LeBron James gets another ring. Derrick Rose gets to play again.
In simplest terms, let that serve as the teaser for what's going to happen on Tuesday night when the Miami Heat raise their second straight championship banner and third one overall just before opening the season against the Chicago Bulls, one of their biggest rivals. The Heat will get their rings in an elaborate pregame ceremony, one that everyone well, almost everyone inside the building will be watching. The Bulls plan to stay in their locker room for the festivities, and it's somewhat logical to think they'll be spending part of that time verbalizing some sort of sentiment about emerging and spoiling the party.
"We don't like them and they don't like us," James said. "It's not like it's unheard of. We all know what it is. They don't like us, so we don't like them."
True, there's plenty of dislike. Bulls center Joakim Noah's "Hollywood as hell" description of the Heat, uttered more than two years ago after Miami ousted Chicago in the Eastern Conference finals, remains one good example. The physicality of last year's East semifinal series between the clubs, which Rose watched from the bench while sitting out the season, remains another.
Now the Bulls get Rose back, 18 months after he tore up his left knee. Over the last five seasons, James has four MVP awards, Rose holding the other from that span. And with Rose back, the Bulls and the East figure to be tougher for Miami this season.
"I'm looking forward to it, but I'm going to take it as any other game," Rose said of his long-awaited official return, after getting through the preseason exhibition slate. "It's the first game. It's the next game. And we're just trying to sharpen things up, play the same way but just get our chemistry a little bit better."
Around the league
Pacers • Swingman Danny Granger will miss the first three weeks of the season with a left calf injury. Granger missed the last several preseason games with the injury, and the Pacers said that they are holding Granger out as a "precautionary measure" to ensure he is ready to play when he returns. Last season, Granger missed all but five games with a tendon injury in his left knee.
Wizards • Washington waived the three players acquired with Marcin Gortat in last week's trade with Phoenix: guards Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall. The Wizards received center Gortat and the three players in exchange for injured center Emeka Okafor and a protected first-round draft pick.
Grizzlies • The NBA fined forward Ed Davis $15,000 for making excessive and unnecessary contact with Houston forward Donatas Motiejunas during a preseason game Friday. Davis was given a flagrant foul 2 and ejected for the incident.