Heat coach Erik Spoelstra talks Anthony Edwards, Dwyane Wade


Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked which Team USA player reminds him of Heat legend and NBA Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade, and the veteran coach mentioned Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards. “We know who that is,” Spoelstra said. “It’s hard not to look at Anthony Edwards and not see Dwyane Wade in him.

“And I’m not a guy for comparisons. But the way he moves, the way he competes, the way he electrifies a crowd, that reminds me of No. 3. I have told Anthony that, and I feel like I’m going back in time.”

During a conference call with reporters a few weeks ago, Heat president Pat Riley said Wade was “the greatest player” to ever wear a Miami uniform. Wade won three NBA championships (2006, 2012, 2013) with the Heat and made 909 starts in 1,054 NBA regular-season games over his 16-year career.

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“As a Heat player, Dwyane is the greatest player who ever put on a uniform for us,” Riley said. “LeBron [James] was here for four years and gave us a tremendous lift and helped Dwyane achieve what he wanted to achieve. But over the body of work here in Miami, Dwyane is the greatest player who ever played for the Heat.”

Anthony Edwards, 21, received his first All-Star selection in the 2022-23 season. In 79 starts, the guard averaged career highs of 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 36 minutes per game. Ant-Man also shot career bests of 45.9% from the floor and 36.9% beyond the arc.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra believes when fans watch Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards play, they see a bit of NBA Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade in him

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is optimistic about his roster heading into the 2023-24 season. “We had most of our work done,” Spoelstra said last week as Team USA assistant coach during an interview in Abu Dhabi, where Team USA is preparing for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“We’re bringing back the majority of our players and that’s a luxury in this league. Things are so transient; things are moving fast. It seems like it’s moving faster now than even four, five, six years ago. We feel great about our group.”

On another subject, in the Timberwolves’ 113-104 win over the Houston Rockets on Jan. 21, Edwards scored a season-high 44 points in 41 minutes as a starter. Along with notching six boards, four assists, three steals, and three blocks, Edwards shot 17-of-29 (58.6%) from the field and 8-of-16 (50%) from 3-point range.

Furthermore, the Georgia native finished sixth in points (1,946) this past season, third in steals (125), fourth in field goals (707), second in minutes played (2,842), 12th in defensive win shares (3.6), and second in turnovers (259). He also led the NBA in missed field goals (834).

During the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Edwards recorded a playoff career-high 41 points in Game 2 of Minnesota’s 122-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets. His 41 points set a Timberwolves franchise record for the most points scored in a playoff game, surpassing Sam Cassell’s previous record of 40.

In July, Edwards and the Timberwolves agreed to a five-year, $205.9 million designated rookie max extension. The new deal could be worth as much as $260 million. His current contract ends after the 2023-24 season. Of course, his $13,534,817 team option for 2023-24 was exercised last October.

“I’m humbled, appreciative and excited to remain in Minnesota as a part of this incredible Timberwolves organization. It’s amazing to see where hard work can take you,” Edwards said.

Edwards will wear No. 5 for the 2023-24 season, fined $50,000 for swinging chair following a 112-109 first-round, series-ending loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs

Additionally, Anthony Edwards announced a week ago that he would switch to the No. 5 jersey for the 2023-24 season. The third-year guard has worn the No. 1 jersey ever since the Minnesota Timberwolves selected him first overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. He plans to wear No. 5 to honor his late mother, Yvette, and grandmother, Shirley.

Edwards lost his mom and grandma to cancer during an eight-month span in 2015. He was only 14 years old. Both died on the fifth of the month. “A1 From Day 1 was given to me,” Edwards told The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “That wasn’t something I created. … I’ve always been No. 5.”

Earlier this month, the NBA fined Edwards $50,000 for swinging a chair and striking two women on his way to the Ball Arena locker room, following a 112-109 first-round, series-ending loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs on April 25.

On Feb. 22, 2020, the Heat officially retired Wade’s No. 3 jersey. Wade became the sixth player in Heat history to have his jersey retired, joining Chris Bosh, Tim Hardaway, Michael Jordan (the Heat retired Jordan’s number out of respect despite never playing for the franchise), Shaquille O’Neal, and Alonzo Mourning.

The Timberwolves could eventually retire one of Edwards’ jersey numbers in the future. However, winning at least one championship is an essential requirement. The NBA franchise has never won a chip in its 34-year history. Minnesota has not advanced to the conference finals since 2004.

Meanwhile, the Heat are coming off their 2023 NBA Finals series loss to the Nuggets. The Finals loss was not a first for Erik Spoelstra. Denver won its first championship in its 47-year history.

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