Jason Smith (basketball, born 1986)
Jason Victor Smith is an American professional basketball player who last played for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association. He played college basketball for Colorado State University before being selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft by the Miami Heat. Smith attended Platte Valley High School in Kersey, Colorado where he was regarded as the state's premier prep player during his senior season in 2003–04, he was a two-time state player of the year, was named to the All-Colorado team as a junior and senior, was a three-year letterwinner and starter for the Broncos, was named to all-conference and all-state teams three times, was selected as most outstanding player in state Class 3A tournament as a senior. As a freshman at Colorado State in 2004–05, Smith was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year and earned all-MWC honorable mention honors. In 26 games, he averaged 10.5 points on 55.4 percent shooting with 5.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 blocked shots in 24.4 minutes per game.
As a sophomore in 2005–06, Smith played in and started all 31 games for the Rams, the season's end, he earned first-team All-Mountain West and second-team NABC all-district honors. On the season, he averaged 16.2 points on 51.7 percent shooting with 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 blocked shots in 28.7 minutes per game. As a junior in 2006–07, Smith earned first-team All-Mountain West honors for a second straight year after he led the MWC in rebounding and ranked sixth in scoring. On April 3, 2007, Smith declared for the NBA draft, he left Colorado State ranking ninth on the school's all-time leading scoring list with 1,281 points. He ranked sixth in rebounds and fifth in blocked shots, while his 24 career double-doubles was the second-most in school history. Smith was selected by the Miami Heat with the 20th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, but was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night; as a rookie with the 76ers, Smith averaged 3.0 rebounds in 76 games. In August 2008, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
He subsequently missed the entire 2008–09 season. Smith returned to action in 2009–10, playing in 56 games and averaging 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. On September 23, 2010, Smith was traded, along with Willie Green, to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Darius Songaila and Craig Brackins. On February 1, 2011, he scored a career-high 20 points in a 97–89 win over the Washington Wizards. In 77 games, he averaged 3.1 rebounds per game. On December 17, 2011, Smith re-signed with the Hornets to a three-year, $7.5 million contract. He missed over a month of action between February 4 and March 17 due to a concussion suffered on February 4 against the Detroit Pistons. On April 7, 2012, he scored a career-high 26 points in a 99–90 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, he appeared in 40 games and made 29 starts while averaging a career-high 9.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in the lockout-shortened 2011–12 season. Smith managed just 51 games in 2012–13 due to a right labrum injury that forced him to miss seven games in December.
Smith missed the final 24 games of the season after having season-ending surgery to repair it. In April 2013, the Hornets were renamed the Pelicans. In 2013–14, Smith was limited to 31 games due to season-ending knee injury in January 2014. On July 18, 2014, Smith signed a one-year, $3.3 million contract with the New York Knicks. On February 7, 2015, Smith grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors. On February 11, 2015, Smith scored a season-high 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting in an 89–83 loss to the Orlando Magic, he made a career-high 31 starts. On July 14, 2015, Smith signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Orlando Magic. On March 15, 2016, he set season highs with 25 points and 13 rebounds in a 116–110 win over the Denver Nuggets. On July 7, 2016, Smith signed a three-year, $16 million contract to the Washington Wizards, he scored a season-high 17 points three times during the 2016–17 season. The 2017–18 season saw Smith appear in just 33 games. On December 7, 2018, Smith was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team deal.
On February 7, 2019, Smith was acquired by the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-team trade involving the Bucks and Detroit Pistons. On March 20, 2019, he was waived by the Pelicans. Career statistics and player information from NBA.com, or Basketball-Reference.com Colorado State bio
The center known as the five, or the big man, is one of the five positions in a regular basketball game. The center is the tallest player on the team, has a great deal of strength and body mass as well. In the NBA, the center is 6 feet 10 inches or taller and weighs 240 pounds or more, they traditionally have played close to the basket in the low post. A center with the ability to shoot outside from three-point range is known as stretch five; the center is considered a necessary component for a successful team in professional leagues such as the NBA. Great centers have been the foundation for most of the dynasties in both the NBA and NCAA; the 6'10" George Mikan pioneered the Center position, shattering the held perception that tall players could not develop the agility and coordination to play basketball well, ushering in the role of the dominant big man. He led DePaul University to the NIT title after turning professional, won seven National Basketball League, Basketball Association of America and NBA Championships in his ten-year career, nine of them with the Minneapolis Lakers.
