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ESPN West Palm Team Tackles Big 3 Questions about Heat, free agency, Melo

Jun 30, 2014 -- 6:40pm

While the Big Three are mulling their futures, we at ESPN West Palm have compiled our Big Three: The three biggest questions surrounding LeBron James and company.

We asked several of our ESPN West Palm personalities to answer our “Big Three” questions. The responses are below:

Photo: ESPN.com

Question # 1: Where will LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh be playing next year?

Josh Cohen – Host of Josh Cohen & HomeTeam (12-2 PM):  All three will be playing in Miami, although I can foresee an attractive situation for Bosh to head to Washington, and join the Generals as the nightly foil to those dastardly Globetrotters of Harlem, NY.

John Martin – Co-Host of Josh Cohen & HomeTeam (12-2 PM): They will all still be on South Beach.

Joe Colella – Producer, Josh Cohen & HomeTeam (12-2 PM): Miami, and I thought so even before they all opted out of their contracts. The Heat front office, plus the lack of state income tax (and living in south Florida) are all huge reasons to stay with this organization. They'll make it work.

Evan Cohen – Host (4-6 PM): Miami

Stephanie Prince – Top 5 at 5 Personality (4-6 PM): Miami

Brian Rowitz – Producer (4-6 PM): All three will be keeping their talents in South Beach. Despite four straight trips to the Finals I do think they have a lot to prove because of the two losses. Them leaving money on the table will allow Riley to add the pieces needed for another NBA title.

JMP – Host of ESPN West Palm Tonight (6-7 PM): Too much has happened according to plan to think the Big Three are anywhere else but 601 Biscayne Boulevard.

Joe Girvan – Anchor, ESPN 106.3 on WPTV: Miami.  Great place to live, no state income tax, and an easy path to the NBA Finals through the weak Eastern Conference.  Four-straight trips to the Finals with two titles is a dynasty in the making. 

Steve Politziner – GM, ESPN West Palm: The Miami Heat

Chris Kokell – Heat Reporter: Boring answer but they will all be back. Watch out for LBJ to have a few opt outs though.

Pratik Patel – Heat Reporter: In Miami. I said from the start that they weren’t going anywhere and Wade opting out, to me, was the biggest sign of that. Bosh, who’s sacrificed the most by coming to Miami, seems to be the most onboard with the plan. No worries on my end.

Wells Dusenbury – ESPN West Palm Reporter: With all three opting out and at least some of them open to signing for less money, I think James, Wade and Bosh are all back in Miami next year.

Photo: ESPN.com

Question #2: The biggest addition to the Miami Heat will be …..?

Josh Cohen: The "biggest addition" will prove to be Shabazz Napier who will make the transition to the Association by March of next year. There may be bigger existing names coming to town, but none will prove to be as integral an addition to on-court play as will the first round pick once he learns how to become a professional. 

John Martin: Shabazz Napier.

Joe Colella: This one, I'm curious about. You wonder where Riley thinks their big needs are. I think they need to get younger on the wing behind LBJ/Wade. But the name that intrigued me the most, former Magic and Suns center Marcin Gortat. Great fit at a position of need.

Evan Cohen:  Dwyane Wade. May seem like a cop out answer but I believe he will be motivated by all the critics and have a big bounce back year next year. Even if Carmelo Anthony, Kyle Lowry or any other contributor like Pau Gasol that comes to the Heat, Wade’s improvement will be the biggest addition to the Heat.

Stephanie Prince: Lebron James---Editor’s Note: Someone may want to tell Steph that LeBron was on the Heat!

Brian Rowitz: Kyle Lowry. Just having somebody else contribute 15 points-per-game will help the team take some pressure off the Big Three. Despite the beatdown from the Spurs this team is still the best in the East and could take care of some of the top teams in the West in a best-of-seven series.

JMP: Carmelo Anthony. I don’t think it’s the best fit, or makes the most sense. But I’m not sure I could see LeBron/Wade/Bosh opting-out for Kyle Lowry, or Marcin Gortat. I think the players are calling the shots, and they want their buddy in South Beach.

Joe Girvan: Kyle Lowry.  The Spurs exposed many flaws, including Miami's lack of a quality point guard.  First-round pick Shabazz Napier may be part of the answer.  Lowry would definitely help.

