Did LeBron mislead Pat Riley last summer during free agency with a smiley face emoji?

Did LeBron James mislead Pat Riley last summer during free agency with a smiley face emoji?

Here’s the circumstantial evidence… Sherlock-Holmes-Sherlock-Holmes-detective-crime-smiley-emoticon-001232-facebook

— On Monday, Riley was asked about the draft and next season and the Heat’s president, in classic Riley style, dropped a loaded one-liner, which was immediately interpreted as a dig at LeBron. Emotes_face_embarrassed

“No more smiling faces with hidden agendas, so we’ll be going in clean,” Riley said. Sarcasticemoji-2

— Asked to clarify if that comment was about James, Riley said, “that could be anyone across the board,” before adding, “I’ve already got about half a dozen emails from people I don’t even know recommending [a player], and somewhere in that email or text is always a smiley.” 

OKemoji

OK, first question: Who the heck has the liberty to send Riley a text-message emoji other than, say, his kids?

I don’t see Heat general manager Andy Elisberg shooting off an emoji text to Pat Riley:

ANDY: The Final Four was cray. Cal…LOL…BTW, Sam Dekker. Surprisedemoji

Nick Arison doesn’t strike me as the emoji type…

NICK ARISON: Let’s move up in the draft. This kid from Duke is a BALLR. Emoticon-Devil-Devilish-Evil-icon

But, seriously people, is it so hard to believe that LeBron sent Riley a smiley face emoji last season that Riley misinterpreted as some sign that LeBron was returning to Miami?

RILEY: Hey Yellow-goat-md, getting ready for next season yet?

LEBRON: Happy_smiley_face_mischievous_sinister_smilie_sticker-r6fb1d133fdce416892ba15f4a78df091_v9wth_8byvr_512

Read More on the Miami Herald

Early look at tonight’s game between the Heat and Magic, plus a breakdown of the Heat’s playoff chances

MAGIC (25-55) AT HEAT (35-45)

When/Where: 7:30 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: Sun Sports/FM 104.3, AM 790 and MIX 98.3FM (Spanish)

Series: Heat leads the all-time series 57-45.

Line: Opened at Heat by 9 1/2. Line down to Heat by 6 1/2.

INJURIES: Chris Andersen (left foot sprain), Luol Deng (left knee sprain), Hassan Whiteside (right hand laceration) and Dwyane Wade (hip/knee pain) are probable; Henry Walker (right elbow soreness) is qustionable; Chris Bosh (blood clot), Josh McRoberts (right knee meniscus) and Shabazz Napier (sports hernia) are out for the season.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nba/miami-heat/article17357804.html#storylink=cpy

SCOUTING REPORT: It’s a must-win scenario for the Heat, which is two games behind the Brooklyn Nets with two games to play. The Heat has lost six of its last seven games.

The Magic has played well against the Heat this season. The Heat needed overtime to pull out and unlikely overtime victory in Orlando on Feb.25. The Heat defeated the Magic 102-101 on Dec.29 in Miami.

Projected starting lineups
Heat: Luol Deng, Udonis Haslem, Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic
Magic: Tobias Harris, Dewayne Dedmon, Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton

STANDINGS

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PLAYOFF PERMUTATIONS

If either the Nets or Pacers win another game, the Heat is out of the playoff race.

Nets remaining schedule…

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Pacers remaining schedule…

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Read More on the Miami Herald

Starters, scouting report and playoff implications for tonight’s game between the Heat and Raptors

RAPTORS (46-32) AT HEAT (35-44)

When/Where: 7:30 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: Sun Sports and NBA TV/FM 104.3, AM 790 and MIX 98.3FM (Spanish)

Series: Heat leads the all-time series 48-22 and 28-8 in games played in Miami. Heat is 1-1 against the Raptors this season. The Raptors snapped its 16-game losing streak to the Heat on March 13 and can now win the season series between the two teams for the first time since 2008. The last time the Raptors defeated the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena was Nov.19, 2008.

