Bosh expecting All-Star start from Spoelstra

MIAMI — Chris Bosh believes the Miami Heat are about to make history. And he doesn’t
care how it’s done.
 
The Heat center is expecting his coach, Erik Spoelstra, to name him to start the Feb. 17 All-Star Game in Houston. He then would join LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in making Miami the first team in 23 years to have three All-Star starters.
 
“Yeah, I think so,” Bosh told FOX Sports Florida after Wednesday’s 99-94 win over Charlotte about his belief that Spoelstra, the Eastern Conference All-Star coach, will name him to replace injured Boston point guard Rajon Rondo in the lineup.
 
Spoelstra has hinted he could start Bosh, but hasn’t given a definite answer. If it happens, the Heat would become the first team to have three All-Star starters since the 1990 Los Angeles Lakers had guard Magic Johnson and forwards James Worthy and A.C. Green.
 
But wouldn’t Miami’s accomplishment carry an asterisk since the Lakers players all were voted into the game by the fans? While James led in balloting for frontcourt players and Wade was tops for guards, Bosh finished fourth in the frontcourt, with only the top three earning immediate starting berths.
 
“Hell, yeah, it should count,” Bosh said if Miami has three starters. “No asterisk. No asterisk.”
 
Bosh displays the same enthusiasm when asked if he wants to start in Houston, the site of his All-Star debut in 2006. That began Bosh’s streak of eight straight All-Star selections, but 2007 so far has marked his only start.
 
“Hell, yeah,” Bosh said of wanting to start. “Whether I do start or I don’t start, people will always have opinions. But it’s all for fun. Have some fun and go out there and have a good time.”
 
If Bosh gets the nod, there will be some upset fans in Cleveland. Due to Rondo being a point guard, some believe he should be replaced with a point guard by Spoelstra, who has the authority to choose any remaining player on his roster to start alongside James, Wade, New York forward Carmelo Anthony and Boston center Kevin Garnett. If a point guard were to be picked, the most obvious candidate would be Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers.
 
If Bosh starts, James likely would slide from forward to point guard. Adding to possible frustration in Cleveland, everybody knows how James bolted the Cavaliers in 2010.
 
“That’s fair,” Bosh said of Cleveland fans being upset if he starts. “You got to root for your guy. I know they’re very excited because they have an All-Star and Kyrie Irving is very good. But you can’t please everybody.”
 
Spoelstra sewed up his selection as East coach with his team’s 100-85 win Sunday over Toronto. After the game, Spoelstra wouldn’t name Rondo’s replacement but said, “I will tell you this, unequivocally, that my loyalties are first and foremost always with the Miami Heat.”
 
Speaking before Monday’s game, he played it coy.
 
“Wouldn’t it be so much more fun with some suspense?” Spoelstra said about his selection.
 
Asked if he might incur some criticism if he named a center in Bosh rather than a point guard such as Irving, Spoelstra quipped, “Position-less.” That was in reference to the word he regularly uses to describe not defining Heat players by their position.
 
Bosh anticipates Spoelstra won’t name a starter until the Feb. 16 All-Star practice. Then he expects it will be him.
 
In the meantime, Bosh won’t be pestering Spoelstra about wanting to start.
 
“No,” Bosh said. “He’s going to make his decision. He’s got enough things on his plate.”
 
Spoelstra said he actually has been surprised he hasn’t heard anything yet from Bosh.
 
“I figured he’d try to bribe me (Sunday) night, but he didn’t at all,” Spoesltra said.
 
Apparently, Bosh is confident enough about starting that he’ll just wait for the official word from his coach.
 
ROSTER MAINTENANCE

Spoelstra has left little doubt about the Heat wanting to sign center Chris Andersen for the remainder of the season after his second 10-day contract expires Friday.
 
“We made this transaction early enough that we’ll have plenty of time to get him in shape,” Spoelstra said of bringing Andersen in Jan. 20 for his first 10-day deal. “But it will take some time. We’ll be patient.”
 
After a second 10-day contract, players either must be signed for the rest of the season or let go. Andersen, who has been in Miami’s rotation the past four games, is averaging 3.8 points and 4.0 rebounds over 10.5 minutes in five overall games and providing great energy.
 
“I’m going to just let it just take its course,” Andersen said when asked if he expects to remain with the Heat the rest of the season. “I’m more focused on basketball right now. If they want to keep me, then when that time comes we’ll talk about it. For now, I’m just trying to prove to them I got what they need.”
 
Miami last week signed rookie forward Jarvis Varnado for the rest of the season after his second 10-day deal expired. Varnado told FOX Sports Florida before Monday’s game he also signed for next season, a deal that is not guaranteed.
 
Varnado, who will make a prorated $473,604 this season and is under contract next season for $788,872, expects to be with the Heat for summer league and for training camp next fall as they continue to evaluate him.
 
“My biggest thing is staying healthy,” Varnado said. “I’ve been kind of injured the last two summer leagues I played with (Miami). If I can just be healthy throughout the summer league and training camp and show them what I can do.”
 
RARE DUNK

James may have been the player of the night Monday. But Heat forward Shane Battier made the play of the night.
 
James shot 13-of-14 for a game-high 31 points. But he was most excited when he saw the normally earthbound Battier take a pass from Wade and dunk early in the second quarter. It was his first dunk since he was with Houston in 2009-10.
 
“That was big time,” James said. “I loved it. That was awesome.”
 
Battier has a quip for most occasions. So naturally he had one for Monday’s rare occurrence.
 
“That one is for all the suburban dads out there,” he said. “I might release a DVD of that.”
 
Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com

or on Twitter @christomasson