Steve Politziner: Kyle Lowry.

Chris Kokell: Miami should jump in on Pau Gasol. Also, Erik Spoelstra spoke very highly of Shaun Livingston. He'd be a nice piece.

Pratik Patel: Rather than ‘Melo or Lowry, Miami would be better off filling needs by adding a shooter like Anthony Morrow or a true big like Emeka Okafor, Marcin Gortat or even Chris Kaman (adding to their ’03 Draft Class Collection). Also look out for Eric Bledsoe, Shaun Livingston or Mo Williams.

Wells Dusenbury: Kyle Lowry probably makes the most sense of the available free agents. Miami needs another point guard and the Heat should be able to sign him at a reasonable price. 

Photo: ESPN.com

Question #3: Where will Carmelo Anthony play next year?

Josh Cohen:Carmelo Anthony will be playing in many cities this season, including MIAMI!!! In which city will he be playing his HOME games is a very different question. I believe he will become a Chicago Bull, when it is all said and done. 

John Martin: My gut is sizable and it's telling me the Lakers.

Joe Colella: The Knicks fan in me wants ‘Melo...in Chicago. The Bulls are ideal for his talents (they need scoring and provide defense and energy behind him). And selfishly, New York needs to just hit rock bottom. Leave the thin crust for deep dish, Melo. Even if it's not really "pizza".

Evan Cohen: Miami.

Stephanie Prince: Wherever he makes the most money.

Brian Rowitz: Chicago. Anybody who says Miami isn’t crazy because you can’t doubt Pat Riley but I don’t know if Melo really fills some of the Heat’s biggest holes. Melo will help Chicago immediately be the clear cut #2 team in the East and them and the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals could be fun.

JMP: Never gets old for this Heat homer to answer questions this way: 601 Biscayne Boulevard. Hello, Fab 4!

Joe Girvan:New York.  As a fan of the NBA, I'd love to see him team up with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in Chicago, but the Big Apple and a max contract will be too much for Melo to turn down.

Steve Politziner: The Knicks

Chris Kokell: Carmelo will stay on the playoff bound Knicks as they build for two years from now. #Knickstape

Pratik Patel: Chicago. He’s what they need. In so many ways, they are what he needs. He’ll be part of an elite defense. He’ll be in title contention without “riding LeBron’s coattails.” And most importantly, he’ll still get to jack up 20 shots on any given night.

Wells Dusenbury: Even with the Big Three taking pay cuts, I don't see a way financially that ‘Melo ends up in Miami. I'll go with Chicago as his next landing spot.

Pat Riley's statement on LeBron James opt-out

Jun 24, 2014 -- 1:29pm

Miami Heat President Pat Riley's statement on LeBron James decision to opt out of his contract (via team):

“I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise. As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency and when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options. The last four seasons have been historic and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra have led the Miami HEAT to one of the most unprecedented runs in the history of the NBA. We look forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together. At the moment, we are preparing for the opportunities in the Draft and Free Agency as we continue with our goal of winning NBA Championships.”

Drake NOT Denied?

May 22, 2014 -- 12:49pm

Last year the Miami Heat knocked off the San Antonio Spurs to pick up their 2nd straight NBA title. The 7 game battle was the talk of the sports world until this happened postgame:

Drake Denied took over the internet as the music star had trouble getting access into the Heat championship locker room.

ESPN West Palm happened to catch this rather embaressing moment for Drizzy so we want to make it up to him. Should we move forward and officially make Drake “media?”

 

AUDIO: Eastern Quarterfinals, Game 1 -- Heat 99, Bobcats 88

Apr 20, 2014 -- 7:41pm

The Miami Heat took a 1-0 series lead as they defeated the Bobcats at home in Game 1 of their first-round matchup. This marked the 17th consective win for Miami over Charlotte, holding true the Heat's undefeated status over their division foe during the Big 3 Era. 

Four-time MVP LeBron James led the way with 27 points and also added nine rebounds. James moved ahead of Larry Bird into eighth place on the NBA all-time postseason scoring list. Dwyane Wade poured in 23 on 10-of-16 shooting to go along with a team-high five assists. Chris Andersen was a staggering +28 off of the bench as he scored eight and grabbed a game-high ten rebounds. 