Using his height to dominate opposing players, Mikan invented the shot block. In the 1960s, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain further transformed basketball by combining height with a greater level of athleticism than previous centers. Following the retirement of George Mikan, the rivalry of the two big men came to dominate the NBA. Between the two of them and Russell won nine of the eleven MVP awards in the eleven-year period between 1958 and 1969. Many of the records set by these two players have endured today. Most notably and Russell hold the top eighteen season averages for rebounds. Bill Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA Championships, he joined the Boston Celtics and helped make them one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning eleven championships over his thirteen-year career as well as five MVP awards. Russell revolutionized defensive strategy with his shot-blocking and physical man-to-man defense. While he was never the focal point of the Celtics offense, much of the team's scoring came when Russell grabbed defensive rebounds and initiated fast breaks with precision outlet passes to point guard Bob Cousy.
As the NBA's first African-American superstar, Russell struggled throughout his career with the racism he encountered from fans in Boston after the 1966–67 season, when he became the first African-American in any major sport to be named player-coach. His principal rival, Wilt Chamberlain, listed at 7'1", 275 pounds, lacked Russell's supporting cast. Chamberlain played college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks, leading them to the 1957 title game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Although the Jayhawks lost by one point in triple overtime, Chamberlain was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. A member of the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA in 1959, Chamberlain won two Championships, in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers, although his teams were defeated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals, he won seven scoring titles, eleven rebounding titles, four regular season Most Valuable Player awards, including the distinction, in 1960, of being the first rookie to receive the award.
Stronger than any player of his era, he was capable of scoring and rebounding at will. Although he was the target of constant double- and triple-teaming, as well as fouling tactics designed to take advantage of his poor free-throw shooting, he set a number of records that have never been broken. Most notably, Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average more than 50 points in a season and score 100 points in a single game, he holds the NBA's all-time records for rebounding average, rebounds in a single game, career rebounds. A lesser-known center of the era was Nate Thurmond, who played the forward position opposite Wilt Chamberlain for the San Francisco Warriors but moved to center after Chamberlain was traded to the new Philadelphia franchise. Although he never won a Championship, Thurmond was known as the best screen setter in the league, his averages of 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in 1966–67 and 1967–68, are exceeded only by Chamberlain and Russell. In contrast to the Celtics dynasty of the 1960s, the 1970s were a decade of parity in the NBA, with eight different champions and no back-to-back winners.
At the college level, the UCLA Bruins, under Coach John Wooden, built the greatest dynasty in NCAA basketball history, winning seven consecutive titles between 1967 and 1973. UCLA had won two consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965 with teams that pressed and emphasized guard play. After not winning in 1966, Wooden's teams changed their style, he led UCLA to three championships-in 1967, 68' and 69'-while winning the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. During his college career, the NCAA enacted a ban on dunking because of Alcindor's dominant use of the shot, his entrance into the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 was timely, as Bill Russell had just retired and Wilt Chamberlain was 33 years old and plagued by injuries. After leading the Bucks to the 1971 NBA championship, te
Maurice Edward Cheeks is an American former professional basketball player and is an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association. He has served as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. Cheeks was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2018. Cheeks was born in Chicago, attended DuSable High School, he attended West Texas State University from 1974 to 1978. Cheeks was an all-Missouri Valley Conference player for three straight seasons, as he averaged 16.8 points per game and shot nearly 57% for his collegiate career. He is the third leading scorer in WTSU/WTAM history. After college, Cheeks was selected as the 36th pick in the second round of the 1978 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, he played 15 years as a point guard in the NBA, including 11 with the Philadelphia 76ers, He earned four trips to the NBA All-Star Game, he helped the 76ers to three trips to the NBA Finals in a four-year span in the early 1980s, including an NBA championship in 1983.
