Anthony Edwards lights up while talking about Miami Heat culture and Erik Spoelstra

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Anthony Edwards has returned the favor to Erik Spoelstra, praising the Miami Heat head coach for what he’s bringing to Team USA after the assistant on the staff spoke very highly of the Minnesota Timberwolves star earlier in the week.

“He’s been dope man, bringin’ a lot of energy, the Heat culture,” Edwards said of Spoelstra. “It’s exciting to see. His first day with the scout, I was like, ‘OK, I see what they mean when they say Heat culture.’ He came in with a lot of energy, getting right to the point, super precise with the details. So, it’s dope.”

There has been nothing but good vibes surrounding the American team at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, including a 99-72 win over New Zealand in the team’s tournament opener on Saturday.

Edwards scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the victory after he led the team in scoring while winning all of its five exhibition games. That included a very impressive 34-point performance in a win against Germany right before the real competition began.

Spoelstra also recently compared the 22-year-old to former Heat great Dwyane Wade, who won three NBA championships with the 52-year-old as an assistant and head coach.

Such back-and-forth comments will only add to the speculation that the young Georgia native will end up in Miami someday. That may take some time, however, after the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft was rewarded with a new five-year contract reportedly worth up to $260 million this offseason. He is one of the rising young stars in the league after averaging 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game for the Timberwolves last season.

The Heat do have more immediate items on their radar, with a pursuit of Damian Lillard presumably still on the table but now also with the possibility of adding Giannis Antetokounmpo entering the rumor mill.

The Portland Trail Blazers reportedly have “no interest” in completing a deal for Lillard with Miami despite the 33-year-old’s trade request and strong desire to play for the Heat.

However, the idea of Antetokounmpo winding up in Miami has entered the fray with the Bucks superstar reportedly hesitant to sign a contract extension with them until he is convinced they are totally committed to pursing another championship, including the one they won in 2021, when the two-time NBA MVP was named Finals MVP.

With all of those possibilities swirling around Miami, Spoelstra may have his work cut out maintaining the Heat culture when he returns from the overseas tournament. But he’ll come back knowing he has a very big fan in Edwards.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.