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News » Heat tightening belts on basketball staff

Heat tightening belts on basketball staff

Heat tightening belts on basketball staffUnlike everyone else in the Miami Heat's Basketball operations department, guard Dwyane Wade and his teammates have guaranteed contracts and won't have to take a pay cut.

Trying to avoid layoffs again that caused the elimination of 20 jobs in May, Heat President Pat Riley asked all Basketball operations personnel to voluntarily accept pay cuts ranging from 2 percent to 20 percent. The pay cuts include scouts and assistant coaches. As a cost-cutting measure, the Heat likely will keep its roster at 13 instead of the league's maximum 15.

Despite the franchise's financial woes, Wade said Tuesday at Chris Paul's inaugural Celebrity Golf Classic that he thinks the Heat will be in position next summer to be an active participant in free agency. Wade can opt out of his contract and join next summer's free agency class that is expected to include Cleveland's LeBron James and Toronto's Chris Bosh.

"My team, we'll be in good position because we will have money next summer," said Wade, who will earn $15.7 million this season. "We'll be one of the names called out there. I just want to see us getting better and being able to win championships. It's not about the perks anymore. I'm going into my seventh year, and I've won a championship before. But I'm about winning one now."

With a payroll at $73.1 million, the Heat is in jeopardy of having to pay a luxury-tax penalty next summer if it doesn't reduce its payroll by the February trade deadline. However, the Heat has only $17.1 million in guaranteed salaries for the 2010-11 season. Center Jermaine O'Neal has the Heat's most lucrative contract this upcoming season at $22.9 million.

PAUL'S ASSIST: With enormous expectations to start this upcoming season as a rookie with the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry sought out Paul for help this summer. They worked out together this past week at the Alario Center.

Curry, the son of former Charlotte Hornets guard Dell Curry, led the nation in scoring with a 28.6 average at Davidson last season. He was the seventh overall pick in June's draft by the Warriors.

"To come in and learn from an All-Star and Olympic gold-medal winner is pretty special," Curry said. "You see how hard he works, and I picked up things and competed with him one-on-one. I just feel like it's a head start for me to start my career off right."

Curry likely will play point guard, although he played shooting guard for two seasons at Davidson.

"I've known Stephen for awhile," Paul said. "He grew up in Charlotte, and I was down in Winston-Salem. We've been working out all summer, and I think he's as prepared for his rookie season as he can be."

TREND-SETTER: Lee Elder, the first African-American golfer to play in the Masters in 1975, participated in Paul's tournament.

Elder said it is good that a number of professional athletes in various sports continue to turn to golf as a hobby. Though Paul is an avid bowler, he took up golf this summer.

Saints safety Darren Sharper participated Tuesday, along with former Saints player Michael Lewis, Hornets assistant coaches Robert Pack and Charlie Parker, Hornets backup center Sean Marks and former San Antonio Spurs guard and Hall of Famer George Gervin.

"Those are the type of people we need to set the example for other young people that are coming about," Elder said. "They see them playing and coming involved with the game. It's wonderful to see young kids become more involved. And we certainly owe that to Tiger Woods, because he set a good example and made such great in-roads as far as minority golfers are concerned."

Elder said he is a close friend of Woods, but said he sees him less frequently now that Woods is married with two children.

NO-SHOWS: Former guard Rasual Butler was one of the scheduled participants unable to make Paul's tournament.

Tournament officials did not give a reason why Butler did not show. Butler was traded by the Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers last month for a future second-round pick.

Saints running back Reggie Bush also was scheduled to participate, but when play began just after 11 a.m., Bush still had not arrived.

Hornets Coach Byron Scott, an avid golfer, missed the tournament because he had to attend a mandatory NBA coaches meeting in New York.

. . . . . . .

John Reid can be reached at or 504.826.3407.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: September 16, 2009


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