Barry Jackson

Heat’s Spoelstra discusses Wade, his team and more

Haslem reacts to reports Wade could sign with Cleveland

Udonis Haslem played with Dwayne Wade for 13 seasons in Miami and was recruiting him to come back to the Miami Heat.
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Udonis Haslem played with Dwayne Wade for 13 seasons in Miami and was recruiting him to come back to the Miami Heat.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra addressed several issues in his media day press conference on Monday, with the Heat noting that he could not discuss Dwyane Wade much because his Bulls buyout is not complete:

• On having his team back together: “This is ultimately what everybody wanted. It is a business. We understand that. Which team was it? 11-30 [the first half record]? 30-11 [the second half record]. Somewhere in between? Who knows.

“Our guys are excited about tomorrow [training camp starts Tuesday in Boca Raton]. Our guys are in tremendous shape. You know how I feel about this team. Ultimately, you have to compete for it. Our guys are crazy enough to think we’re good enough to get the job done.”

• On Wade leaving Chicago: “There has been so much movement this summer, this offseason. I don’t know 105 players is record movement. It didn’t surprise me. Everybody knows how I feel about Dwyane, what my relationship is with Dwyane. I love Dwyane. He’s a brother of mine, a brother to all of this organization. My focus is on this group. That’s not even official. It can’t be a thought of mine. Ultimately, that will be a decision of Pat [Riley] and Andy [Elisburg] if it becomes a decision.”

• On the team’s continuity: “We have the sixth-most guys coming back. That is continuity we feel means something. It doesn’t guarantee we will play the way we were at the end of last year. It does allow me to prepare for this training camp in a different way than last year. It will be more of a practice setting than a training camp install for the majority of the team. Hopefully, there will be some element of picking up where we left off last year.”

• On how Goran Dragic will be handled after playing as late as last weekend for Slovenia in a world tournament: “I was hoping he would come into camp fat and out of shape. [Yes, he was kidding.] We didn’t make the playoffs last year. So Goran had the perfect summer you can have to prepare for an NBA season. He had three months off. We sent our staff out there to work with him for about 10 days in early July. He had stayed in fitness shape.

“There is no better way to prepare for an NBA season than to play. Dwyane’s best season arguably was playing after USA Basketball. Usually, teams that play [international team basketball] have their best seasons the next year. He’s ready for a big time year. He played like an All-Star last year. I think he’s an All-Star this year. He’s more comfortable. I will manage him in preseason. My objective is to get him fresh and ready on [Oct. 16 for the opener].”

• On what he wants from Hassan Whiteside: “Bigger, better, more. His improvement in our organization has been steady each month, each year. He probably made his biggest strides from the New Year on last year of all the time he’s had in a Heat uniform.

“He really learned how to impact winning. It had nothing to do with [stats]. Learning how to make winning plays, learning how to make his teammates better, and caring more about the guys in the locker-room than himself. Now he can lead a different way because he has the respect in the locker-room.... Why not lead the league in rebounding and blocks and have the best defensive team and earn that Defensive Player of the Year?”

• On Bam Adebayo: “He has a lot of Miami Heat qualities that we like. When [Heat player personnel executive] Chet Kammerer says this is my guy, ... this was Chet’s guy six weeks before the draft, one day before the draft.... When he was there, we said ‘OK, Chet, this is your call.’ He’s tough, competitor, a winner, a great teammate. He has freakish athleticism. A desire and work ethic to match all that. He did a lot of things that surprised us a little this summer. We were pleasant encouraged [by his ball handling].”

• On newcomer Kelly Olynyk: “We couldn’t stop him, he made us look silly. He had us run around in circles for years. When guys play really well against us and give us problems, we want to get those guys. He had so many qualities. You can see why a lot of teams wanted him, why Boston valued him so much, and why [a lot of teams wanted him]. Supremely skilled. A former guard growing up. He plays the game unselfishly, likes to make the game easier for other players and fits with our personnel.”

• On the Western Conference landing more top players: “How can you not respect what Golden State has done? They play together. If you are a true competitor, you want to play those teams. We would have made the playoffs last year if we had beat some of the Eastern Conference teams.”

• On missing the playoffs last season: “Our guys didn’t feel like we accomplished something. There was heartbreak in the locker room. We wanted more. We never had a chance to see what we could have done in the playoffs. Our guys are crazy enough to think they could have advanced in the playoffs.”

• Spoelstra said the team won’t rest players like some others do: “I don’t anticipate us resting guys unless they’re hurt. We are old school in that mentality. We will be highly intelligent about it.”

• On Donald Trump’s weekend comments: “It’s a polarizing time. It’s a disheartening time. I commend the Golden State Warriors for the decision they made. I commend NFL players and organizations for taking a stand for equality, for inclusion, for taking a stand against racism, bigotry, prejudice. These are all cornerstones of our great country. It’s disheartening to see the divisiveness. We all feel discouraged by the divisiveness. We will meet with it as a team when we get in Boca. We will have a discussion about it.”

Here’s my fresh six pack of Monday morning Dolphins nuggets, including a Lawrence Timmons update and some eye-opening stuff in the aftermath of Sunday’s debacle.

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