While starting at point guard for a Sixers team that at times included stars Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney, Charles Barkley, Cheeks was well regarded for his team play and defensive skills. He was named to four straight NBA All-Defensive squads from 1983 to 1986, earned a spot on the second team in 1987. In NBA history, Cheeks ranks fifth in eleventh in assists. Upon his retirement from the NBA in 1993, he was the NBA all-time leader in steals and fifth in assists, he averaged 11.7 points and over 2 steals per game for his career. In his rookie year, Cheeks averaged 4.1 steals per game in the 1979 NBA Playoffs, an NBA record for one playoff run. After retirement, Cheeks spent one year coaching for the Continental Basketball Association’s Quad City Thunder, before becoming the 76ers assistant head coach in 1994, he coached under head coaches John Lucas, Johnny Davis, Larry Brown, he was an instrumental part of the Philadelphia team that reached the 2001 NBA Finals. In 2001, he was hired as Portland Trail Blazers head coach.
He led the team to two playoff berths in four years as coach, but could not get past the first round. He was fired after a poor start to the 2004–05 campaign. On April 25, 2003, during a game between the Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks, Cheeks aided 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert in singing the American national anthem. After Gilbert forgot the words at "At the twilight's last gleaming", Cheeks rushed over to help her and they finished it together, as the entire Rose Garden Arena crowd sang with them. Cheeks and Gilbert received a standing ovation. In 2005, Cheeks was named as head coach of the 76ers. Cheeks was popular among Sixers fans because of his eleven-year tenure with the Sixers, during which he helped guide the Sixers to the 1983 NBA championship; the move was praised by Sixers star Allen Iverson, who worked with Cheeks during his run as Sixers' Assistant Head Coach. However, he missed the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. Frustrations began to grow with Sixers veterans Allen Iverson and Chris Webber, who were not happy with the team's direction.
During the 2006–07 season, Iverson would be traded to the Nuggets and Webber would be released, leaving Cheeks with one of the youngest teams in the NBA. On February 20, 2007, the 76ers extended Cheeks' contract one year despite his losing record as coach. At the beginning of the 2007–08 season, expectations were low and the 76ers were picked to finish last in the Conference by many prognosticators. However, the Sixers clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Atlanta Hawks on April 4, 2008, it was their first postseason appearance since 2005, as well as the first in the post-Iverson era. However, they were eliminated by the Detroit Pistons, 4–2. With this elimination, many fans considered this to be a successful season, considering that the Sixers were 12 games under.500 in early February and went on to have a 21–7 run that led them to the playoffs. The Sixers started out the 2008–09 NBA season 9–14, despite their signing of Elton Brand and re-signing of Andre Iguodala during the offseason.
Due to their slow start, the 76ers fired Cheeks on December 13, 2008. In a 2015 interview with Sports Illustrated, former Sixers forward Matt Barnes referred to Cheeks as "a dick". On August 14, 2009, he was hired as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. On June 10, 2013, Cheeks agreed to become the head coach of the Detroit Pistons. On February 9, 2014, the Detroit Pistons relieved him of his head coaching duties and replaced him with John Loyer on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. On June 29, 2015, Cheeks returned to the Thunder as an assistant coach. On September 7, 2018, Cheeks was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player. List of National Basketball Association career assists leaders List of National Basketball Association career steals leaders List of National Basketball Association career playoff assists leaders List of National Basketball Association career playoff steals leaders List of National Basketball Association players with most assists in a game List of National Basketball Association players with most steals in a game List of National Basketball Association annual minutes leaders Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com
Louis Gabriel Amundson is an American professional basketball player for the Kawasaki Brave Thunders of the Japanese B. League, he played college basketball for UNLV. Amundson was born in Ventura and grew up in Boulder, Colorado, he played college basketball at UNLV from 2001 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2006, missing the 2002–03 season as a medical redshirt due to a thumb infection. Amundson has played in the NBA D-League and was named the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year in 2007. On March 8, 2007, Amundson signed a 10-day contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. On August 14, 2008, Amundson signed a two-year contract with the Phoenix Suns. On June 30, 2009, Suns exercised the team option on Amundson's contract. On September 13, 2010, Amundson signed a two-year $4.17 million contract with the Golden State Warriors, with the second year being a player option. During 46 games, he averaged 4 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. After the 2010–2011 season, he exercised his option to stay with the Warriors for one more year.