James Jones, who averaged less than five points per game this season in 20 games played, provided a much-needed spark that put the Heat ahead for good. Jones re-entered the game as his Heat trailed 52-51 with 7:50 left in the third quarter. From that moment until he came back out shortly after the start of the fourth quarter, Jones shot 3-4 for eight points and a rebound. During his eight-minute stretch of playing time, the Heat outscored the Bobcats 26-17 and that eight-point difference marked the smallest lead the Heat held for the remainder of the contest.

For Charlotte, Al Jefferson was a dominating force, starting out 4-4 with eight points. Jefferson then limped to the locker room at the two-minute mark of the first period with what turned out to be a strained plantar fascia. Despite returning, he was clearly affected and was in constant pain for the rest of the game, but Jefferson still finished the game with 18 points and ten rebounds. Point guard Kemba Walker led the team in scoring with 20 points and also added five rebounds and six assists.

ESPN 106.3 was with both teams after Miami's win. Click on the links below to hear what either side had to say about the game:

Miami Heat:

HC Erik Spoelstra (AUDIO)

LeBron James (AUDIO)

Dwyane Wade (AUDIO)

Chris Bosh (AUDIO)

James Jones (AUDIO)

 

Charlotte Bobcats:

HC Steve Clifford (AUDIO)

Al Jefferson (AUDIO)

AUDIO: Heat 93, Raptors 83

Mar 31, 2014 -- 11:14pm

After losing eight of thirteen contests over a three-week span, the Miami Heat now have three consecutive wins, the latest a 93-83 installment over the Toronto Raptors. Miami's storied dominance over Toronto continues as the Heat have now won 15 straight games over the Raptors, including four straight season series sweeps.

Miami was without guards Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen as well as big man Greg Oden. LeBron James, as expected, was able to shoulder the load. The four-time NBA MVP finished with 32 points on 20 shots to go along with seven rebounds and eight assists. The output marked James's 565th consecutive game with double-digit scoring, good for the fourth-longest streak in NBA history and just ten games shy of the third-longest (Karl Malone).

Chris Bosh scored 18 points but missed all four of his three-point attempts. Chris Andersen added 13 by way of a perfect five-for-five shooting night with seven rebounds and two blocks. 

The Raptors are currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference, despite the lack of attention they receive. Twelve different players played for Toronto and five finished with double-digit scoring. Center Jonas Valanciunas logged his team-leading 21st double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Miami's victory, coupled with yet another Indiana loss (the Pacers' fourth in a row and sixth in their last eight games), moves the Heat into the top spot in the Eastern Conference which, if held until the end of the regular season, guarantees them home-court advantage through at least the Eastern Conference Finals. 

ESPN 106.3 was with the Heat after their 93-83 win over Toronto. Click on the links below to hear what they had to say about the game:

 

Erik Spoelstra (AUDIO)

LeBron James (AUDIO)

Chris Bosh (AUDIO)

AUDIO: Heat 93, Bulls 79

Feb 23, 2014 -- 7:21pm

The Miami Heat returned home after a 20-day road trip that included five wins, one loss and an NBA All-Star weekend. The Heat treated their home crowd to a 93-79 victory over their conference rival in the Chicago Bulls. Four-time MVP LeBron James was ruled out of the game due to a broken nose that he suffered in Miami's win over the Thunder on Thursday. Big man Greg Oden would get the nod in his place. Oden, who has not started an NBA game since December of 2009, finished with five points, five rebounds and two fouls in just under 13 minutes. 

The team was led by strong performances from the two active members of the Big Three. Forward Chris Bosh scored 28 points, including a career-high nine three-point attempts, and grabbed ten rebounds as well. Dwyane Wade nearly had a triple-double with 23 points, ten boards and seven assists.

ESPN 106.3 was with the Heat after the game. Click the links below to hear what they had to say following the win:

Head Coach Erik Spoelstra (AUDIO)

Guard Dwyane Wade (AUDIO)

Forward Chris Bosh (AUDIO)

Center Greg Oden (AUDIO)

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