Heat Begin Pursuit Of Elusive Three-Peat On Tuesday
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It may seem that the Miami Heat’s season just ended, but training camp for the Heat opens Tuesday and with the team meeting the media on Monday, there are two items on the agenda: winning a third straight NBA championship and keeping LeBron James in town.
The Heat revealed their training camp roster and it included all of the familiar faces from last year’s championship winning squad, with the exception of Mike Miller, who was released using the amnesty clause over the summer.
Among the new faces on the Heat’s training camp roster are: Michael Beasley, Roger Mason, Jr., Greg Oden, Larry Drew II, Justin Hamilton, and Charlie Westbrook. Officially, the Heat come to camp with 20 players, but only 15 of those players will make the regular season roster.
Most of the roster is set with the following players on it: LeBron James, Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem, James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Greg Oden, Shane Battier, and Joel Anthony.
Assuming Anthony stays on the active roster; that will leave two opens spots for the rest of the players to compete for during training camp and the preseason.
Michael Beasley, if he can keep himself clean, may be one of the players who lands a spot as could Roger Mason, Jr. Some will also keep an eye on center Justin Hamilton, a 7’, 255 pound shooter with range past the three-point line.
Whoever makes the final roster, the team will go as far as James, Bosh, Wade, and Allen can carry them. The Eastern Conference is much tougher this year with other teams loading up to take out the Heat. But LeBron feels like this team has what it takes.
“I do whatever it takes for this team,” James told CBS4’s Jim Berry. “We got a special group and love to be around each other.”
James will once again be the linchpin for the Heat after another MVP season last year. LeBron averaged 25.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game last year and was incredibly efficient on the offensive end.
James shot a career-high 56.5 percent from the field and 41 percent from behind the three-point line while putting up a staggering player efficiency rating of 31.6. The league average for PER is 15.
According to basketball-reference.com, its prediction said LeBron will shoot 55 percent from the field while scoring 25.1 points, pulling down 7.5 rebounds, and handing out 6.5 assists per game.
He is quite simply, the greatest player in a generation.
That’s why keeping James in town will be the overriding focus of the front office and many fans throughout the season. LeBron, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all opt-out of their contracts after the season.
LeBron has said he has no idea what he’s going to do and there’s no reason to doubt that sentiment. Bosh has said that if the Heat win another championship, he can’t see LeBron leaving the team and the city that has embraced him completely.
Wade told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Monday on the subject of expiring contracts, “You have concern when you feel people want to go elsewhere. I don’t think nobody is looking to go elsewhere.”
Still, that’s in the future, what begins Tuesday is the Heat’s once in a lifetime chance to join the greatest teams of all-time with a three-peat.