On October 16, 2010, in a game against the Trail Blazers in Portland, Amundson dislocated the middle knuckle on his right index finger and had a fracture at its base that required surgery. On October 18, 2010, Amundson underwent successful surgery to repair this fractured right index finger; the procedure was performed by Dr. Andrew Gutow, a hand specialist from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, at the Menlo Park Surgical Hospital. On December 19, 2011, Amundson was traded to the Indiana Pacers for Brandon Rush. On March 13, 2012, Amundson helped avenge his broken finger from the prior season when he was with Golden State and scored a career-high 21 points to help Indiana beat the Portland Trail Blazers 92–75, he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on September 25, 2012. He was waived by the Timberwolves on February 8, 2013. On March 2, 2013, the Chicago Bulls signed Amundson to a 10-day contract. On March 12, 2013, Amundson signed with the New Orleans Hornets for the rest of the 2012–13 NBA season.
On September 30, 2013, Amundson signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. On October 26, 2013, he was waived by the Clippers. On November 12, 2013, Amundson signed with the New Orleans Pelicans for the rest of the 2013–14 NBA season. On December 31, 2013, he was waived by the Pelicans. On April 10, 2014, Amundson signed with the Chicago Bulls for the rest of the 2013–14 season. On July 15, 2014, he was waived by the Bulls. On September 26, 2014, Amundson signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. On January 5, 2015, Amundson was traded to the New York Knicks in a three-team trade that involved the Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder; the Knicks received Amundson, Alex Kirk, a second round pick in the 2019 NBA draft, while Cleveland received Iman Shumpert and J. R. Smith from the Knicks and a first round pick in the 2015 NBA draft from the Thunder, while Cleveland sent Dion Waiters to Oklahoma City, the Thunder send Lance Thomas to the Knicks. After being waived by the Knicks on January 7, he signed a 10-day contract with the team three days later.
With his Knicks debut on January 15, he became just the twelfth player to play for at least ten NBA teams. On January 20, he signed a second 10-day contract with the Knicks. On January 30, he signed with the Knicks for the rest of the season. On July 30, 2015, Amundson re-signed with the Knicks, he re-signed with the Knicks for a second time on September 19, 2016, but was waived on October 21, 2016. On March 23, 2017, Amundson signed with TNT KaTropa of the Philippine Basketball Association as an import for the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup, he appeared in two games for TNT KaTropa before parting with the team on March 27. On December 28, 2017, Amundson signed with the Kawasaki Brave Thunders of the B. League. Amundson has played in The Basketball Tournament, a $2 million winner-take-all summer tournament broadcast on the ESPN family of channels. In TBT 2017, he played scoring 27 points in one game played. Amundson helped take The Stickmen to the second round of the tournament, where they lost to Team Challenge ALS, 87–73.
In TBT 2018, he returned to the team named Eberlein Drive. Eberlein Drive made it to the championship game. Amundson has Swedish heritage on his father's side, lived in Stockholm for a time, he expressed a desire to play for the Swedish national team, but that failed when the Swedish immigration ministry rejected his application for citizenship. Career statistics and player information from NBA.com, or Basketball-Reference.com
Daequan Cook is an American professional basketball player for Ironi Nes Ziona of the Israeli Premier League. He was taken 21st overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers subsequently traded to the Miami Heat. Daequan Cook attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Ohio; as a junior, he led Dunbar to the Ohio Division II state semifinals where they lost to eventual champion Upper Sandusky High School. As a senior, he averaged 24.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game and led Dunbar to a Division II state championship. He was named onto the 2006 McDonald's All-American Team. Playing for the West, Cook scored 17 points in the 112–94 win, he was named a third-team Parade All-American. Cook was a high school teammate of Norris Cole. Cook played with Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr. on the SPIECE Indy Heat high school AAU team. Cook was the team's leading scorer in the 2004 Big Time event in Las Vegas; the team won the championship. One of Ohio State University Coach Thad Matta's famed "Thad Five", Cook averaged 10.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals in 20.4 minutes per game.
