South Florida Sun-Sentinel Palm Beach (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

Fine mess: Still on pa­ter­nity leave when team­mate Josh Richard­son tossed his sneaker into the crowd dur­ing the loss to the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers, even­tu­ally fined $25,000 by the NBA, Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he con­soled Richard­son upon his re­turn. “I just told him, ‘Wel­come to the $25,000 fine club. You’ve made it, son. And we’ve all been there be­fore. So just move on.’ “Wade had been fined $25,000 by the NBA at the start of his 2016-17 ten­ure with the Chicago Bulls for a throat-slash­ing ges­ture af­ter drain­ing a de­ci­sive 3-pointer against the Bos­ton Celtics. Wade said it was dif­fi­cult to be away amid the Heat’s freefall. “It’s very tough. You watch J-Rich throw his shoe, you know the frus­tra­tion,” he said. “And that’s what los­ing brings and it’s un­for­tu­nate that you can’t be there. I would rather be in the locker room when they’re los­ing, be­cause that’s the time we all get to look each other in the eye and tell each other, ‘Hey, it’s go­ing to be all right.’ “ Far dif­fer­ent: LeBron James’ Wed­nes­day re­turn to Cleve­land with the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers was noth­ing like his re­turn with the Heat af­ter leav­ing in 2010 free agency. The en­tire process was so re­served that James did not even catch the en­tire Cava­liers tribute video that was played dur­ing a first-quar­ter time­out of the Lak­ers’ vic­tory. “I had to pay at­ten­tion slightly,” he said. “I didn’t want to miss that and mess up the play com­ing out of time­out. But I was able to catch some of it at the end.” It was a de­cided con­trast to what he had to en­dure in 2010. “It’s all about growth and we all have grown from that mo­ment eight years ago,” James said. “So I kind of leave the past in the past and al­ways fo­cus on the present and see what hap­pens in the fu­ture.” Civic duty: Jar­nell Stokes and DeAn­dre Lig­gins, both cut at the end of Heat train­ing camp, have been sum­moned by USA Bas­ket­ball to rep­re­sent the na­tional team dur­ing World Cup qual­i­fy­ing games Thurs­day in Ar­gentina and Dec. 1 in Uruguay. The as­sign­ment is part of the ap­proach of us­ing G League play­ers dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing be­fore NBA play­ers when the World Cup in China opens Aug. 31. Lig­gins had been play­ing for the Heat’s G League af­fil­i­ate, the Sioux Falls Sky­force, which added Mar­cus Posley to fill in dur­ing Lig­gins’ ab­sence. Stokes, whose G League rights are held by the Sky­force, has been sit­ting out while de­lib­er­at­ing op­tions that could in­clude play­ing in China. Two other play­ers in the limbo between the NBA and G League also are on the USA Bas­ket­ball ros­ter, Eric More­land and Tyler Zeller. The United States stands at 7-1 in its qual­i­fy­ing group, tied for first place with Ar­gentina. An­other chance: Ini­tially pre­sumed to be headed to Is­rael af­ter be­ing cut at the end of the San An­to­nio Spurs’ train­ing camp, Okaro White in­stead has sur­faced with the Wash­ing­ton Wizards. The for­mer Flor­ida State for­ward was dealt by the Heat to the At­lanta Hawks for Luke Bab­bitt at last sea­son’s Fe­bru­ary trad­ing dead­line while still re­cov­er­ing from the bro­ken foot sus­tained in No­vem­ber. He sub­se­quently was signed by the Cleve­land Cava­liers, with his ac­tion with the Cavs lim­ited to sum­mer league. In or­der to min­i­mize their tax bill, the Wizards ap­pear to be go­ing two weeks at a time with a 14th ros­ter player in or­der to meet NBA min­i­mum ros­ter-size re­quire­ments.

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