What was left unsaid at Heat media day? Everything – Boston Herald


You sit and nod approvingly, because on days such as this, when talk carries the day, everyone gets what they want.

So Jimmy Butler stresses he is not going to play power forward. Bam Adebayo speaks about shooting more. Tyler Herro envisions his role as a starter.

And, as they work their way through the media stations, as well, Max Strus, Haywood Highsmith, Omer Yurtseven, Duncan Robinson and Gabe Vincent, among others, speak about rotation roles.

Media day is about desires and expectations.

And also largely is idle chatter.

Monday’s Miami Heat media day was no different, but also very different, with coach Erik Spoelstra at the birth of his third child and not at FTX Arena. He and wife Nikki welcomed a daughter, Ruby Grace, on Monday.

Without Spolestra, there also was no contrasting viewpoint, no tempering of expectations.

No matter.

Because what Butler, Adebayo, Herro and the rest ultimately will do is what Spoelstra says.

“And Spo can do a lot of things,” Strus said.

Such is the single-voice leadership that has been a Heat staple for decades.

Heat President Pat Riley sets the agenda going into the offseason, be it Kyle Lowry working on his conditioning, Robinson on his defense, Herro on his worthiness as starter.

And then he steps aside, defers, allows Spoelstra to set the agenda.

That is the process that comes next, with the Heat opening training camp Tuesday at Baha Mar in the Bahamas.

That’s when the truth will come through actions, with Spoelstra expected to join camp already in progress.

“There are going to be changes,” Butler acknowledged. “Everybody realizes roles are going to change. There are going to be a lot of changes that have nothing to do with me. As training camp comes along, it’s going to be exciting to see what this lineup is about.”

Take Yurtseven, who has actively lobbied for playing time, but acknowledged Monday that he has yet to have a face to face with Spoelstra regarding where he fits.

“That will come,” he said.

Same with Vincent. This time, with Lowry back up to speed (and, he says, shape), the opportunity could be more limited.

For his part, Herro said that as a starter the same volume of shots might not be there. Yet, many of his comments still came from the perspective of a starter.

And with Adebayo, it is one thing to talk about taking 18 shots a game and another thing to do it on a team that has thrived with an ensemble approach.

At media day, there are an unlimited number of shots to go around.

At media day, there is not the reality that games are only 48 minutes and only five can play at a time.

At media day, depth is the end-all, be-all, because rotations don’t have to be whittled with NBA common sense in mind.

The more Spoelstra’s players spoke, the more it became evident that expectations will have to be tamped down, tempered, aligned with reality.

Because Adebayo, Butler, Lowry, Herro, Strus, Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo all can’t start.

As few as eight will play when the games matter most, assuredly no more than 10 or 11 when other games are in the balance.

On one hand, Spoelstra is working with less this season, with P.J. Tucker lost in free agency and no replacement of similar quality added.

But he also is working with more. Herro wants to show more. Adebayo wants to show more. Oladipo wants to show more. And on, through the likes of Yurtseven, Martin, Strus.

“I think we have an opportunity for guys to step up and guys to play a different way even more,” Lowry said. “We can’t dwell on what happened in the past. This is a new year. Teams have gotten better. League has gotten better. Our conference has gotten better.”

When last seen, the Heat were simply attempting to endure, with Lowry and Herro limping to the close, with Adebayo and Butler playing to last breath.

Then an offseason exhale.

And now players with agendas

It is healthy that players want more.

But what is healthiest is the greater good.

That work starts Tuesday, offshore, on makeshift courts in a ballroom on the island of New Providence.

When the man in charge will set the actual agenda.


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