Line: Opened at Heat by 3. Heat now favored by 3 1/2.

INJURIES: Chris Andersen (left foot sprain), Luol Deng (left knee sprain), Hassan Whiteside (right hand laceration) and Dwyane Wade (hip/knee pain) are probable; Henry Walker (right knee soreness) is out; Chris Bosh (blood clot), Josh McRoberts (right knee meniscus) and Shabazz Napier (sports hernia) are out for the season. For the Raptors, Amir Johnson (sprained right ankle) is out.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nba/miami-heat/article17357804.html#storylink=cpy

SCOUTING REPORT: With three games left in the regular season, the Heat desperately needs a victory on Saturday night. The Heat has three games left in the regular season and now trails the Nets and Celtics by two games in the loss column after both teams won in convincing fashion on Friday night. The Pacers are earned an important victory, which further complicated the Eastern Conference playoff race. It’s not a true must-win scenario for the Heat, but another loss could doom the Heat’s playoff chances all the same.

While the Nets and Celtics enjoyed games on Friday against teams resting players or preparing for the playoffs, the Heat has no such luck on Saturday against the Raptors. Toronto can secure home-court advantage in the playoffs with a victory against the Heat.

The Raptors are averaging almost 10 points per game more than the Heat this season. The Heat is 28th in the league in points per game (94.4), 24th in three-point field goal percentage (.335) and last in rebounding (38.9). The Heat has lost five of its last six games and eight of its last 11. The Raptors won in dramatic fashion on Friday night in Orlando with Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams hitting a game-winning three-pointer with 9.9 seconds remaining.

NOTE: Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry isn’t expected to play more than 30 minutes, according to Toronto coach Dwane Casey. Lowry recently missed time to recover from several injuries caused by the wear and tear of the season. He played 33 minutes on Friday against the Magic. Casey said Lowry might have played too many minutes against Orlando, but the Raptors needed the win to help secure home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Starting lineups
Heat: Luol Deng, Udonis Haslem, Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic
Raptors: Terrence Ross, Tyler Hansbrough, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry

STANDINGS

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SCOREBOARDING

The Nets, Celtics and Pacers all won on Friday night…Tonight’s games that will affect the Heat’s playoff push…

Raptors at Heat, 7:30 p.m...NOTE: The Heat holds playoff tiebreakers against the Nets and Celtics. The Pacers hold a playoff tiebreaker against the Heat.

Heat’s remaining schedule…

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Sunday’s games that will affect the Heat’s playoff push…

Nets at Milwaukee Bucks, 3 p.m…NOTE: The combination of a Heat loss to the Raptors and a Nets victory against the Bucks would ensure the Nets finished the regular season with a better record than the Heat.

Nets remaining games…

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Cavaliers at Boston Celtics, 3 p.m…NOTE: The combination of a Heat loss to the Raptors and a Celtics victory against the Cavaliers would ensure the Celtics finished the regular season with a better record than the Heat. LeBron James could sit out Sunday against the Celtics.

Celtics remaining schedule…

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Thunder at Indiana Pacers, 6 p.m…NOTE: The Pacers hold a playoff tiebreaker against the Heat.

Pacers remaining schedule…

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Read More on the Miami Herald

Adjusted playoff odds for the Heat, Celtics, Nets and Pacers

The Heat likely needs a victory tonight to remain in the playoff race, and the good people at numberFire have provided us with some projections to quantify just how desperate the Heat now finds itself with three games left in the regular season.

According to projections, the Heat has a 17 percent chance of making the playoffs entering tonight’s home game against the Toronto Raptors. For a complete breakdown of tonight’s game plus an in-depth look at the playoff race, CLICK THIS LINK.

