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NBA PM: Dwyane Wade Talks Free Agency

Miami HEAT guard Dwyane Wade gives some insight regarding this upcoming summer… A look at the latest news and rumblings throughout the league.

Yannis Koutroupis



Dwyane Wade Talks Free Agency

At 32 years of age, Miami HEAT guard Dwyane Wade is likely going to get his last big money contract this offseason – assuming that he exercises his early termination option to become an unrestricted free agent. Miami is the only organization he knows; they drafted him in 2003 and since then he’s helped guide them to three championships and counting. He has close relationships with head coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley, who will head up negotiations, making it very unlikely that he goes anywhere this summer.

“I want to be here,” Wade said to David Aldridge of “I think that’s always the things I’ve always said and I’ve always expressed. And after that, I want to win. I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m starting over and I’m rebuilding. I want to win. And I want to be on a team that has an opportunity to do that, and feel like I’m a big part of that. This is where I want to be. But as players, [having] options is good. Because you don’t know what is to happen or what is to come. So for us, I think we’re in a great situation. Guys have options as players, and they can exercise those options. Who knows what that means? But right now, for us, we’re on a very good team. We enjoy each other. We enjoy this city and we enjoy playing for this organization, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

The big question is whether Wade will continue to be a part of the Big Three. Both LeBron James and Chris Bosh have the ability to become unrestricted free agents if they desire, but Wade says they haven’t talked about what they will do collectively yet.

“I don’t know, man,” Wade said. “I haven’t wrapped my brain around all of that yet. It’s too much. The new CBA, the things we can do, and what kind of sacrifices. When that time comes, you’ll sit down with the ones you trust to give you advice, and lay it all out on the table, and you’ll go from there, and see what’s best for you at that time.”

It’s going to be interesting to see whether the HEAT try to get a “hometown” discount from Wade, who is regularly troubled by injuries, or if he seeks another near-max deal. He certainly couldn’t be faulted for asking for one, based on the impact he’s had for the franchise. Take away Hall-of-Fame worthy numbers, Wade is the reason why the Big Three reside in Miami. Without him, there is no James or Bosh. He was the key to it all coming together four years ago and he could end up being the key again.

Wade has missed 15 games this season and for the fifth consecutive season his scoring average has dipped. However, Wade is playing with the best efficiency of his career, shooting 55 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc. He’s coming off of a particularly strong month of February in which he averaged 21 points on a remarkable 60 percent shooting to go along with 5.6 rebounds a game and 5.5 assists. He’s getting stronger as the season goes on, proving that he’s still one of the best in the league when healthy.

“When I’m feeling at my best, I can do the things I want on the court,” Wade said. “My strengths have always been my ability to penetrate, to finish, to find guys and just draw the defense and make things happen from there. When I’m at my best, you can tell. I’m in the paint a lot, I’m active, and then I start mixing in my outside game. It’s a good feeling. A lot of people don’t understand that hasn’t went through injuries, as players going through it now, that we understand it. You’re not as healthy as you once was. You take it for granted. But now, I don’t take it for granted. Some nights, I feel amazing. Some nights, I don’t. But I still get out on the court and try to do my job. My job now is different than it ever has been, but I try to do my job every night on the court.

“All I know is I play a team sport, and I’m a team player. As much as I love putting the ball in the basket, but I also love seeing success for my teammates. Understanding that with this group, to succeed the way we want to succeed, certain players on certain nights have to take a back seat. Even though my back seat is so much different from a Udonis Haslem’s back seat. Someone who I respect tremendously, who’s been with me here since day one. Look at the back seat he has to take. And my back seat is different. So I don’t complain about mine. I just go out there and I just try to figure it out. Some nights I get a chance get in the passenger seat. Maybe the driver’s seat. [Laughs.] But I just want to be in the car and help this team win.”

If Wade continues to play at his current level and helps lead the HEAT to another championship, there won’t be much negotiating when it comes to his contract. A hometown discount will be out of the question, because there will likely be other teams in the market trying to pluck him away. As we’ve seen, a healthy Wade is a dominant Wade.

A Look Around the League

Here’s a look at the latest news and rumblings from around the NBA.

