Miami Heat

Bam Adebayo on new-look Heat’s potential, Tyler Herro, Udonis Haslem and more

Riley: “Not a new culture, but to tightening the screws on a culture that sometimes erodes just a little bit.”

Miami Heat President Pat Riley talks to the media during the season-ending press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday April 13, 2019 in Miami.
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Miami Heat President Pat Riley talks to the media during the season-ending press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday April 13, 2019 in Miami.

With the free agency frenzy over, the Russell Westbrook trade saga in the past and the Chris Paul story line put on hold, the core of the Heat’s roster is pretty much set ... barring a trade over the next two months before the start of training camp.

How good can the Jimmy Butler-led Heat be this upcoming season?

“I can’t tell you that right now,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said Saturday during a break at his second annual youth basketball clinic at Riviera Preparatory School in Kendall. “But on paper, we look like we’re really good. So we’ve just got to fulfill that and go out there and play our hardest and just complete.”

BetOnline recently released its opening 2019-20 win totals for each NBA team, and set the over-under betting line for the Heat’s regular-season win total at 42 1/2 games, which is just above the .500 mark.

The Heat acquired Meyers Leonard and Butler in a trade this summer, and also added first-round pick Tyler Herro and second-round pick KZ Okpala in this year’s draft. But Miami lost Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside as part of the deal that brought Leonard and Butler to the Heat, and will also miss the recently retired Dwyane Wade.

“Probably personality wise,” Adebayo said of how this year’s Heat team will be different. “Instead of J-Rich and the goofiness, it’s Jimmy Butler. So it’s kind of more serious. He’s older than us.”

When asked about the importance of holding a youth basketball clinic in Miami, Adebayo said: “Just because they might turn into me, you never know. One of these guys might grow up and be 6-10. They might be 5-6 in their freshman year and then grow like Anthony Davis. You never know, and they’re always going to be like: ‘I went to Bam’s camp.’ So it’s always like a little reminder for them.”

“Growing up I never had anything like that. ... You never know, I might say one little thing and it might impact that one kid in an unbelievable way.”

Adebayo classified Herro as a “fast learner” because “he wants to soak in information. When I was talking to him in summer league, it seemed like he really wanted to learn and he went out there and changed it just like us. So I feel like he’ll fit in with us.”

When asked about Udonis Haslem’s recent Instagram post, which compared Adebayo to a “young UD,” Adebayo said: “First of all, that is the first time UD has said that much about me, and it just happened to be on my birthday. I love UD. He’s like my brother. So it kind of hit the heart a little bit, got a little teary-eyed. It was a good heartfelt message and I probably won’t get that again until my 23rd birthday.”

Haslem’s post, which was meant to wish Adebayo a happy 22nd birthday, read: “I’d be lying if I said I’ve had or could ask for a better young fella!!! As much as you nag, aggravate, and antagonize the hell out of me, you make it a joy to come to work everyday. The way you see the game. The way you approach the game. Who you play for. Why you play. And how you reach your goal of getting there all falls in line with the young UD. Although different styles we not that different at all kid.

“Been looking for someone to take this s--- and run wit and from where I’m sitting it’s you! You have the mold of a lifer!! It was never more evident then watching you finish the season the way you did last year... Never complained. Just lead by example no matter the circumstances mentally or physically. This bout all the good s--- you gonna hear from me til next year so enjoy it kid. Lol. We gon have a lil fun for ya bday then it’s back to verbally abusing you. Lol. HBD young fella!!! Idk how old yo a-- really is but it’s still a blessing to see another year!! Lol. Love ya lil bro/son!!!”

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.
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