After losing on Thursday to the Bulls, the Heat’s playoff chances dropped 17.4 percent. According to numberFire, the Heat has a 3.7 percent chance of finishing seventh in the East and a 13.3 percent chance of finishing eighth in the East. Here are the current projections for all four teams in the Eastern Conference playoff race:

1. Nets – 82.9 percent (up 11.6 percent)2. Celtics – 81.8 percent (up 12.1 percent)
3. Pacers – 18.7 percent (down 5.5 percent)
4. Heat  – 17.0 percent (down 17.4 percent)

The Heat isn’t facing a true “must-win” scenario tonight, but it’s close enough. A victory against the Raptors would give the Heat at least a chance to stay in the playoff picture. A loss to the Raptors coupled with wins by the Nets and Celtics on Sunday would eliminate the Heat from the playoff picture.

Read More on the Miami Herald

Injury updates and a scouting report on tonight’s game between the Heat and Bulls

BULLS (46-32) AT HEAT (35-43)

When/Where: 8 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: TNT/FM 104.3, AM 790 and MIX 98.3FM (Spanish)

Series: Bulls lead the all-time series 54-44. Heat is 1-1 against the Bulls this season.

Line: Opened at Bulls by 1. Bulls now favored by 1 1/2.

INJURIES: Chris Andersen (left foot sprain), Luol Deng (left knee sprain) and Hassan Whiteside (right hand laceration) are probable; Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers are questionable with illnesses; Chris Bosh (blood clot), Josh McRoberts (right knee meniscus) and Shabazz Napier (sports hernia) are out for the season. For the Bulls, guard Derrick Rose (right knee) and Kirk Hinrich (hyperextended left knee) are questionable.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nba/miami-heat/article17357804.html#storylink=cpy

SCOUTING REPORT: With an identical record as the Toronto Raptors, the Chicago Bulls will be playing for playoff position tonight against the Heat. The Bulls hold the playoff tiebreaker against the Raptors. Derrick Rose started for the Bulls on Wednesday scored nine points in 20 minutes in Chicago’s 105-103 loss. The introduction of Rose into the Bulls’ rotation this late in the season is a risk for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, but one worth taking considering Rose’s MVP-ability when healthy. The Bulls will be looking to strengthen its continuity tonight against the Heat, so expect Rose to start again despite the back-to-back scenario.

Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, a candidate for Most Improved Player, will be looking for a bounce-back game against the Heat after a poor showing (five points) against Miami in January. That game featured Hassan Whiteside’s triple-double breakout performance on national television. Another national television showcase, the Heat will be playing for a spot in the playoffs. Wins by the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night dropped the Heat to 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, but the Heat only trails the eighth-place Brooklyn Nets by one game in the loss column.

Projected starting lineups
Heat: Luol Deng, Udonis Haslem, Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic
Bulls: Mike Dunleavy, Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose

STANDINGS

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SCOREBOARDING

Tonight’s games that will affect the Heat’s playoff push…

Bulls at Heat: A victory would put the Heat in place in the East and a half game behind the Nets. The Heat holds playoff tiebreakers against the Celtics and Nets. The Pacers hold the playoff tiebreaker against the Heat.

Heat’s remaining games:

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FRIDAY’S GAMES that will affect the Heat’s playoff push…

Boston at Cleveland: LeBron James indicated on Wednesday that he could sit out this game and also the next to rest for the playoffs. Both games are against Boston, which is locked in a playoff race with the Heat. Back-to-back wins for the Celtics against the Cavaliers would keep the Celtics in the driver’s seat for the seventh seed and a match-up with the Cavs in the first round.

Celtics’ remaining games…

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Washington at Brooklyn: The Nets could need a victory to remain one game ahead of the Heat for eighth in the East. The Nets hold the playoff tiebreaker against the Pacers. The Heat hold the playoff tiebreaker against the Nets. The Celtics also hold a playoff tiebreakers against the Nets.

Nets’ remaining games…

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Indiana at Detroit: Currently ninth in the East, the Pacers hold the playoff tiebreaker against the Heat. The Nets hold the playoff tiebreaker against the Pacers.

Pacers’ remaining games…

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Read More on the Miami Herald

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