  • Caron Butler will be making his Oklahoma City Thunder debut Tuesday evening against the Philadelphia 76ers. Butler joined the Thunder instead of the Miami HEAT after being bought out by the Milwaukee Bucks. Butler will provide the Thunder with a veteran swingman capable of guarding both perimeter positions and a well-rounded offensive arsenal.
  • The Brooklyn Nets have signed Jason Collins to a second 10-day contract. Collins, a blue collar big man who does the little things like setting good screens, boxing out and playing good help defense, became the most high-profile 10-day contract signing ever because he’s the first openly gay player to play in the four major professional sports. The Nets are expected to sign him for the rest of the season at the end of this second 10-day deal. Collins has played in four contests for an average of 8.5 minutes, averaging 0.8 points and one rebound.
  • Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Houston Rockets guard James Harden were named the NBA Players of the Week this week.
  • Miami HEAT head coach Erik Spoelstra and Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale were named the NBA Coaches of the Month.
  • Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni gave bleak reports over the statuses of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash today, telling reporters that he doubts Nash plays again this season and that Bryant has still not been cleared by doctors with just six weeks remaining in the regular season.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.


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NBA Daily: Raptors Look To Fine-Tune The Defense

The Toronto Raptors’ defense had a letdown against the Cavaliers, but has been outstanding overall.

Buddy Grizzard



The Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors engaged in an offensive shootout on Wednesday that could be a playoff preview. The Cavs protected home court with a single-possession, 132-129 victory. Afterward, the Raptors spoke about the types of defensive adjustments the team needs to make as the postseason rapidly approaches.

“That’s how a playoff game would be,” said DeMar DeRozan, who missed a three at the buzzer that could have forced overtime. “This is a team we’ve been playing against the last two years in the postseason. Understanding how we can tighten up things defensively, how to make things tougher for them [is key].

“[It’s] little small things that go a long way, and not just with them … with every team.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey concurred with DeRozan that fine-tuning of the defense is needed. He also pointed out that, with young contributors such as center Jakob Poeltl and power forward Pascal Siakam on the roster, defensive experience against the league’s best player, LeBron James, is something they will have to gain on the fly.

“I don’t think Jakob Poeltl played against him that much, and Siakam,” said Casey. “This is their first time seeing it. I thought Jak and Pascal did an excellent job, but there are certain situations where they’ve got to read and understand what the other team is trying to do to them.”

Poeltl was outstanding, leading the bench with 17 points and tying for the team lead in rebounds with eight. Casey praised the diversity of his contributions.

“I thought he did an excellent job of rolling, finishing, finding people,” said Casey. “I thought defensively, he did a good job of protecting the paint, going vertical. So I liked what he was giving us, especially his defense against Kevin Love.”

Basketball Insiders previously noted how the Raptors have performed vastly better as a team this season when starting point guard Kyle Lowry is out of the game. Much of that is due to Fred VanVleet’s emergence as one of the NBA’s best reserve point guards. VanVleet scored 16 points with five assists and no turnovers against Cleveland. It’s also a reflection of how good Toronto’s perimeter defense has been up and down the roster.

According to ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus statistic, three of the NBA’s top 15 defensive point guards play for the Raptors. VanVleet ranks seventh while Lowry is 12th and Delon Wright is 14th. Starting small forward OG Anunoby ranks 16th at his position.

The Raptors also rank in the top five in offensive efficiency (third) and defensive efficiency (fifth). Having established an identity as a defensive team, especially on the perimeter, it’s perhaps understandable that Lowry was the one player in the visiting locker room who took the sub-standard defensive showing personally.

“It was a disgraceful display of defense by us and we’ve got to be better than that,” said Lowry. “We’ve got to be more physical. They picked us apart and made a lot of threes. We’ve got to find a way to be a better defensive team.”

Lowry continued the theme of fine-tuning as the regular season winds down.

“I think we’ve just got to make adjustments on the fly as a team,” said Lowry. “We can score with the best of them, but they outscored us tonight. We got what we wanted offensively. We’re one of the top teams in scoring in the league, but we’re also a good defensive team.”

Lowry was clearly bothered by Toronto’s defensive showing, but Casey downplayed the importance of a single regular-season game.

“We’ve got to take these games and learn from them, and again learn from the situations where we have to be disciplined,” said Casey. “It’s not a huge thing. It’s situations where we are that we’ve got to learn from and be disciplined and not maybe take this step and over-help here. Because a team like that and a passer like James will make you pay.”

While the Raptors continue to gain experience and dial in the fine defensive details, Casey was insistent that his players should not hang their heads over falling short against Cleveland.

“Hopefully our guys understand that we’re right there,” said Casey.

