Q. What’s the next step? Wyc Grousbeck. What we’ll do over the next month is determine if there’s anything we can do in February [prior to the trade deadline] to advance the team to a new level. But when I look at the team right now, I feel really good about their character, really good about their skill, really good about the upside over the next 5-6 years, with young players and the draft. I feel overall confident and excited we can make some noise over the next 5-6 years with this core group, adding on when we can. But this season still does feel like a work in progress, and it feels like we’ve got a long way to go if we want to make some noise in May again, or even in June.
February 18, 2019 | 9:07 pm EST Update
Dwyane Wade had a very special person following him around during his final All-Star Weekend. It’s the same person who was with Wade at his introductory press conference with the South Florida media in 2003. The 37-year-old Wade was 21 when he was drafted by the Heat. His 17-year-old son, Zaire, was just a 1-year-old at the time. And 16 years after Wade’s introductory press conference, Zaire was right by his side just like when Wade’s NBA career began. Almost everywhere Wade went in Charlotte during his final All-Star Weekend before retiring at the end of the season, Zaire was with him.
“A lot of people asked me about this weekend and what I was looking forward to, I was looking forward to sharing this with my son,” Wade said, with the Heat resuming practice Wednesday before beginning its post-break schedule on Thursday against the 76ers. “I didn’t mean no disrespect to my other kids or my wife or my mom or anybody, but me and Zaire started this thing together. I was a 19-year-old father. To be able to be here at 37 and have my 17-year-old son be here, and really understand what’s going and be very close to his next level after high school coming soon. I wanted to give him this inspiration.”
From hanging out with LeBron James in the locker room to taking lessons from James Harden on the art of the step-back three to warming up with Team LeBron before Sunday’s All-Star Game, Wade included Zaire in almost every aspect of his final All-Star experience as a player. Wade finished his final All-Star Game with seven points, two rebounds and four assists in 10:27 of action. “It means a lot because when I was born, I’ve been through all the years with him,” Zaire said. “I’ve been through all the All-Stars. But this one is different. It’s special, it’s his last one. So I’m glad to finish it with him.”
He was considered a throw in as part of the offseason deal between the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors but center Jakob Poeltl has been showing he is much more with the Spurs. “He’s doing a fine job,” said head coach Gregg Popovich recently. “He’s learning on the fly.” Poeltl has the potential to become a a solid player with the Spurs. In his final season with the Raptors, he averaged 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.22 blocks (tied for 17th in the NBA) in 18.6 minutes in 82 games.
He’s second on the team in offensive rebounds per game (2.1) and averaging 64.1 percent field goal shooting. He has appeared in 54 games this season, starting eight. “He’s got experience, but we try and give him the minutes so he can get more and more comfortable,” said Popovich. With Poeltl on the court, the Spurs boast a Net Rating of 4.0. When he is off the court, it dips to 1.3. “I feel like I am figuring it out, I am actually feeling really comfortable out there right now,” said Poeltl earlier this season.
“My Very Best.” It’s a simple enough message, scrawled on an old athletic shoe that wound up in an abandoned storage room as Capitol Court Mall was being demolished on West Capitol Drive and North 60th Street in Milwaukee. It’s faded along with the signature that accompanies it: NBA superstar Michael Jordan.
But despite the comparative normalcy of the Jordan shoe — size 13, faded on the bottom, black trim starting to crack near the top — the artifact from the fledgling days of a basketball dynasty turned out to be quite the keepsake. “I saw the box and said, ‘This isn’t going to the dump,'” Awe said. “It was almost like a buried treasure,” said Chris Nerat, consignment director at Heritage Auctions, where the shoe has gone up for bid for its Platinum Night Sales, ending with final bidding Feb. 23-24. Heritage estimates the shoe will be worth $20,000 at auction. The bidding starts at a quarter of the estimate ($5,000), and Nerat feels the shoe will sell for “multiples of our estimate.” “Larry’s had it in his basement for 17 years and it happens to be what I consider and what Heritage considers the most significant Air Jordan shoe in existence, and I don’t think we’re overexaggerating,” Nerat said.