NASSAU, BAHAMAS – It’s better in the Bahamas, at least it is for the Miami Heat.
The team kicked off its 35th season on Tuesday morning with a practice at the Baha Mar resort in Nassau.
The Heat converted one of the ballrooms in the convention center into multiple courts to start preparing for the 2022-23 campaign.
Miami’s main core returns from a team that fell one shot short of the NBA Finals last season. While the faces were familiar on day one, there was one important piece missing: head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Spoelstra was away from the team after the birth of his daughter, Ruby Grace, on Monday. The coach was with his wife Nikki and is set to return to the team in time for Wednesday’s practice.
Some of the sights of Day 1 of Heat training camp in the Bahamas. pic.twitter.com/vYNUAclpsK— Will Manso (@WillMansoWPLG) September 27, 2022
Front and center on opening day was Heat star Jimmy Butler, who joked that he’s looking forward to enjoying the beach and playing dominos while in the Bahamas.
“It’s special. So many good people that I’ve been able to call my family and friends. I’m here all the time. I love it here. I love the people,” Butler explained.
He also said he’s looking forward to the balance of work and fun that a training camp in the Bahamas has to offer.
Assistant coach Chris Quinn, who handled the head coaching duties on day one with Spoelstra out, hopes the team can take advantage of the different atmosphere away from Miami.
“It’s very much different. We’re here first to work and to prepare for the season, but it’s a great time to be together to connect and bond,” Quinn said.
This also marks the final training camp for Heat captain Udonis Haslem. The 20-year veteran joked that his final season will be called, “the last ride,” unlike his good friend Dwyane Wade’s, “last dance,” but he feels good about what’s ahead for the Heat.
“It’s gonna be a fun, fun season, and a successful one,” Haslem said.