The Raptors host the Brooklyn Nets tonight to open a three-game home stand that includes visits from the Clippers Sunday and the Nuggets Tuesday. After that, Toronto visits the Celtics March 31 followed by a return to Cleveland April 3 and a home game against Boston the next night. With three games in a row against the other two top-three teams in the East, the schedule presents plenty of opportunities for the Raptors to add defensive polish before the playoffs begin.

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NBA Daily: Jaylen Brown Set To Return For Celtics

The Celtics finally got some good news on Thursday. Jaylen Brown’s return is imminent.

Moke Hamilton



Finally, some good news for the Boston Celtics.

Jaylen Brown is set to return to action.

Brown has been M.I.A. since sustaining a concussion during the team’s 117-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves back on March 8, but has traveled with the team to Portland and is expecting to return to the lineup on Sunday when the Celtics do battle with the Sacramento Kings.

As the Celts gear up for a playoff run, which they hope will result in them ending LeBron James’ reign atop the Eastern Conference, they’ve picked the wrong time to run into injury issues. Along with Brown, both Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart have each been conspicuous by their absences, and the team could certainly use all of their pieces as they attempt to enter the postseason on a high note.

Fortunately for Boston, with the Toronto Raptors leading them by 4.5 games in the standings and the Celts ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers by a comfortable six games, Brad Stevens’ team is enjoying the rare situation of having a playoff seed that appears to be somewhat locked in.

Still, with the team only able to go as far as its young rotation will carry it, Brown addressed the media on Thursday.

“I’m feeling a lot better. I’m just trying to hurry up and get back,” Brown said, as quoted by

“I’m tired of not playing.”

Stevens is probably tired of him not playing, too.

As we head into the month of April, playoff-bound teams and conference contenders begin to think about playing into June, while the cellar-dwellers and pretenders begin to look toward the draft lottery and free agency.

What’s funny is that in the midst of the Raptors and their rise out East, the Celtics and their dominance has become a bit of a forgotten storyline. When Gordon Hayward went down on opening night, the neophytes from the Northeast were thought to be a decent team in the making whose ceiling probably wasn’t anywhere near that of the Cavs, the Raptors and perhaps even the Washington Wizards.

Yet through it all, with the impressive growth of Jaylen Brown, impressive rookie Jayson Tatum and the rise of Irving as a franchise’s lynchpin, the Celtics stormed out the games to the tune of a a 17-3 record. What made the strong start even more impressive was the fact that the team won 16 straight games after beginning the season 0-2.

Although they weren’t able to keep up that pace, they began the month of February having gone 37-15 and turned a great many into believers. With their spry legs, team-first playing style and capable leader in Irving, the Celtics, it was thought, were a true contender in the Eastern Conference — if not the favorite.

Since then, and after experiencing injuries to some of its key cogs, the team has gone just 11-8.

In the interim, it seems that many have forgotten about the team that tantalized the Eastern Conference in the early goings of the season.

Brown’s return, in one important respect, will signify a return to Boston’s prior self.

With Marcus Smart having recently undergone surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right thumb, he is expected to be out another five weeks or so, meaning that he’ll likely miss the beginning of the postseason.

As for Irving, although reports say that his ailing knee has no structural damage, everything the Celtics hope to accomplish begins and ends with him. FOX Sports 1’s Chris Broussard believes that it’s no slam dunk that Irving returns to action this season, but he’s in the minority. This team has simply come too far to not give themselves every opportunity to compete at the highest level, so long as doing so doesn’t jeopardize the long term health of any of the franchise’s cornerstones.

Make no mistake about it, the Celtics are far from a finished product. With their nucleus intact and flexibility preserved, they will have another offseason with which to tinker with their rotation pieces and plug away at building a champion.

But here and now, with what they’ve got, the Celtics are much closer than any of us thought they would be at this point.

And on Sunday, when Jaylen Brown rejoins his team in the lineup, to the delight of the Boston faithful, the Celtics will be that much closer.

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Winslow and the Miami HEAT Are “Believing in Each Other”

Justise Winslow discusses the all-around team effort of the Miami HEAT with Basketball Insiders.

Dennis Chambers



The days of LeBron James in Miami are over. Chris Bosh isn’t there anymore, either. No more Ray Allen or Shane Battier. Dwyane Wade is back, but he’s not “Flash” nowadays.

