HEAT owner Micky Arison hints at a Chris Bosh return
Things appeared to be headed toward the upswing for the Miami HEAT entering the summer. The team won 48 games this past season and flirted with an Eastern Conference Finals appearance before falling in seven games to the Toronto Raptors in the second round.
Not bad for a team that was just two seasons removed from former league MVP LeBron James’ unexpected departure. Not bad considering All-Star forward Chris Bosh missed 29 regular season games and the entire playoffs due to a medical condition.
The checklist for Miami heading into the offseason was clear for all to see. Re-sign emerging center Hassan Whiteside. Re-sign future Hall of Fame guard Dwyane Wade. Hope for good news surrounding Bosh’s health.
The summer started off with optimism of achieving the trifecta.
Whiteside agreed to terms on a near $100 million deal relatively early in the process. Sure, veteran forwards Joe Johnson and Luol Deng defected to Utah and Los Angeles, respectively, but their absence wouldn’t be considered franchise changers.
Next, Brooklyn leaped in and signed guard Tyler Johnson to a four-year $50 million offer sheet. This presented team president Pat Riley with an interesting decision. Pay for the upside and potential or look to discover another unsung talent – like he did with Johnson and Whiteside previously.
It would have been an interesting chess move to watch play out on its own, but Wade bolted in free agency to Chicago in a decision that still has South Beach in disbelief.
Riley and the HEAT ultimately matched Brooklyn’s offer sheet for Johnson, but a huge part of their plans on a return to prominence may have went up in smoke with Wade wearing a Bulls uniform next season.
Now, all eyes turn toward Bosh and whether the forward will play next season. News on his blood-clotting issue has been sparse at best, but team owner Micky Arison hinted at the possibility of a Bosh return in a message to season ticket-holders – some of whom might be concerned with direction of the team.
“What won’t change is the culture of this organization,” Arison wrote. “The Miami HEAT is a Championship organization. I fully expect this team, from Pat Riley to Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, to our veterans Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Goran Dragic and Josh McRoberts, to our returning young core of Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson, to the fresh faces joining the HEAT Family to continue our mantra of being the ‘hardest working, best conditioned, most professional, unselfish, toughest, meanest, nastiest team in the NBA.'”
There are some items to note. It would likely cause more chaos for Arison to release a statement to season ticket-holders without mentioning Bosh’s name. That omission would instantly becoming a trending topic.
It’s also worth nothing that it was a message to purchasers of season tickets, which represent the baseline of expected profits for NBA teams. These ticket-holders typically purchase their packages and pay upfront or in relative short payment plans. So it’s possible Arison wasn’t offering any new information, just naming all of his heavy hitters.
Obviously, a Bosh return will soften the blow of Wade headed to the Windy City. But there’s a legitimate concern for those in Miami feeling uncertain if the HEAT can keep up their momentum.
For now the franchise is 1-1 on their offseason checklist, with one big item still undecided.
Phil Jackson on firing Derek Fisher as head coach of the New York Knicks
Head coaches at the NBA level seek opportunities to implement their ideas and philosophies. The vast majority also understand that longevity isn’t synonymous with the profession, especially at the professional level.
Former New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher found this out firsthand last season, as the former player was let go 54 games into the campaign. The Knicks were 23-31 (.402) at the time of the dismissal and were seemingly turning the corner. It was a definite rebound from Fisher’s initial 17-65 (.207) campaign in 2015.
Fisher was hired by Knicks team president Phil Jackson and given a five-year deal. The duo had history, with Fisher spending a good amount of his playing career under Jackson and winning five titles in the process.
Jackson hired former player Jeff Hornacek as Fisher’s true replacement earlier this summer, and the executive recently hinted that his former coach may have been a bit distracted.
“Almost from the start, this was a difficult time for Derek,” Jackson said, according to Today’s Fastbreak. “Derek did have a situation that took some focus away from his coaching during the preseason, but I never doubted that his focus was on coaching the team. A divorce and coast-to-coast move with children does put pressure on a person’s life, but that’s the NBA. However, Derek did move the team forward. He was dedicated and he worked hard. The players hustled and, for the most part, stayed as positive as was possible. And Derek did manage to survive last season and to deal with the heavy pressure of the constant losing, which is probably more intense in New York than in any other NBA city.
“When I was coaching, I liked to play a lot of players and usually found a rotation of 9-10 players to play, but it was hard for Derek to find a workable rotation. Nevertheless, the team did develop under him, and we have enough pieces in place to give us a chance to compete every night.”
Fisher posted a 40-96 (.294) record during his time leading the Knicks. The former point guard recently posted a video on social media of his workouts – possibly hinting at a comeback attempt as a player.
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