PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas - Hello from the Bahamas, and hello from Miami Heat training camp. Yes, the two don't seem to go hand-and-hand, but partly as a reward for back-to-back championships, the Heat players get to train in paradise.
And trust me, they are training. Two-a-day practices are under way, and it'll be four days of hard work. Like Dwyane Wade said after the first practice, most of these guys got to jet ski and celebrate during the summer. Now it's time to concentrate on basketball and bonding. Our crew will be here all week bringing you stories for Local 10 and Local10.com. Here are some other thoughts from day one of camp.
--Wade says he feels fine, and his knee isn't an issue. Of course, he'll have to take it easy early on in camp, but he worked on his conditioning this offseason and comes into camp in great shape. I've got to say he does look lean and quick.
--Michael Beasley is trying to stay under the radar and not putting too much pressure on himself. The former number two overall pick in the draft is no guarantee to make the final roster. He says he's taking it "day by day" and not thinking about the big picture too much. He also believes he's a much different and more mature player. In his words, "I'm more mellow."
--Greg Oden got some work in, but he did not take part in the contact drills. That's by design. The Heat have made it clear they have no real timetable for Oden to get back in game action. He admitted yesterday he knows his knees won't let him be a 30 minute a game player again, but he hopes to just contribute at some point during the season.
--Another part of the reason the Heat decided to train in the Bahamas was to avoid a big media rush, but the first day was still filled with cameras and reporters. This is a huge story in the Bahamas. This is a place so close to Miami and filled with a lot of Heat fans. Erik Spoesltra said that a mini-parade was waiting for the team as they arrived on the island last night. Clearly, the players are embracing the hospitality.
--Juwan Howard was on the court at camp, but he was there as an assistant coach. If you missed it, Howard is a new coach on staff, taking over for Keith Askins. Askins is now in the scouting department. Howard should have no time adjusting to being a mentor and teacher. That was basically his role on the last two Heat title teams. During the media portion of practice, Howard could be seen on the court talking with some of the younger players.
--- LeBron James seemed surprised when told that Michael Jordan said he could have beaten James in his prime in a game of one-on-one. LeBron didn't take the bait, but you could tell he wasn't too sure the story was true until a couple of reporters verified it for him. He smiled and didn't say much else.
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