As the Heat's coaching staff wraps up the final written stages of its player evaluations from the season, figured we'd check in with you on an update or two from the roster.
Jermaine O'Neal- He's recovered from the concussion symptoms that sidelined him for the final games of the first-round series loss against the Hawks. J.O. has been cleared to resume workouts, but, like most players, will take a couple of more weeks off before he starts his offseason program. Jermaine still has plans to split the summer working out with the noted trainer Tim Grover in Chicago and Joe Abunassar in Las Vegas to regain strength in his knees and legs. Apparently, O'Neal's knee problems were a bit more serious when he arrived in the trade than everyone let on. Pat Riley even admitted that O'Neal had to have the knee drain three times in the final two months of the season.
The Heat plans to monitor O'Neal's workouts closely, either by sending staffers with him when he goes out of town or by offering to bring O'Neal's outside specialists to Miami. The approach will be similar to last summer, when Dwyane Wade chose to work out away from Miami (but under Heat supervision). The hope is that O'Neal's results are as rejuvenating as they were for Wade.
Udonis Haslem- No major updates and development here. But internal reports are that Haslem won't require any medical procedure for his back. Haslem sustained a severe bruise midway through the season and played the final three months with spasms. He feared he might need to have some form of surgery or procedure, but those fears were erased after the season. He was told rest was all he'd need, and has been instructed to stay as far away from a basketball gym and associated activities as much as possible for about a month. Word is Haslem's focus and tolerance level for pain are unlike any other player that has come through the franchise.
Luther Head- The free agent guard is scheduled to have the cast removed from his left hand by the end of this week. Head missed the final month of the season after he broke a bone in his hand while reaching in against Dwight Howard during a March game against the Magic. Had the Heat advanced past the first round, Head and the team likely would have taken a more aggressive approach with his rehab and cast removal. But after the first-round exit, there was really no reason to rush it. Head would still like to stay with the Heat, but said he understands the "wait-and-see" approach the Heat takes with its own free agents at the initial stages of the offseason.
Daequan Cook- The shoulder problems that slowed Daequan Cook toward the end of the season were considered muscle strains that would improve with rest. The time off he will get before he resumes an intense off-season workout regimen with several other teammates should allow enough time for him to heal. Cook was discouraged and confused about his shoulder problems, especially in light of what happened last summer when he jammed a shoulder during offseason drills. That injury kept him out of the initial stages of the offseason program and summer league last season. He simply hopes it's not a chronic situation and plans to report back to Miami early next month healthy and ready to go. Also, Cook recently was the guest speaker at graduation ceremonies for a drug treatment program in his native Dayton, Ohio. Cook told a group of young graduates to be careful about the choices they make in the future and also told the story of how one of his grandmothers died from an apparent overdose.
Jamaal Magloire- Big Cat just wants to set the record straight one more time. "I love it here and would like to come back and finish what we started," Magloire, the free-agent center, said before he made plans to spend a few weeks back home in Toronto. Once O'Neal arrived in the trade, Magloire soon settled into his role as a productive backup who provided energy, rebounding and a general pounding in limited minutes. Magloire, a former All-Star, knows he's well beyond his prime. But he also knows he's tired of bouncing around the league at this stage of his career and is willing to accept another modest contract. He would prefer two years, but also understands the year-to-year approach Pat Riley is taking.
Also, as the focus shifts toward preparing for the draft (Miami has two late second-round picks - for now), there also is an eagerness from the coaching staff to get started on the offseason program that will target Cook, Mario Chalmers, Dorell Wright, Michael Beasley and, to an extent, O'Neal. Part of the plan, as Riley mentioned in his postseason exit session comments a few weeks ago, will include what might amount to scrimmage sessions against players from other teams who are in their own offseason programs. The workouts could include twice-daily sessions, with the mornings set aside exclusively for conditioning and fundamental work, with the evening set up for on-court team development.
One final note, Wade and Alonzo Mourning have scheduled a press conference later this week to talk about this year's "The Summer Groove (my bad, I first had Grove by mistake)." Notice that no one's name is listed in front of the event. It will be the first time Zo's name hasn't been out front since he started it a dozen years ago. It's all part of the plan for Zo and Wade to sort of co-market the event, with Zo still maintaining a heavy role in the successful charity efforts. It is officially called The Summer Groove, hosted by Zo and D. Wade.
A couple good notes. Hope JO comes back in better shape & healthier... and that Daequan finds his shot and works on getting to the basket. Dorrell is a longshot... but if Riley is not intending to re-sign Moon, we need him to step up. I liked what I saw from Head for the few games he played... he may be the leading candidate for backup PG next season.
Moon, & Anthony are restricted free agents, meaning that teams can sign them to a contract, but if we want to we can match it & keep that player.
I expect Moon to sign with someone for about $4 mill, & for 4/5 years, & Pat not matching it.
I don't think he will get that much. I'm thinking more about a team picking up Moon for the low-level exemption... around $1.9M for 3 years... and Pat still not matching (because that much would push us into luxury).
But as I said, being that we have Dorrell locked into a guaranteed contract... Riley's "suddenly inspired confidence" in Dorrell as the "most talented natural SF", and even him commenting on being wary of Moon potentially pushing them into luxury... I don't think he will be back. But I hope I'm wrong.
Anthony is a restricted FA, and I don't think any other team will offer him more than the minimum offer, but still there are just better "project" Centers out there. So I don't think he will be back.