On April 20, 2007, Cook announced his intentions to enter the 2007 NBA Draft, along with fellow freshmen teammates Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr. Daequan Cook was averaging 8.2 points per game in his rookie season with the Miami Heat before being sent to the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League in late February 2008. He returned to the Heat on March 8 and in his second game back on March 10 he scored a career-high 23 points in a one-point loss to the L. A. Clippers, he scored a new career-high of 27 against the Phoenix Suns on March 4, 2009, going 6–8 from 3-point range. Cook won the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend Three-Point Shootout in Phoenix, ending Jason Kapono's two-year winning streak. On June 23, 2010, Cook was traded with the 18th pick in the 2010 Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 32nd pick in the 2010 Draft. In 2010–2011, Cook emerged as a useful bench player for the Thunder as a three-point specialist, he was a key player in the Thunder's emergence as a Western Conference contender.
In December 2011, Cook signed a two-year extension with the Thunder. Cook reached the 2012 NBA Finals with the Thunder. On October 27, 2012, James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward were traded to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, draft picks. Cook was waived by the Rockets on January 2, 2013. On January 6, 2013, Cook signed with the Chicago Bulls, played there for the remainder of the season. On November 23, 2013, Cook has signed his first overseas contract, with Ukrainian SuperLeague team Budivelnyk Kyiv, which participating in the Euroleague. In his Euroleague debut, Cook scored 16 points with 4/8 from 3-point range in his team loss 74–82 to CSKA Moscow. Budivelnyk waived him on January 14, 2014. On January 29, 2014, he signed with Walter Tigers Tübingen of Germany for the rest of the 2013–14 season. On August 12, 2014, Cook signed with SPO Rouen Basket of the French LNB Pro A for the 2014–15 season. On August 14, 2015, Cook signed with Portuguese champions S. L. Benfica of the Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol.
In December 2016, Cook signed with Chemidor Tehran of the Iranian Super League. On August 9, 2017, Cook signed with the Israeli team Ironi Nes Ziona for the 2017–18 season. In 32 games played during the 2017–18 season, Cook led the team in scoring with 16 points per game. Cook helped Nes Ziona to reach the 2018 Israeli League Playoffs, where they lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv. On June 7, 2018, Cook signed a one-year contract extension with Nes Ziona. On December 9, 2018, Cook recorded 24 points, shooting 5-of-8 from three-point range, including a game-winning three-point shot with 2.9 seconds left to give Nes Ziona an 83–81 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv. He was subsequently named Israeli League Round 9 MVP. On April 7, 2019, Cook recorded a season-high 30 points, shooting 7-of-11 from three-point range, along with three assists, leading Nes Ziona to a 97–84 win over Hapoel Holon, he was subsequently named Israeli League Round 25 MVP. 2006 high school boys basketball All-Americans Career statistics and player information from NBA.com RealGM profile
The Miami Heat are an American professional basketball team based in Miami. The Heat compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the Heat play their home games at American Airlines Arena, have won three NBA championships. The franchise began play in 1988 as an expansion team, where after a period of mediocrity, the Heat would gain relevance during the 1990s following the appointment of former head coach Pat Riley in the role of team president. Riley would construct the high-profile trades of Alonzo Mourning in 1995, of Tim Hardaway in 1996, which propelled the team into playoff contention. Mourning and Hardaway would lead the Heat to four division titles, prior to their departures in 2001 and 2002, respectively; as a result, the team struggled, entered into a rebuild in time for the 2002–03 season. Led by Dwyane Wade, following a trade for former NBA Most Valuable Player Shaquille O'Neal, Miami made the NBA Finals in 2006, where they clinched their first championship, led by Riley as head coach.
After the departure of O'Neal two years the team entered into another period of decline for the remainder of the 2000s. This saw the resignation of Riley as head coach, who returned to his position as team president, was replaced by Erik Spoelstra. In 2010, after creating significant cap space, the Heat partnered Wade with former league MVP LeBron James, perennial NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, creating the "Big Three". During their four-year spell together, under the guise of Spoelstra, James and Bosh, they would lead the Heat to the NBA Finals in every season, won two back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013; the trio would all depart by 2016, the team entered another period of rebuilding. Wade was reacquired in 2018, albeit to retire with the franchise; the Heat hold the record for the NBA's third-longest streak, 27 straight games, set during the 2012–13 season. Four Hall of Famers have played for Miami, while James has won the NBA MVP Award while playing for the team. In 1987 the NBA granted one of its four new expansion teams to Miami and the team, known as the Heat began play in November 1988.
