Instead of taking the villain angle, Miami Heat center had nothing but praise for former teammate LeBron James following his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, stating his Heat are going to miss the four-time MVP.
Andersen, who has advanced to the NBA Finals in each of his two seasons with the team, securing a championship ring in 2013, said he continues to view the Heat as a contender.
“Of course it’s going to be a challenge,” he said of moving forward without James. “But the ultimate goal is to win a championship and we’re still going to be contenders and we’ve got a pretty good team. We’re going to miss LeBron. We’re going to miss him.”
It’d be shameful for Chris Andersen–or any other Miami Heat player–to dismiss the loss of LeBron James. A four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA champion, it’s difficult to replicate what he provided to this Heat team–scoring, defense, intellect, leadership, playmaking, etc, and Birman is aware of that.
Fortunately, Birman is aware that one monkey doesn’t stop the show as the Miami Heat still hope to remain contenders in the Eastern Conference.
“He’s a great guy, but we’ve got a bunch of great guys on the team, as well,” he said. “He’s going to be highly missed. We really loved him as a teammate. He’s a good person. He got a big heart. But we’ve still got to play ball, regardless.”
Re-signing Andersen, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, and Udonis Haslem, the Miami Heat added Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger, Shawne Williams to the roster via free agency and Shabazz Napier via NBA Draft. This may not be a championship team–many are predicting a finish as high as third in the East or seventh–but they’ll remain competitive in an improving Eastern Conference.
Last season, Birdman averaged 6.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.