To the credit of the youngsters gathered at the Miami Heat’s basketball clinic Thursday at the site of the Rolling Loud Music Festival at Hard Rock Stadium, they tried.
As a hand went up and the question came up about the Utah Jazz possibly trading the Heat for guard Donovan Michels, Heat guard Victor Oladipo said, “We can’t answer that.”
That, of course, did not, does not, and will not stop talk of the Heat continuing to be linked to a possible trade of Mitchell and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant.
So not only is Oladipo not going there, teammate Bam Adebayo isn’t either — though speculation centers on the possibility that he might be going somewhere.
“That’s what you can control,” said Adebayo, who is seen as a linchpin for a potential deal for Durant. “Obviously it’s an opportunity for something, but in my opinion, control what you can control. I can’t control that.
“So do what I’m doing. I get up early. I exercise. Fun with these kids. And I’m going home and going to bed.”
Both Adebayo and Oladipo were asked about the perception that the Heat have been held back this offseason by not having outside leverage, not making free agent additions, but losing starting power to PJ Tucker to the Philadelphia 76ers. .
“They’re always counting us out,” Adebayo said. “We’re in the Kennels for a reason, the underdogs. This is our chip. You can believe what you want, you can say what you want.
The Heat closed last season within one victory of the NBA Finals. From that center, the Heat this offseason re-signed Oladipo, Caleb Martin and Dwayne Dedmon, with the rest of the rotation returning, ahead of Tucker.
“Outside views told Golden State they weren’t going to win last year,” Oladipo said, dismissing those who have been dismissive of the Heat’s prospects. “It doesn’t matter. Everybody’s got an opinion, man. Opinions are like feelings, everybody’s got them. Can’t do nothing about them. You just gotta focus on yourself and we just Focus on the heat. We always have been. We are like that.
“Last year, we were like that. We just focus on us. We can’t control what people think or say. We can’t control where they rank us or anything like that. “I can’t really control what they say about me. I really don’t care anymore. So we’re going out there. And we’re just playing. We’re going to keep getting better and be champions.” Will do everything possible to help us win the ship.”
Thursday’s clinic run by Junior Heat featured 50 kids from the After School All-Stars, with Rolling Loud founders Matt Zingler and Tariq Cherif in attendance.
For Oladipo, who is just a year removed from quadriceps surgery and still working through years of knee problems, just being on the court has made a lot of sense, even temporarily in Miami. Built in the Dolphins Stadium parking lot.
“It’s just nice to be able to walk around in the summer again,” she said with a smile. “Just working out and playing against guys in the summer and working on my game and improving my game, improving my strength, just being comfortable out there. So looking forward to the opportunity that comes. “
Adebayo’s court time included shots from 3-point range Thursday, with workouts on such shot attempts going viral while he was on vacation in London.
“When I do it in the States,” he said, “I don’t want to hear any of these media people asking me a billion questions about it. Because I know you’re going to ask me.” And that’s it.”
As for playing a more active role in the offense and becoming an outside shooting threat, Adebayo said that will come down to his own efforts and consultation with coach Erik Spoelstra.
“Repeat,” he said, “and then just talk to Spo about the game plan for the start of the season, and we’ll go from there.”