The Miami sports scene is stuck. Bloated contracts have the Heat waiting for cap space. The Dolphins are starting from scratch again, and the Marlins are in the process of a badly needed rebuild.
None of these teams is a contender. All plan to be soon. (And, hell, the Marlins nailed the Brewers 16-0 last night in Milwaukee.) For now, however, fans are expected to trust the process and excuse the dust.
What's worse, Dwyane Wade's retirement tour has ended, and there just aren't many distractions left. It's going to be a long few months until the Dolphins take the field in September and the Heat take the court in October.
You'll need to find a way to quench your sports thirst. Here are a few story lines that should keep you entertained till the leaves start to change colors up North.
1. Will Josh Rosen do us all a favor and win the quarterback competition against Ryan Fitzpatrick? The Dolphins signed Fitzpatrick before they knew Rosen would be a thing. Unfortunately, there are no take-backsies. They'll eat it on Fitzpatrick unless a pathetic team is in a quarterback pickle during the preseason.
Training camp is more than a month away, but from what we've already seen from the basketball-shorts period of May practice is that these two will battle it out. No gimmes. Rosen will have to earn it. Brian Flores seems terrifying, and he won't just hand the job to anyone.
2. Can the Miami Heat hit big in the NBA Draft? The Heat has the 13th overall selection in the NBA Draft June 20. With a roster full of bloated contracts, this is the franchise's best bet for contending during the next two seasons.
The Heat hasn't earned a reputation for draft expertise, but the team has actually done well in recent years. Miami's three young core players — Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, and Bam Adebayo — are all draft hits. The Heat badly needs to add another piece to that puzzle.
Many think Kevin Porter Jr. could be the most talented guy available. He'd go higher except for character concerns. He has the sort of game to fit the Heat's needs — three-point shooting and elite athleticism that can make a play out of nothing.
3. What positives can be taken from a very-bad-no-good year of Marlins baseball? Watching the Marlins spend the entire summer trying not to lose 110 games is not exactly fun. You likely have better things to do with your time. If a Marlins game is on at the beachside bar? Cool. Bored and it's the seventh inning of a tied game? Sign us up. But if we're being honest, there are few people left making Marlins games appointment television this season.
That's OK, though. The bigger picture is exciting. Pay close attention to August. Learn about the Marlins' picks in this week's draft — including NCAA home-run leader J.J. Bleday.
If you want to follow baseball this summer but are bummed the team isn't great, take a step back and do some homework. Invest in the Marlins' future by seeking out some Sixto Sanchez highlights. Then, in 2022, you can say you were there for the entire ride.
4. How will the Reshad Jones saga end? In any other season, the fact that the Dolphins' best player seemingly wants nothing to do with the team would be bigger news. But when everyone has accepted the Dolphins will likely stink, it's not such a big deal. It's been reported as recently as last week that Reshad Jones and the Dolphins would like to mutually kick rocks and no longer be a thing.
Then Jones showed up and said all the right things at the Dolphins' media day this week. So who really knows what's going on? It seems as if the plan here is to make it seem as if he and the team are happy together so his trade value isn't diminished.
The Dolphins' handling of that situation in the next month or two will be interesting. Jones is owed enough money that he isn't all that valuable and/or attractive to many teams, but his All-Pro talent could put a Super Bowl contender over the edge. That makes him worth at least a midround draft pick.
Or, you know, the Dolphins and Jones could work things out. Who knows?
Jones quit after ten snaps of a Jets game last season and then skipped voluntary mini-camp last week, which is not a big deal. But he doesn't seem likely to sport any of the cool Dolphins throwback gear anytime soon.
5. It's Miami Hurricanes versus Florida Gators trash-talk season. On August 24, the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators will get it on at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The game opens the entire college football season and, more important, the Manny Diaz head-coaching era at Miami. To say Gators and Hurricanes fans do not get along would be an understatement. Check social media — it's not pretty.
The two teams haven't met since 2013 (because the Gators are afraid), when the Hurricanes beat the Gators 21-16 in Miami. Overall, the Canes lead the series 29–26 and have won seven of the past eight matchups. None of that matters, though, because whoever wins in late August will be undefeated. Trash-talking rights go to the victor.
In the runup to the game, you can be sure the rivalry will intensify. It's already begun.
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