With the Miami Heat expected to face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in preseason action this weekend, it is only right that the storyline between the two teams continues to develop. It will be the first time to two franchises meet since the departure of LeBron James from Miami to Cleveland, and despite being an exhibition match the history between the involved players is evident.
With James gone, the Heat have placed their contending hopes squarely on the shoulders of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade who will both be expected to carry heavy loads for the team. Bosh specifically will be the primary option for the revamped team, and has openly embraced the leadership role.
Earlier this week Bosh commented that he hasn’t spoken with James since he announced that he was returning to Cleveland. Now Bosh has spoken rather openly on what the transition for Kevin Love will be like having to go from the first option on the Minnesota Timberwolves, to possibly the second or third behind James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.
Prior to signing with the Heat in 2010, Bosh had made a career for himself as the go to guy for the Toronto Raptors. His experience shifting from that role to a support one in Miami would certainly qualify him to speak on such a shift, as the veteran player offers some unique insight on his own experience.
Per Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:
You don’t get your pick of the buffet.
“Exactly,” Bosh said. “You just get your entree and that’s it. It’s like, wait a minute, I need my appetizer and my dessert and my drink, what are you doing? And my bread basket. What is going on? I’m hungry! It’s a lot different. But if you can get through it, good things can happen. But it never gets easy. Even up until my last year of doing it, it never gets easier.”
“It’s going to be very difficult for him,” Bosh said of Love’s new task. “Even if I was in his corner and I was able to tell him what to expect and what to do, it still doesn’t make any difference. You still have to go through things, you still have to figure out things on your own. It’s extremely difficult and extremely frustrating. He’s going to have to deal with that.”
Bosh noted Love’s previously high allotment of touches down low, where “he’s very, very good at using his body to get his shots off and stuff like that. Like I said before, [in Minnesota] he was able to play that game and set guys up. Now, it’s like, man, do I go to my move? He’s going to have to fight a lot of his instincts.”
Hearing how Bosh viewed the situation certainly helps in understanding what will be expected of Love moving forward. Love has put up incredible individual numbers in his career, but has never competed in an NBA Playoff game. Barring some unfortunate missteps, this Cleveland team is expected to make a deep post-season run that may come at the expense of Love’s individual contributions. It will certainly be something to take note of throughout the season.
Rick Pitino Takes Aim At The Influence Nike Has On Recruiting
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino expressed his dissatisfaction with the way brands have affected the way college teams are able to recruit today. Pitino took aim specifically at Nike, which reportedly was connected to Antonio Blakeney’s decision to rescind his commitment to Louisville.
Per Mike Hughes of the Louisville Insider:
“I think we need to deal with,” Pitino said Thursday. “What I personally don’t like is I can’t recruit a kid because he wears Nike on the AAU circuit. I’ve never heard of such a thing but it’s happening in our world. I never thought that shoes would be the reason that you recruit players but it’s a factor.
“I think we need to get the shoe companies out of the lives of the athletes. I think we need to get it back to where parents and coaches have more of a say than peripheral people, but that’s easier said than done.”
Shoe companies like Nike line the pockets of universities and the coaches at those universities, which makes significant reform all but impossible.
“Nobody wants to talk about it because it’s money-related,” Pitino said. “University of Louisville makes a lot of money from adidas, and other schools. But I think it needs to be cleaned up.”
Athletes compete year round these days playing for AAU teams that are sponsored by major brands such as Nike. While it would be hard to say that Nike or any other company is directly influencing recruits in deciding what teams they commit to, it is more than just a coincidence in where prospects are electing to go. Pitino’s statements will surely warrant a closer look into this moving forward as it could capture the attention of the NCAA as a whole in the future.
Other News Around The NBA:
- Former number two overall pick in the 2008 draft Michael Beasley has opted to play overseas in China for the upcoming season. Beasley spent last season playing for the Miami Heat. According to Adrian Wojanorowski of Yahoo Sports: Michael Beasley has left the Memphis Grizzlies’ training camp and signed a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the China Basketball Association, agent Jared Karnes told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. Beasley had come to the Grizzlies’ camp on a non-guaranteed deal and his chances of making the opening night roster were still uncertain. The opportunity to accept a lucrative one-year deal with Shanghai proved too difficult to pass on. Beasley hadn’t been well enough to travel with Memphis on its current two-game preseason road trip, and as one team official said, “That was going to make it much harder for him to make the team.” Once the CBA season ends in March, Beasley will be free to sign with an NBA team.
- Portland Trail Blazers center Chris Kaman has a reality web series coming out called “Exploring Kaman.” The series appears to be a comedic take on Kaman’s offseason activities that gives you a glimpse into the players personal life. You can view the trailer for the series over at the official website.
- Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Mitch McGary will miss some time due to injury in an announcement made to the Associated Press on Thursday: Oklahoma City Thunder rookie forward Mitch McGary has a broken bone in his left foot and is expected to miss about six weeks.The Thunder said an evaluation Thursday confirmed McGary fractured his left second metatarsal Wednesday night in an exhibition game at Denver.
Esau Howard is a regular contributor to Sheridan Hoops. You can follow him on Twitter.