Some Heat players have made clear they want bigger roles. Spoelstra appreciates the ‘ambition’

Al Diaz/

The Miami Heat completed its third day of training camp Thursday and already more than a few players have made it clear they want bigger roles.

Tyler Herro wants to be promoted to the starting lineup. Max Strus wants to keep his starting job. Omer Yurtseven wants a consistent spot in the rotation. Victor Oladipo is looking for added responsibility. And the list goes on.

Not everybody will get their wish, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra can appreciate that his players want more.

“I don’t mind it in terms of players’ ambition,” Spoelstra said following Thursday’s practice at at Baha Mar resort. “We should have a lot of players that feel like they can start. And we probably do have eight to 12 starters. Either they can start on this team right now or they can start on another team or at some point they’ve been starters. Or could start with a little bit more development a year or two or three years down the line.

“I think you need talent in this league, you need ambition. I want to leverage all of that. Then that takes me back to what I just said earlier. At some point, to be a part of something special, you have to embrace that concept of sacrificing and sharing in the game.”

Yurtseven, who is competing with veteran Dewayne Dedmon for the backup center role, described practices during camp as “extremely intense.”

“No. 1 is competition,” Yurtseven said. “That’s what everybody is here for and that’s what everybody realizes. No. 2 is go all out. That’s the best form of respect that you can show to your teammate, whoever you’re fighting with. You give them your best. That’s how you show respect, that’s how you get respect, that’s how you want to be respected. You want the other guy to go 110 percent.”

The Heat has two days of practices left before closing training camp Saturday and returning to Miami for the Red, White and Pink Game on Monday and its preseason opener on Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves at FTX Arena.

“It’ll be really important for this team to understand that each guy will have to sacrifice a little bit to be able to unlock the talent that we have,” Spoelstra said. “Once you embrace that, all of this is bigger than each one of us and you can really connect the dots on the concept, you can find more purpose and gratification out of great team basketball. So we’re laying that foundation right now.”


Even before the Miami Dolphins’ strong start to the season, Spoelstra was already impressed with new Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel.

Spoelstra, 51, visited McDaniel, 39, at the Dolphins facility and took in a practice in August.

“He just comes across as really experienced, extremely sharp,” Spoelstra said on Thursday. “I feel like when I was that age and just starting off, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I certainly didn’t know how to develop my coaching voice. That took me two or three years. It’s fun. We really enjoyed going to practice and talking some shop. But then afterwards seeing what the process was. Very innovative thinkers in that building, and obviously their start has been really enjoyable for everybody.”

The meeting between Spoelstra and McDaniel was set up through Tom Garfinkel, the president and chief executive officer of the Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium.

“I really like these trips and connecting with people outside of our industry,” Spoelstra said. “You have a little bit of a different perspective on the same kind of challenges and problems that we’re all trying to solve. So you’ll end up learning a lot from that. And then talking to younger coaches, it used to be that I would never find a younger coach. And so now, I’m starting to turn into this veteran coach, which I don’t want to accept yet. I still think it’s a misprint when it says I’m starting my 15th year as a head coach.”

Forward Udonis Haslem was the only Heat player who did not take part in Thursday’s training camp practice. Haslem sat out because of Achilles soreness.