The Miami Heat probably don’t make a championship run last year in the bubble without Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala. Those two guys were part of a three-team deal that saw team president Pat Riley move on from Justise Winslow.
Winslow, the 10th overall pick in 2015, wasn’t thrilled about being traded when it happened last February and that sentiment hasn’t changed. He thought the Heat mismanaged a nagging back injury, then sent him packing to the Memphis Grizzlies.
On Sunday night, Winslow appeared to take another shot at his former team by saying the trade was “one of the best things to happen in my life.”
“I feel great, man. Mentally, physically, spiritually. It’s all coming together for me right now,” Winslow told FOX 13 Memphis. “This trade was one of the best things to happen in my life, uh, on and off the court for me. And this organization just being so patient with me, I’m just so thankful, a lot of joy, a lot of gratitude in my heart right now.”
"A lot of joy in my heart right now."
— NBA (@NBA) March 1, 2021
Winslow injured his left hip in an intra-squad scrimmage last year following the trade to Memphis. It kept him out for the first 16 games this year, but he’s back and averaging 10.3 points per game. He just went off for 20 points in a 133-84 win over the Houston Rockets.
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Taking Shots at Miami? What Went Wrong?
Winslow’s “best things” quote can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, from simply finding peace in his personal life to actually having issues in South Beach. Was the party scene too much? Did he run into problems with the training staff? Were his Miami teammates pushing him too hard? The Heat are notorious for their aggressive approach to conditioning.
New year, new me or new year, same mindset ?!
— Justise Winslow (@IAmJustise) January 3, 2021
The 24-year-old swing forward elaborated in comments to the Daily Memphian:
It’s for many different reasons, I’m not going to get into it, but things just didn’t work out in Miami for me. I found myself in a new opportunity. I forget the phrase, but it’s basically like when you get thrown into a new situation and you make yourself make it a positive. That’s what I did.
I embraced the city. I embraced my teammates and the organization. At the time it almost felt like that was all I had. I was coming off of injury, I hadn’t played much that season. Next thing you know I get healthy, then I have another injury.
Justise Winslow tonight:
Grizzlies – 133
Rockets – 84 pic.twitter.com/2sfj7pZBRh
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) March 1, 2021
Iguodala Embracing Miami Heat Culture
Iguodala’s name has popped up in recent trade rumors for the Heat. They may decide to move his $15 million number as an expiring contract, possibly in a deadline deal for Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, or John Collins.
However, Iguodala is a three-time NBA champion and Finals MVP whose contributions go way beyond the stat sheet. His teammates love and respect him. His coaches view him as another coach on the floor. And the 37-year-old wants to stay in Miami. For the culture.
“This is a place where players can develop, learning how to be a professional,” Iguodala told NBA.com. “They’ve set the bar for how to get a young guy to understand the game and how to improve, watch the film, work on your game, turn weaknesses into strength. Guys are willing to take criticism and take advice and right away start putting it in their game. That’s all encouraged here and it’s good to see.”
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