Heat notebook

Miami Heat plays down talk of possible boycott

 
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bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

Former Heat guard Roger Mason Jr. on Wednesday essentially retracted his comment from a day earlier that LeBron James told him he would boycott the start of next season if Donald Sterling is still owner of the Los Angeles Clippers at that time.

“LBJ never said anything about boycotting,” Mason tweeted. “He’s a friend and I would never want to imply something he didn’t say… My bad if I was not clear.”

Nevertheless, Showtime on Wednesday night went ahead and aired Mason’s comments claiming James told him he would boycott.

James did not completely rule out a boycott, but indicated that’s not the way he’s thinking.

“As players, we see what [commissioner] Adam Silver is doing and he’s moving forward,” James said. “If he continues to move aggressively, which we believe Adam Silver will do, on the situation, then as players, we have nothing to worry about.”

Asked whether it would be good enough if the league continues attempts to remove Sterling but cannot complete it by the start of next season, James said: “We don’t know. Right now, it’s good enough for us. We don’t know what’s going to happen. The legal system can be a pain.”

Asked under what parameters a boycott could happen, James said there would be “more in-depth longer conversations that would need to be discussed” to get to that point.

James, who said he’s not using his cell phone during the playoffs, said neither he nor an associate called Mason to ask him to retract his statement.

“Roger’s a great guy,” James said. “I don’t have a problem with him at all.”

James said “the fact we have to continue to talk about [Sterling] sucks… I’m not sure Donald Sterling has ever put on a basketball uniform in his life.”

Heat swingman James Jones, a member of the player association’s executive council, said he does not support boycotting the start of the next season, if Sterling is still in place, because “we’ve taken steps to remove Donald.”

Udonis Haslem said the boycott discussion has never come up among the Heat.

• The Heat denied an unsubstantiated mediatakeout.com story that Nets forward Paul Pierce punched James in the jaw in an arena tunnel following Game 4 on Monday night in Brooklyn. The NBA did not investigate the matter because it is convinced the story is not true. Pierce, oddly enough, declined to comment Tuesday when asked about it.

• James said he didn’t know that Pierce asked to guard him before Game 4 and that it wouldn’t give him any extra motivation. “I don’t believe there’s a one-on-one matchup that can guard me anyway,” he said.

• In the wake of former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy signing a five-year, $35 million contract to become coach and president of basketball operations for the Pistons, Erik Spoelstra said he now understands why he hasn’t received any text messages from Van Gundy in the past week.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for a coach to have that type of control,” said Spoelstra, who worked as an assistant on Van Gundy’s Heat staff and remains a close friend. “It has to be an exciting opportunity for him to want to leave Florida. I knew something was up. We text all the time. All of a sudden, hadn’t heard from him in a week. I said, ‘Something must be going on.’”

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