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Will the Heat Be On This Year? (THE PANTHER INTERVIEWS HEAT PLAYERS!)

October 16, 2018

After a nearly six month off-season, the Miami Heat returns to the court next Wednesday when they travel north to face off against the Orlando Magic in their season opener.

The Heat began their off-season quietly this year without making any major moves. Throughout the summer,  the Heat resigned young forward Derrick Jones Jr. to a two year deal. The characteristic that shaped this offseason the most for the Heat was waiting.

Miami Heat veteran Dwyane Wade was traded back to the Heat last February after spending a season with the Bulls and half a season with the Cavaliers. Wade seriously considered retiring to spend more time with his family as he discussed in a video he posted on YouTube, but opted to resign with the Heat on Sep. 18 for a last season before he retires.

One of the more recent headlines for the Heat has been their pursuit of all-star forward Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Late in the offseason, Butler requested a trade from the Timberwolves due to tension between him and his teammates, center Karl Anthony Towns and forward Andrew Wiggins. This may have had to do with rumors that Butler slept with Towns’ girlfriend, according to Barstool Sports. However, Tom Thibodeau, head coach and president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves, has fought to keep Butler on the team, despite demands from team owner Glen Taylor to grant Butler’s request, according to ESPN.

Tensions have escalated even more between Butler and his team recently. Butler returned to the Wolves to practice, but was not very friendly with his fellow starters, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and other sources. He led the teams third string players on the roster to a win over the starting unit in a scrimmage, while going as far as calling Towns and Wiggins “soft” among other insults.

The Heat have been a leading contender to acquire Butler, and several sources believe if Butler is traded, he will likely go to the Heat. But Thibodeau has been very difficult in the process, and every time the Heat came close to finalizing a trade, Thibodeau demanded the Heat add more players and/or picks to the trade.

Even if the Heat do not acquire Butler, there will be a lot happening this year for the Heat. A lot of fans are highly anticipating the Heat game against the Philadelphia 76ers, who eliminated the Heat from the playoffs last season.

“Based on what happened last year, the game I’m looking forward to most is when we play Philly,” Heat guard Tyler Johnson said.

T Several teams in the East look to compete to win the conference following superstar LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers to join the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference. But the Heat continue to look into making some noise this year as a contender to win the East.

Led by all-star guard Goran Dragic, the Heat has several key players that can change the momentum of a game in a second. After a down season with several injuries, center Hassan Whiteside hopes to bounce back to the caliber he had when he led the league in blocks  in 2016. The Heat also hope that their young players will develop more skill this year and possibly turn into star players, including center Bam Adebayo and forwards Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson.

As Heat co-captain Udonis Haslem put it, health will play a big factor into the Heat’s success this year.

“Last year we got bit by the injury bug, so we have to cross our fingers and pray to the man upstairs that we can stay healthy,” Haslem said.

Regardless of how well the Heat perform, it is sure to be a fun season for the Heat. From Dwyane Wade’s “last dance” to the Heat’s rookies developing, this season will be very interesting.

“Our mindset is, ‘Why not us?,’” Haslem said.”Whether there’s a LeBron in the East or not.”

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