Spoelstra insists Heat did not take regular season lightly, ‘That’s totally off base’; Adebayo, Martin, Robinson address season

MIAMI — In theory, Friday was a day of closure for the Miami Heat, with exit interviews and season-ending physicals scheduled two days after their season came to a close with Wednesday night’s playoff loss to the Boston Celtics.

But it also was an opening of a window to what could come next as coach Erik Spoelstra and selected players made themselves available for interviews.

Among what was said:

– Spoelstra addressed the notion of the Heat downplaying the regular season.

– “We’re going to look at everything, but to say we did not philosophically take the regular season seriously, that’s totally off base,” he said.

– He added, “And I can see why people would point to that, because of the missed games. We’re not a load-management team. There are things that happened, and sometimes you can’t control that. And I think there were still opportunities to find ways to win a handful more games.”

– He continued of the notion of downplaying the season, “That’s just not reality.”

– Spoelstra said finishing as the No. 8 seed in consecutive seasons is unacceptable, “Our goal is not to fight for the play-in every year. We know the deal here.”

– Still, with so many moving parts, he said, “The consistency became a challenge to overcome. And the styles of play were different based on who was available. I don’t want to make excuses.”

– Spoelstra said there will be an organizational study to see how the team’s offensive struggles in recent seasons can be remedied.

– Of the poor home showing this season, Spoelstra said, “It’s frustrating and everybody felt it in the locker room.”

– He added, “None of us wanted this to be over at the beginning of May.”

– Of falling to the Celtics 4-1 in the opening round, he said, “I don’t think our offense was good enough in at least three of the games.”

– As for the feeling of the moment, he said, “The greatest frustrations and disappointments can lead to the most growth.”

– Adding, “There’s always lessons. We’ll look at everything, from A to Z, as you could imagine.”

– Of the next steps for Tyler Herro, Spoelstra said, “I know Tyler. I know how driven he is.”

– On where things stand with Jimmy Butler, Spoelstra said, “He’ll be extremely motivated. Jimmy views things like us. He didn’t want his season ending in early May.”

– Of conjecture regarding Butler, Spoelstra said, “We will be heading into our sixth year working together. I can’t wait for training camp.”

– Of steps forward this season, Spoelstra cited young players Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic, among other elements.

– Of the Heat being a free-agency destination, Spoelstra said, “I think success piques people’s interest.”

– As for the Heat’s struggles at home this season, Spoelstra said, “We’re going to do everything we possibly can to be better for our fans at home next year.”

– On potentially leaving in free agency because of the Heat’s cap issues, forward Caleb Martin said, “Yeah, I think about that. But some things, you have to see as it goes.”

– On the Heat’s offensive struggles, Martin said, “It’s tough because we had so many moving pieces.”

Bam Adebayo addressed the unexpectedly long offseason, “Man, I’ve got so much time. I don’t even know what to do with it.”

– Of the team’s inconsistency, Adebayo cited having the most starting lineups in franchise history, “I feel like everybody handled that well, because it’s on the fly.”

– On his first season as Heat captain, Adebayo said, “You learn that it’s not about you.”

– He joked of the first season as captain, “it sucks,” in light of the team’s struggles.

– Of the current moment, Adebayo said, “This is the time where you really reflect on the season, reflect on what happened, reflect on yourself and what you could’ve done different.”

Duncan Robinson, on his playoff back issue, said, “I don’t want to get too much into it, because just having a conversation leans into it being an excuse.”

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– He added, “I was just going to try to do whatever I could to be available.”

– Robinson said he would have had more regrets if he didn’t attempt to play, even with his diminished state.

– Robinson said rest is all that is needed going forward, “I didn’t want to rest. I wanted to give in whatever I could to the team.”

– Of joining the Heat at midseason, guard Patty Mills said, “It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, my first time changing teams midseason.”

– Mills said the Heat’s culture reminded him of his native Australian culture, “It fuels the fire for the future.”

– Mills, who will be a free agent this summer, indicated he would like to return in a mentorship role.

– Of possibly returning, guard Delon Wright said, “I would definitely love to come back. But it’s a business, so you never know what the future holds.”

– Asked if he would be disappointed not to return, Wright said, “I definitely would like to come back.”

– Jaquez added, “I would say the biggest thing I’d take away from the season is just the importance of taking care of your body and health.”

– Of possibly playing for Mexico at this summer’s Paris Olympics, Jaquez said, “I don’t think I will.” Jaquez is eligible with his father’s family from Mexico.

– Two-way player Cole Swider said of his potential next Heat steps, “I’m really excited. I’m hoping to be another of those (Heat) success stories.”

– Swider said his plan is to play in summer league with the Heat.

Haywood Highsmith, on his impending free agency and potentially cashing in this summer, “It has been a long journey to get here.”

– Of his free agency plans, Highsmith said, “When that time comes to figure out where I’ll be playing next season, I’ll go through it slowly.” He said goal would be to remain with the Heat.

– He added, “I love it here. It matches me.”

– Highsmith said growing his offensive game will be an offseason priority, “trying to be a playmaker.”

Thomas Bryant called his first Heat season, “a learning experience.”

– Bryant has a player option on his contract for next season. On the subject, he said, “I haven’t given too much thought to that now.” But added he “loves this Heat organization.”

– Center Orlando Robinson, who has a non-guaranteed season left on his contract, said the goal remains to upgrade his defense. He also said strengthening his body is a goal to help on the defensive end.

Jamal Cain, coming off a second two-way contract, said he will leave his future to his agent.