Actually, check the entire Miami HEAT roster; there’s no superstar. They have an All-Star in Goran Dragic, even if he was the third alternate. But during this most recent playoff push, the HEAT don’t have a worldwide household name to plaster all over billboards as a reason for their success.

With 10 games remaining until the playoffs, Miami doesn’t have a player averaging more than 33 minutes per game. Instead, they have 11 players who average at least 20 minutes a contest. Their approach is that of a deep rotation, and its led them to a 39-33 record and the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. All while the rest of the league is star-driven.

One of those key cogs to the Miami machine is third-year wing, Justise Winslow. A former top-10 pick out of Duke, Winslow is enjoying most efficient season so far for the HEAT. To him, the fact that his squad isn’t littered with names like LeBron and Steph doesn’t make a difference.

“I think our team is extremely confident in each other,” Winslow said. “I think that’s a big thing is that we all believe in each other. We play to each other’s strengths, and most importantly we’re a defensive-minded team. We hang our hats on the defensive end, and that’s really what gets us going as a team.”

Winslow isn’t exaggerating. The HEAT is seventh in the NBA in defensive rating. Head coach Erik Spoelstra harps on the team’s defensive scheme and preparation. Without a go-to scorer capable of getting the team 30 any given night, Miami needs to do their job as a collective unit on the defensive end of the floor night in and night out.

“Each night the coaching staff preaching to us that we have enough, no matter who is in the lineup,” Winslow said. “So it’s just about going out there and executing and putting together a good game of 48-minute basketball. I think our belief in each other that we have enough to get the job done is key.”

In the current NBA landscape, a lot of the playoff contenders are centered around players with big resumes and bigger names. As a result, the HEAT get lost in the shuffle of the national conversation from time to time. Their culture of togetherness and slight from the media outside of their city could make for the perfect “chip on the shoulder” recipe. Or so you would think. Winslow doesn’t believe the chatter, or lack thereof, matters any to Miami.

“We don’t pay too much attention to that,” Winslow said. ‘We’re so focused, and locked in on our team, and each other, and trying to win each game. For us, it’s about having the respect of your peers, of the other team. I think every night no matter who we have or who’s healthy, I think teams know we’re going to be a tough, physical team. Guys in this league don’t want that, you don’t want to have to play against a Miami HEAT team that’s going to be physical, that’s going to get into your body, that’s going to make you play a hard, 48-minute basketball game.”

Because of the HEAT’s brand of basketball, an 82-game season can be grueling. For Winslow, keeping his body right throughout the grind is important to him. After dealing with a few injuries last season, and ultimately being shut down for the year last January to undergo right shoulder surgery for a torn labrum, Winslow was determined to make sure he kept his body in check throughout his comeback so he would be available for a long playoff run.

While his numbers aren’t flashy, Winslow is showing improvement. His 49.3 true shooting percentage is the highest of his career, along with shooting nearly 43 percent from beyond the arc, Winslow made strides in arguably the biggest knock against his game since coming out of college.

Because NBA players have the freedom to form partnerships with whichever companies they’d like, Winslow made the choice to strike up a partnership that he felt would not only help him off the court but more importantly, on it as well.

“My partnership with MET-Rx has been great,” Winslow said. “They’ve really helped take my game to the next level with all their nutritional supplements, and the Big 100 bar. So, for me, I’m always looking for ways to stay off my feet, but also get in the best shape possible and this was just a great way to help.”

The grind of the NBA season is also eased for playoff teams by a veteran presence. So, when the HEAT brought back franchise legend Wade at the trade deadline, their locker room suddenly had a face and feel of someone who’s been there before. A player who reached the pinnacle, with the very team that traded for him nonetheless.

Getting Wade back to Miami was crucial for the team’s playoff run down the stretch, and more importantly for Winslow, who benefited greatly from his time with the future Hall of Famer when he was fresh out of college.

“First and foremost, it was great to get him back,” Winslow said. “Just the role that he played in my career as a rookie, and everything I learned from him. But then also, just the energy and positivity that he brought to the locker room, and also the community of Miami, the city of Miami as a whole. It was a much-needed energy boost, and good vibes that he brought back for that post All-Star break push for playoffs. So, it’s just been great having him back, and it’s kind of rejuvenated the team and the locker room, and just the city in general.”

Wade is the MVP-caliber player he once was this time around, though. But that’s okay. This version of the Miami HEAT is charging toward the postseason with a team-first mentality.

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