PHILADELPHIA -- LeBron James’ contract status at the end of the season is beginning to skew the narrative of just about everything involving the Heat and that includes seemingly innocuous messages on social media.
James’ posted a birthday message to teammate Dwyane Wade on Instagram on Friday that sent the Internet and basketball fans and writers into speculation overdrive. Wade turned 32 years old on Friday.
“Happy Bday to my running mate, homie, brother, and most of all straight up friend!” James said on Instagram. “The friendship we've created our rookie year at pre draft camp was pure and that's why we stuck together from that point on! Obviously didn't know we would eventually become teammates and do the things we've done so far.
“I came to Miami for 2 reasons. To play with [you] and to win championships and I can't thank [you] enough for the sacrifice you've made since I arrived homie! No matter what happens in the future we stuck together like brothers for life. And no matter what they say, [you] still a BAD Mutha-Shut-Yo-Mouth out there on that court!”
James then called Wade “old as dirt!”
It was a nice message between friends, but conspiracy theorists who believe James might be leaving Miami after this season zeroed in on one portion in particular: “No matter what happens in the future...”
James can opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent. He can also opt out and re-sign with the Heat for more money. James could also remain under contract. Whatever he does, James has decided not to address the offseason until the offseason and also not to worry about what people think about every little thing he puts on Twitter and Instagram.
“For one, I’m the one guy who cannot worry about my everyday comments or everyday life on what other people think,” James said. “That’s the last thing that I will do. I’ve been through this before, so I’ve got to live my life every day and I can’t worry about what people are going to say about some of the things that I do. That’s not how we live.”
James said his birthday message to Wade was “more focused on our friendship and where life can take us and that’s what it all comes down to. We’re connected at the hip no matter where our lives take us. Happy birthday to D-Wade.”
Wade on turning 32: “To be in this position in the NBA still, to be on great teams that have won championships and to accomplish the things that I’ve accomplished and to have the things that I have, and to have the family that I have, I am truly blessed. It has been a journey, a ride of ups and downs in my 32 years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mario Chalmers returned to the starting lineup on Friday after missing four games with pain in his Achilles tendon. The Heat went 1-3 without Chalmers. The view from the bench was pretty.
“There were things out there we definitely could have done better, but for the most part it had to do with effort. Everybody didn’t seem 100 percent into the game, and wasn’t doing all the little things.”
This and that
Toney Douglas was listed as an inactive player along with Chris Andersen even though Douglas hasn’t officially joined the team. Douglas was acquired in a three-team trade that included Joel Anthony on Wednesday but is still in transit to Miami from Northern California, Spoelstra said. Douglas must pass a physical before joining the Heat. Might Douglas join the Heat in Atlanta for Monday’s game against the Hawks? “Possibly,” Spoelstra said. … Andersen missed his second straight game with a soreness in his knee. ... Greg Oden was active for the second game in a row.