Mario Chalmers lost his starting spot for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the latest blow during a stretch that he calls the most difficult of his career.
An impending free agent, Chalmers prefers to return next season. That’s certainly not out of the question, but it would be surprising if the Heat doesn’t explore trying to upgrade at the position.
Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, veteran NBA guard Brandon Rush and former NBA guard Damon Jones all reached out to Chalmers in recent days, offering both encouragement but also a pointed message: “Stop playing passively.”
Chalmers said he agrees that he has been playing passively but he said he also is cognizant of getting the ball to teammates.
He entered Game 5 having shot 5 for 18 in the Finals, with 14 assists and 10 turnovers.
The past few weeks have “been very tough, but it comes with the job,” he said. “My teammates have all been supportive. At times like this, you’ve got to perform. I’ve dealt with adversity before.”
Over the past few days, Chalmers has watched tape of some of his best moments as an NBA player, a reminder of what he is capable of.
“I’ve watched a couple of games — last year’s Finals, games earlier this year, playoff games over my six years,” he said. “It shows that you can do it. I’ve been in this situation before and I know what I can do at this level. Just got to keep believing in myself.”
This and thatShane Battier
“There were guys that didn’t know if they were playing and it affected our team a little bit.”Chandler Parsons
“I think if they would’ve won the championship it would’ve been a different story and they would’ve came back to do it again,” Parsons said. “But he’s got so much responsibility. I think them losing will make him make a move and opt out, and you’ll see him in a different jersey next year. He’s done all he can do there and it’s time for him to move on. I could see him maybe going back to Cleveland.”