See You Tonight, Cleveland Cavaliers

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Is it Christmas Eve? No? Well it sure feels like it given that the Miami Heat are taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight!

So the rivalry may not be as intense as it was last year, but trust me, this matchup will still be a blast to watch.

Last season the two teams split the series 2-2, after the Heat lost twice on the road. Hopefully tonight the boys from South Beach can start a new trend by beating LeBron James and company in their own house.

And with James’ back still acting up, and both Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert out, Miami has a very good chance of doing just that.

Coming off of an 104-94 win against the Charlotte Hornets, the Heat proved their naysayers wrong regarding the topic of both three-point shooting and ball movement.

Not only did the team shoot 60 percent from beyond-the-arc, but they totaled 26 assists across nine players.

Chris Bosh led the newly revamped squad with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, with Dwyane Wade ending the night with 20 points and 5 assists.

Gerald Green also started the year off with a bang; the newcomer scored 19 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting.

For Miami to be successful tonight, they need to do three things.

First, keep being confident in their game.

Obviously taking on an opponent such as the Hornets is a whole different story than going against the Cavaliers, but the Heat need to remember how much talent they truly have this time around.

This includes the likes of Hassan Whiteside, who had a terrible first game, shaking off the past and putting everything on the line.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra also needs to keep utilizing his plethora of rotations. Because it is still early in the season and lineups have yet to be finalized, Spoelstra needs to continue using various combinations in order to get the most out of his players.

Lastly, Miami needs to focus on a defensive mindset. Regardless of the season having only begun, it is clear to see this group of guys are an offensive powerhouse. However, neither the organization nor the players individually are really known for their defense. And when playing teams like Cleveland, that needs to change.

Who do you all have winning tonight?

Check out the competition at 7 PM (ET) on ESPN.

Welcome To The 2015-2016 NBA Season

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The 2015-2016 NBA Season is FINALLY here!

Last night, the year kicked off with the Detroit Pistons coming up 106-94 over the Atlanta Hawks, the Chicago Bulls sneaking slightly past the Cleveland Cavaliers, 97-95, and the reigning champions (Golden State Warriors) outworking the New Orleans Pelicans, 111-95.

There are 14 games on the slate tonight, including the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves, but most importantly: the Miami Heat will take on the Charlotte Hornets at the AmericanAirlines Arena, for their first game of the new season.

2014-2015 was what one could call a total disaster for Miami; from LeBron James announcing his departure in the summer, to Chris Bosh sitting out half the season with blood clots in his lung, it was one crisis after another. There were high-points of course, such as Hassan Whiteside’s blossoming talent, and signing Goran Dragic, but I think it’s safe to say that overall, Heat Nation would like to forget last year for good.

The good news is, Pat Riley and company went to work during this offseason.

Between re-signing both Dragic and Dwyane Wade, drafting Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson, and bringing aboard the likes of Gerald Green and Amar’e Stoudemire…things are about to get exciting.

While some may still be skeptical of this Eastern Conference team, saying they look better on paper than can be translated into reality, Heat fans are all in.

Generally speaking, not much can (or should) be taken away from preseason…and yet, seeing the guys back on the court only reminded me of what is to come.

This will be the first time Dragic and Bosh get to play alongside one another.

Dragic and Stoudemire will reunite from their days playing together in Phoenix.

Whiteside has only further developed.

Green is already on the radar for Sixth Man of the Year.

Should I go on?

Catch tonight’s matchup on a free trial of NBA League Pass, at 7:30 PM (ET).

And get ready Heat Nation, this season is ours.

Heated Topics: Free Agency Begins

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As the clock struck midnight on July 1, another summer of NBA free agency came upon us. And while there is still plenty of time for players to sign and re-sign contracts, some deals have already gone through.

In fact, big news hit Miami Heat fans before the free-for-all even began. While forward Luol Deng decided to opt in, Dwyane Wade finally broke the news that Heat Nation was waiting to hear for months: he would opt out of his current contract with Miami and become a free agent.

That last bit of information may have stung, especially after getting to rejoice drafting Justise Winslow and applauding Deng for sticking around, but since then there has been redemption.

It was just announced this morning that Goran Dragic will indeed re-sign with the Heat, on a 5-year, $90 million contract. And as if that was not good news enough, by not taking as much money as expected, Miami has room to better entice Wade into staying.

In terms of other free agency news, here are some of the bigger stories that have recently broke out…

*Damian Lillard nears $120 million extension with the Portland Trailblazers

*Al-Farouq Aminu agrees to 4-year, $30 million deal with the Trailblazers

*Kawhi Leonard stays with the San Antonio Spurs on a 5-year, $90 million deal

*Mike Dunleavy agrees to a 3-year, $14.4 million deal in order to stay with the Chicago Bulls

*Anthony Davis takes a 5-year, $145 million extension to remain with the New Orleans Pelicans

*Danny Green signs a 4-year, $45 million deal to stay with the San Antonio Spurs

Ah, to be a professional athlete…

Mario Chalmers Undergoes Knee Surgery

To continue the trend of injuries, Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers underwent knee surgery last Friday.

