on-five practice work in recent weeks.
Asked if he’s convinced Oden will help the team this year, Spoelstra said: “All I’m concerned about is follow the plan. And he’s been following the plan. Very disciplined. Making progress.”
• Shane Battier missed his third consecutive game with a quadriceps injury, and Mario Chalmers sat out with Achilles’ tendonitis.
Pat Riley, who hasn’t spoken to local reporters since late last June, did a recently released interview with Index Universe in which he discussed some of the Heat’s philosophies — much of which Heat fans already know, but are interesting nevertheless.
Among the highlights:
• Riley said flatly: “We don’t like to build through the draft. If you’re going to do that, then you’re probably going to have to lose for two or three or four years in a row, and get high lottery picks. In my 19 years here, we’ve been in the lottery three times. We ended up getting three good players out of that [ Caron Butler, Dwyane Wade, Beasley].
“We really like the trade route or free agency to find the fourth- or fifth-year player … and now has become a veteran. He’s a talent. He’s experienced. He’s mature. And he will slot into that sixth-man role or a specific role. Or every now and then, go for a real star. That’s how I think about building a team. And that’s how I think about keeping the team relevant, to keep adding one piece. Jerry West taught me this in Los Angeles.”
• He said Spoelstra believes in analytics: “We have a database of numbers, not only individually but as a team, in which we track every single movement that one of our players makes out on the court. And we will definitely quantify it into a number. And the player will have that number. Spoelstra believes in these numbers. He uses them to set up the offense and defense, especially offensively, and who are the best players to complement LeBron James and Bosh and Wade. Numbers and analytics play a big part in … how we can space the floor. The numbers tell us that Battier and Rashard Lewis play better when LeBron and Chris and Udonis Haslem are on the court.”
• Riley says Spoelstra is the “face of the franchise now” and “we don’t want a lot of people out there making statements to the media that can contradict one another.”
• One key, Riley said, is “the players trust us because they know we’re competent. We’re going to make them better players. We’re going to make sure they’re the best-fed and nutrition-oriented-conditioned team in the league. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t want to really play for us if they didn’t trust that we were competent.”