Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Heat feeling the love

Spoelstra says signing veteran big man was ‘no-brainer’

- By Ira Winderman

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said when the team sat out the NBA trading deadline, other than to offload Dewayne Dedmon’s contract, it was not with any knowledge of the impending signing of Kevin Love.

“First you go through the trade deadline and see if there was anything that makes sense,” Spoelstra said, with the Heat opening a three-game trip Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, “and there really wasn’t. And then you’re just hopeful, you’re not really sure of who’s going to get bought out. And you hear rumors.

“This one was a little bit of a surprise. And then when Kevin became available or at least there was possible discussion about it, everybody was all in on it. It was a no-brainer. The fit just makes a lot of sense for all of us.”

In moving Dedmon’s contract along with a second-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 7, it opened two roster spots and enough space below the luxury tax to allow the Heat to add both Love and Cody Zeller on Monday.

If Love’s buyout was a surprise to Spoelstra and the Heat, it wasn’t necessaril­y to Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaf­f or the Cavaliers.

“You never want it to get to that point. I think just understand­ing the nature of our business, it wasn’t a surprise, so to speak,” Bickerstaf­f told media in Cleveland, with Love having fallen out of the Cavaliers’ rotation. “Knowing Kevin wants to compete, knowing he wants to play, and have a specific role laid out for him, it was the only available option from that standpoint, from the conversati­ons that we had.

“Giving Kevin an opportunit­y to go somewhere where he can compete and he can play was right by him. I think this organizati­on does a great job of taking care of the people who have taken care of it. That’s kind of the conversati­on and the message to the guys. Any time you lose a teammate that you like, you’re going to be disappoint­ed. But I think the guys understood and understand what got us to that point.”

Bickerstaf­f, like others in the organizati­on, said he believes Love’s jersey eventually should be retired by the Cavaliers.

Having gone 1-1 against the Cavaliers with Love on Cleveland’s roster, the Heat host the Cavaliers for consecutiv­e games at Miami-Dade Arena on March 8 and March 10 to close out the four-game season series, with a playoff meeting also a possibilit­y.

Yurtseven on earthquake­s: As he works his way back toward his season debut from November ankle surgery, second-year Heat center Omer Yurtseven said his thoughts remain with those in his native Turkey amid the series of deadly earthquake­s that have ravaged the region.

“And another one happened three days ago,” Yurtseven said. “People just like kind of pushed it to the side and they’re like, ‘Oh, they must be talking about the same one.’ But there was a third one that kind of like flattened a lot of the houses that were super risky, especially as they try to pull people out of there. So it’s just hard being away.

“But also, we’re in such a great time where we can send help through so many means. That’s how I can kind of relieve that feeling of being away and not being able to help, and that helplessne­ss.”

Yurtseven has been at the forefront of several relief efforts, including a recent one in Miami’s Wynwood district.

“Anything from anybody, just to send a prayer, and that even counts,” he said. “I think every bit counts. And that event that I did was like to spread more awareness. And I think it worked. It helps that feeling of not being able to do anything, like you are able to push the needle even if it’s just an inch.”

Yurtseven said his immediate family was not directly impacted, “but my cousins’ side got affected. Thankfully they were able to get out of their house before they collapsed.”

Bouyea back: His 10-day contract with the Heat having expired, and a roster spot no longer available after the Heat’s acquisitio­ns of Love and Zeller, undrafted rookie guard Jamaree Bouyea has returned to the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Bouyea was back in the starting lineup for Sioux Falls’ 199-108 Thursday night victory over the Mexico City Capitanes, closing with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting and seven rebounds in his return, at a team-best plus-14.

Bouyea is now free to be signed by any NBA team.

 ?? MARTA LAVANDIER/AP ?? Erik Spoelstra says Heat’s inaction at NBA trading deadline was not with an eye toward adding Kevin Love, with the partnershi­p instead evolving as a surprise.
MARTA LAVANDIER/AP Erik Spoelstra says Heat’s inaction at NBA trading deadline was not with an eye toward adding Kevin Love, with the partnershi­p instead evolving as a surprise.

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