The Miami Heat began their early years with much mediocrity, only making the playoffs two times in their first eight years and falling in the first round both times. Upon the purchasing of the franchise by Carnival Cruise Lines chairman Micky Arison in 1995, Pat Riley was brought in as the team president and head coach. Riley acquired center Alonzo Mourning and point guard Tim Hardaway to serve as the centerpieces for the team, transforming Miami into a championship contender throughout the late 1990s. With them they brought in a new team trainer, Cody Posselt, to work on shooting; the Heat underwent a dramatic turnaround in the 1996–97 season, improving to a 61–21 record – a franchise record at the time, second-best in team history. That same year, Miami earned the moniker of "Road Warriors" for its remarkable 32–9 record on the road. On the backs of Hardaway and Mourning, the Heat achieved their first two series victories in the playoffs, making it to the Conference Finals against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls before losing in five games.
Their biggest rivals of the time were the New York Knicks, Riley's former team, who would eliminate the Heat in the playoffs from 1998 through 2000. A period of mediocrity followed after, highlighted by missing the playoffs in 2002 and 2003. In the 2003 NBA draft, with the fifth overall pick, Miami selected shooting guard Dwyane Wade out of Marquette. Free-agent swing-man Lamar Odom was signed from the Los Angeles Clippers. Just prior to the start of the 2003–04 season, Riley stepped down as head coach to focus on rebuilding the Heat, promoting Stan Van Gundy to the position of head coach. Behind Van Gundy's leadership, Wade's stellar rookie year and Odom's break out season, the Heat made the 2004 NBA Playoffs, beating the New Orleans Hornets 4–3 in the 1st round and losing to the Indiana Pacers 4–2 in the 2nd round. In the offseason, Riley engineered a summer blockbuster trade for Shaquille O'Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers. Alonzo Mourning returned to the Heat in the same season. Returning as championship contenders, Miami finished with a 59–23 record garnering the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference.
Sweeping through the first round and the semifinals, Miami went back to the Conference Finals for the first time in eight years, where it met the defending champion Detroit Pistons. Despite taking a 3–2 lead, Miami lost Wade to injury for Game 6; the Heat would go on to lose Game 7 at home despite Wade's return. In the summer of 2005, Riley brought in veteran free agent Gary Payton from the Boston Celtics, brought in James Posey, Jason Williams and Antoine Walker via trades. After a disappointing 11–10 start to the 2005–06 season, Riley relieved Van Gundy of his duties and took back the head coaching job; the Heat made it to the Conference Finals in 2006 and in a re-match, defeated the Pistons, winning the series 4–2. Making its first NBA Finals appearance, they played the Dallas Mavericks, who won the first two games in Dallas in routs; the Heat won the next four games, capturing its first championship. Wade won the Finals MVP award; the Heat experienced four-years of post-title struggles from 2007 through 2010, including a 4–0 sweep by the Chicago Bulls in the 1st round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs.
In the 2007–08 season, Wade was plagued by injuries and the Heat had a league worst 15–67 record. O'Neal was traded to Phoenix midway through the season. Riley resigned as head coach following the season but retained his positio
Forward–center or Bigman is a basketball position for players who play or have played both forward and center on a consistent basis. This means power forward and center, since these are the two biggest player positions on any basketball team, therefore more overlap each other. Forward–center came into the basketball jargon as the game evolved and became more specialized in the 1960s; the five positions on court were known only as guards and the center, but it is now accepted that the five primary positions are point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center. A forward–center is a talented forward who came to play minutes at center on teams that need help at that position; the player could be a somewhat floor-bound center, under seven feet tall at the NBA level, whose skills suit him to a power forward position if that team has a better center. One such player is Marcus Camby of the New York Knicks. At 6'11", he plays as a center, but when he played for the New York Knicks earlier in his career, he played power forward because his team had one of the best pure centers in the league in 7'0" Patrick Ewing.
Ewing himself was used as a forward–center early in his career to complement the then-incumbent Knicks center, 7'1" Bill Cartwright. Ralph Sampson, at 7'4", was another notable forward–center who played center his rookie year in 1983. In 1984, he moved to power forward. Most forward-centers range from 6' 9" to 7' 0" in height. Other notable forward-centers include: Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis, Al Horford, Draymond Green. Tweener