MIAMI GARDENS — To the credit of the youngsters gathered at the Miami Heat’s basketball clinic on Thursday at the Rolling Loud Music Festival site at Hard Rock Stadium, they tried.
Barely a hand went up and the question was asked if the Heat could trade for Utah Jazz guard Donovan Michell, then Heat guard Victor Oladipo said, “We can’t answer that.”
That, of course, hasn’t stopped, hasn’t stopped, and won’t stop the conversation, not with the Heat continuing to be linked with potential trades for Mitchell and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant.
So not only would Oladipo not go there, but neither would his teammate Bam Adebayo – even though speculation has centered on the possibility that he could go somewhere.
“It is what it is, control what you can control,” said Adebayo, who has been seen as the linchpin of a possible deal for Durant. “Obviously it’s an opportunity for something, but in my opinion, control what you can control. I can’t control this.
“Then do what I did. I get up early. I train. Have fun with these kids. And I’m going to go home and go to sleep.
Adebayo and Oladipo were asked about the perception that the Heat have fallen behind by not making any outside gains this offseason, having not added a free agent, but having lost starting forward PJ Tucker to the 76ers of Philadelphia.
“They still count us,” Adebayo said. “We The Kennel for a reason, the underdog. It’s our chip. You can believe what you want, you can say what you want.
The Heat ended last season with just one NBA Finals victory. From that core, the Heat this offseason re-signed Oladipo, Caleb Martin and Dewayne Dedmon, with the rest of the rotation, beyond Tucker, returning.
“Outside thoughts told Golden State they weren’t going to win last year,” Oladipo said, dismissive of those who disdained the Heat’s chances. ” It does not matter. Everyone has opinions, man. Opinions are like emotions, everyone has them. I can not do anything about it. You just have to focus on yourself and we’re just focusing on the heat. We always have been. This is how we are.
“Last year we were in the same situation. It’s just focused on us. I can’t really control what people think or say. We can’t control where they rank us or anything like that. I really can’t control what they say about me. I really don’t care. So we’re just going out there. And we’re just playing. We’re going to keep improving and doing whatever we can to help each other. win a championship.
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Thursday’s clinic led by Jr. Heat included 50 kids from Afterschool All Stars, with Rolling Loud founders Matt Zingler and Tariq Cherif among the attendees.
For Oladipo, who has just over a year of quadriceps surgery and is still working after years of knee problems, just being on a pitch has been particularly meaningful, even a temporarily built one in the parking lot of the Miami Dolphins stadium.
“It feels good to be able to hoop again in the summer,” he said with a smile. “Just to train and play against some guys in the summer and work on my game and improve my game, improve my strength, just be comfortable there. So I’m looking forward to the opportunity that comes ours.
Included in Adebayo’s court time on Thursday were 3-point shots, with a practice session on such shot attempts while on vacation in London having gone viral.
“When I do this in the United States,” he said, “I don’t want to hear any of this media asking me a million questions about it. Because I know you’re going to ask me. ‘is all.”
As for his intention to take a more active role in attack and become more of an outside shooting threat, Adebayo said that would depend on his own efforts and consultation with coach Erik Spoelstra.
“Rehearsal,” he said, “then just talk with Spo about the game plan for the start of the season, and we go from there.”