During a conference call on Tuesday, I asked TNT NBA analysts Reggie Miller, Kevin McHale and Grant Hill about the Heat’s outlook and how the breakup of the Big Three affects the perception of the Heat. Their thoughts:
• Miller: “Look, you are talking to a guy that played 18 years for one organization. For Dwyane Wade, he will always be the face of the Miami Heat, bringing them their first championship and willing them on his back vs. the Dallas Mavericks…
“To go out and recruit Chris Bosh and LeBron James and win two more, I always felt they should have opened up the checkbook to Dwyane Wade. That’s just my personal opinion because he had done so much for that organization.
“But they’re run very well by Pat Riley. He obviously understands what he’s doing, along with Erik Spoelstra and the owner, Micky Arison. I’m sure there were words when Wade was leaving out the door and with the disappointment of Chris Bosh and the whole illness situation, I’m sure there’s feelings on both ends. If there’s one guy that can get the Miami Heat back on track from a management standpoint, that would be Pat Riley.
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“Don’t forget they still have a defensive presence in the middle still with Hassan Whiteside. They signed him to that big deal.”
McHale then interjects: “That depends on what night it is, though, Reggie!”
Miller, continued: “I was going to say, there’s been nights he looks like a guy who can get you a quadruple double with steals, points, blocks and there’s other times where he is out in left field. But they signed him to that huge deal, so obviously they must have a lot of faith in him to give him that kind of [performance].
“And Justise Winslow, this is a chance for him now, a high draft pick a couple years ago. He is going to get run now. This is a chance for the younger players, along with Goran Dragic, to show what they’re made of.”
• McHale: “There are times in management where you have [difficult] decisions to make. Pat was in that situation with Dwyane Wade. I was really surprised Wade went back home to Chicago because he has been the face of Heat basketball for so long. Reggie played 18 years for the Pacers, I ended up playing my entire career for Boston. That just doesn’t happen that much.
“If you’re Pat Riley, you’re in a no-win situation. Because if you keep him there and don’t have success, everybody is complaining: ‘Well, they should never have done it.’ And then when you don’t do it, and he goes to a new city, well [people say], ‘You can’t let him go.’ It is a tough, tough, no-win situation… .Having had to go through that with Kevin Garnett, you have a lot of sleepless nights as a GM…
“Pat will do a good job of getting that team back. I do not believe they will be a playoff team this year. I think Erik Spoelstra is going to open it up. They will get up and down the court a lot more. I think they will be a little bit more of a fastbreak attack team with Goran Dragic.”
• Hill: “I don’t think this tarnishes the organization one bit. I think they’re well respected throughout the league from players, agents and folks like us. It was a very difficult decision [on Wade]. We can debate whether it was the right decision or not. I will say I was surprised, particularly with the uncertainty of Chris Bosh. Part of me feels if Bosh were to leave, you would want that guy to sort of hold things together.
“That is a tough call [with Wade]. Sometimes you have to move on. I think time heals wounds. Whatever emotions were involved this summer, in time both sides will be able to move past it, and don’t be surprised if Wade at some point is in that organization in some capacity. That’s how they operate. They did that with Alonzo Mourning. I think in the future they will work together again.
“If Bosh had been healthy, I think they would have [had] a chance to be a playoff team in the East. I agree with Kevin. They will get up and down a little more. Goran Dragic might have the type of season he had in Phoenix under Jeff Hornacek a few years back, where they played up and down. He can thrive in that kind of system. It gives some of the young guys an opportunity to take on more responsibility. I have the utmost respect for Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, that organization.”
For a look at some interesting things Chris Bosh said today, please click here.
And for my Tuesday afternoon post with UM football nuggets, please click here.
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