Chalmers, who averaged 10.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists this season, had an arthroscopic procedure, in order to fix an inflamed Plica in his knee.

Although the surgery was only 20-minutes long and fairly routine, Chalmers still has a ways to go before he can get back on the court.

However, he is expected to make a full recovery and be back in time for training camp in the fall.

Dwyane Wade: Leaving Miami?

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In probably the most shocking twist of events for the Miami Heat thus far (and they have had one heck of a season), guard Dwyane Wade may not end up being a Heat lifer after all.

According to various reports, Wade and the Miami organization have reached an impasse regarding his future contract.

Last year, instead of taking his guaranteed $41.6 million, he opted out of his final two years and agreed to a new two-year, $31 million deal. This included a player option for next season, for $16.1 million.

Wade also alluded to testing out the negation-waters in 2016, when the team salary cap is expected to rise from $67 million to $89; therefore, many people believed the superstar would opt-in this summer.

However, now it appears as though he will be opting out.

Rumor has it that the 33-year-old is looking for a max, 3-year contract. And although he would like it to be with the Heat (he has called South Beach home for the last 12 years), he is open to looking elsewhere if an agreement cannot be reached.

There is no question that Wade has given his all to Miami. From helping win the championship in 2006, to bringing over LeBron James and Chris Bosh, the veteran should have no problem getting whatever he wants. But unfortunately, things are not so simple.

The Heat are currently looking to re-sign Goran Dragic (who too, has expressed desire to stick around). Couple that with the likelihood that Hassan Whiteside will expect an impressive payday, Bosh’s approximate $23.6 million a year and McRoberts’ owed $5.8 million and well…Miami no longer has any room to revamp the team.

On top of financial issues, there is also Wade’s health to keep in mind. Although he showed glimpses of “Flash” last season ,and has been keeping in shape this summer, there are still concerns. Besides just his age (I mean, Ray Allen anyone?), Wade has reoccurring injuries. And while they may not be career, or even season-ending, they bring about inconsistency. The Heat may not want to put everything on the line for a guy that physically cannot bring his A-game, every night.

If you ask me, the solution to all this would be giving him a fortune for one year, and reevaluating the situation after that. This way, Wade is the highest paid player on the roster (as deserved), but has not taken away Miami’s financial wiggle room.

Wade has until late June to figure out if he will opt out of his player option for this upcoming season. After all Heat Nation has been through this year, we can only pray that this matter is resolved in such a way that brings Wade back.

Shabazz Napier Out For The Season

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Because the Miami Heat have not suffered enough setbacks so far this season, it has just been announced that rookie point guard Shabazz Napier will be out for the remainder of the year. According to sources, Shabazz had a successful operation on a sports hernia Wednesday morning.

Although Napier has spent most of his time on the bench this season (and did a short stint in the D-League via the Sioux Falls Skyforce), moving forward the Heat would still benefit from having as many bodies on deck as possible.

Another Injury Looming For The Miami Heat?

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The 2014-2015 season has been, for lack of a better term, a hot mess for the Miami Heat. Obviously LeBron James set the pace when he announced he was headed back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but since then the team has been plagued with seemingly never ending injuries. Fortunately only one so far has been serious, with Chris Bosh’s season being cut short due to blood clots in his lung, and he is thankfully expected to make a full recovery. But even so, the Heat just cannot seem to catch a break. Miami’s newest addition himself, Goran Dragic, who was only acquired by the team right before the NBA trade deadline, has already suffered from back spasms.

Last week, blossoming superstar Hassan Whiteside cut his hand on the rim, and it is being said that it will take at least two weeks for his gash to fully heal. While I do not suspect that he will be out for that entire time, he will certainly miss a couple of games. And even when he does decide to come back, will not be able to reach his full potential for a while.

But of course, the story does not end there. Hassan’s backup, Chris Andersen, is also out with a bruised calf. And while some thought that perhaps the Heat would pick up an additional player (like JaVale McGee), it seems as though they are sticking with their original squad. So it may be up to Michael Beasley to hold things down for a while.

And there is more. Recently, Dwyane Wade spoke out about the potential need to get fluid from his knee drained; something that during a normal season may not be a big deal, but currently would set Miami even further back than they already are.

Wade played 22 minutes on Friday night, in a loss against the Atlanta Hawks, and was not able to accomplish much. There is talk of head coach Erik Spoelstra sitting the guard in this afternoon’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons, in hopes of having him available and in better shape, for longer down the line.

Whether or not Wade will get his knee drained is still up in the air, but regardless, his physical condition at the present time is certainly bad news for the Heat. As of Sunday, Miami stands at the seventh seed, with the Boston Celtics close behind them. For the boys in South Beach, the playoff push is real.

When will the injuries end? I wish I could tell you. But I can only hope the answer to that is very soon.