The NBA is back. Or at least, the players are back on the team’s courts.
On Thursday, Heat players worked out at the Miami Heat’s practice facility at AmericanAirlines Arena on Thursday for the first time since June when they fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2010-11 NBA Finals. Honestly, it's been about five months since we last saw these guys player here, but the lockout made it feel like five years.
All in all, six players showed up to the Heat practice facility including Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Juwan Howard, James Jones and Dexter Pittman. No, there was no signs of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but are both expected to join their teammates sometime in the coming days. Thursday's Big Three consisted of Bosh, Haslem and Jones as the trio took the court in front of the media.
The big news that blindsided everyone in the gym was that Mike Miller was going to be out eight weeks after recent hernia surgery. Udonis Haslem also laughed off the rumors around the basketball world that he was going to be packaged to Denver for Nene. Here are some other tidbits from the day:
Lot of anticipation to see if Chris Bosh put on noticeable weight in the offseason. Can he help out at center? Is he going to play stronger in the post? Those were the questions from reporters before entering the gym. Many of the media members threw around the weight-gain number at 15 pounds, but after seeing him put him shots today in person, I'm guessing it's closer to 10 pounds. It's noticeable, but let's just say that the only way the Heat can get a Nene-sized big man is if they actually acquire him. Bosh isn't there yet, folks. See for yourself above or here.
Good to see James Jones back on the floor after he suffered a broken toe in the playoffs last season. He looked fine on the court, but you couldn't help but notice that he wasn't wearing Heat garb on the court. Bosh and Haslem both wore short and tees with Heat logo prints, but in symbolic fashion, Jones wore some generic work out clothes from Adidas. Jones, a Miami native, is a free agent and told reporters that there was a "50/50" chance that he rejoins the Heat soon. As a treasurer for the players union, he can't seem to get that 50/50 split figure out of his mind.
As far as notable events in a workout go, Udonis Haslem drilling 10 jumpers from the top of the key was pretty earth-shattering. News! But he looked 100 percent out on the floor and admitted as much. One byproduct of the lockout is that guys like Haslem haven't run in full-court games in months. Haslem was sidelined anyway for a few months because of foot surgery and literally walked the sidelines as LeBron's coach in the South Florida All-Star Classic. That said, he maintains that conditioning won't be a problem, saying, "Did you see how quickly I got back in the Finals?"
Udonis Haslem explained why he cut his cornrows. "It was just a lot of maintenance," Haslem said as he combed his hand through his hair. "It was hard, two to three hours in a chair, once a week, travel schedule. This is a little easier to maintain." Then a smile came to his face. "Nothing's changed. I just want you guys to understand that I'm probably still going to use the same amount of profanity out there. Same number of technical fouls."
Joel Anthony showed up after Thursday's Big Three left the court. He didn't speak with the media, but considering how much of a gym rat he is, I was stunned not to see him out there on the court with the others.
Dexter Pittman spoke briefly to the media and said he has lost 50 pounds since being drafted last season. As a big man on the roster, he has taken it personally when people claim that the Heat lack inside presence, calling it "a slap in the face." Pittman thinks very, very highly of his teammate Joel Anthony. "We're big guys. You saw what Joel Anthony did. He altered a lot of shots and blocked a lot of shots. He was one of the best players in the NBA last year." Well, maybe not.