It looks like Dwyane Wade is staying put…

…assuming Pat Riley can get him some help. Here’s what he had to say after the Heat’s loss to the Celtics in Game 5, per TrueHoop

“I’m looking forward to a good team to build, and being with some great players next year, and to continue to beef up our roster,” Wade said.

Notice his use of the pronoun “our.”

And also note that at no point did Wade ever expressly state a desire to head elsewhere. But he did place the onus on Pat Riley to make things happen over the summer.

“I’m not putting no pressure on myself. I think I put myself in a great situation three years ago to sign this deal to make sure that my team stays competitive. We’ve got some work to do, the front office has to do it, and there’s no pressure on me,” Wade said. “I’ve said where my heart is, and I think any player that’s thinking about wanting to come to Miami, they know where my heart is. You just have to see things being done and accomplished.

“We see that, and we’ll be talking again.”

I don’t see Wade leaving town at this point. After the Heat played pretty well over the last half of the season, he started talking about how Miami is where his heart is and that it’s the Heat’s gig to lose, and since the franchise is in a great position to add talent this offseason, he’s a good bet to stay put.

Michael Beasley, on the other hand, appears to be on the outs. He was benched for the entire second half of Game 5, and looks to be expendable heading into the offseason. This opens up another possibility that was seemingly closed a few months ago — the signing/acquisition of Carlos Boozer, who was once considered “too similar” to Beasley.

So if the Heat strike out on LeBron James and/or Chris Bosh, Boozer and/or Amare Stoudemire would be a good backup plan. I think either player would convince Wade to stay put.

With $42 million in cap space, the Heat are basically a blank slate. If they were able to move Beasley and his salary ($5 million), they would almost have enough to sign three max free agents. The problem is that the top guys all seem to play power forward or shooting guard. However, the Heat could have enough to add Rudy Gay and Bosh/Stoudemire/Boozer, or even David Lee.

If I were Pat Riley, I’d be in constant communication with Wade to see which players he’d most like to play with. By having his buy in, you would ensure that he’s happy with the players you’re bringing in. I wonder if Riley’s ego is too big for that…


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Knicks trading for Tyrus Thomas?

According to Adrian Wojnarowski

Several sources believe the Bulls are agreeable to a package of Thomas and Jerome James(notes) for Knicks forward Al Harrington(notes). Thus far, Walsh has resisted parting with Harrington, but discussions are still active and the teams have explored different combinations in recent days that would ultimately deliver Thomas to the Knicks.

Intuitively, this deal makes some sense. The Bulls are going to have to shed some salary in order to have enough cap space to offer a max contract to someone like Dwyane Wade, LeBron James or Chris Bosh, and Thomas’s name is the one that most often comes up since he’s nearing the end of his rookie contract. The Bulls would need to give up their rights to Thomas (or hope that John Salmons exercises an early termination on the final year of his contract) to have enough cap space to offer a max contract. Jerome James is only included to make the numbers work since both teams are over the cap.

For the Knicks, Thomas would be another piece to the puzzle, though he would eat into the team’s projected cap space. Right now, assuming a cap of $50 million, the Knicks would have roughly $23 million to spend, which is enough for one max contract, but not two. A trade for Thomas would reduce that cap space to $16-$17 million, so they would add a talented up-and-comer (who looks to be a perfect fit at power forward in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system) and still be able to sign LeBron or Wade (or some other big-name free agent). All at the expense of Al Harrington, whom the Knicks aren’t going to re-sign anyway.

Another angle on this deal is that the Knicks are essentially assisting the Bulls in becoming a competitor for LeBron and Wade next summer. However, the Bulls could simply hold onto Thomas and let him become a free agent next summer, so the upside for the Knicks is that they get the rights to Thomas knowing that the Bulls are going to be a competitor anyway. By trading for Harrington, the Bulls’ prospects for this season would improve. So since they’re probably going to lose Thomas anyway, they might as well improve in the short-term.

One the Knicks have to consider is the chances that they can move either Eddy Curry or Jared Jeffries. If they’re able to unload one of those players for expiring salary, they would have enough cap space to offer two max contracts next summer, so LeBron/Bosh or LeBron/Amare suddenly becomes a possibility. The likelihood of the Knicks moving either player seems slim, unless they are willing to give up David Lee or Danilo Gallinari in the deal.


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Chris Bosh doesn’t like winter (or losing)

We knew this was coming eventually. We weren’t sure which soon-to-be free agent would be the first one to crack (Bosh? Stoudemire? Joe Johnson?), but the smart money was on Bosh since it has been some time since the Raptors were part of the East’s elite. The team is off to a 7-13 start, punctuated by last night’s 146-115 loss to the Hawks.

Per the Toronto Star:

“The defensive effort hasn’t been there for a while. We didn’t magically appear last on the charts defensively,” said Chris Bosh. “I mean, tonight was just a total embarrassment. We couldn’t stop anybody. We haven’t stopped anybody all year.”

It’s nice that he’s using the term “we” there, but Bosh has a reputation for being a pretty good defender, and the guys around him — Jose Calderon, Hedo Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani — are far more offensive-minded.

Then there’s this bit of info from the Miami Herald

Not only will the Heat’s chances of signing Chris Bosh next summer be helped if the Raptors keep struggling, but a former Raptors official said Bosh doesn’t like Toronto’s cold winters. Bosh isn’t keen on playing in his native Texas but has said the Heat “seems to be an attractive place, playing with Dwyane Wade and playing in Miami.”

If the Raptors keep playing sub-.500 ball, there’s a great chance that Bosh lands in Miami next year. If that happens, Dwyane Wade is almost sure to re-sign, and the Heat will once again join the East’s elite.


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