- Michael Wallace, ESPN Staff Writer
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Chris Bosh insists he's so committed to helping the Miami Heat rebound from their recent struggles that he's willing to remove himself from the equation if he's considered the source of the problem.
Bosh stopped short of suggesting Wednesday that he'd be willing to come off the bench. But in the midst of one of the worst rebounding seasons of his career, the 10-year veteran said he would support changes to the roster or rotation if the Heat found someone who could do a better job.
“Put rebounders in there, and we're going to rebound,” Bosh said after the Heat's practice in advance of Thursday's game against the Trail Blazers. “And if that's not me, I'm all for making this team better. If Coach needs to put somebody else in that's going to rebound better, then I'm all for it. If I'm lacking on my job and it's not me, and I'm not a good rebounder out there, I'm not what this team needs, then maybe I need to sit and learn some more.”
Bosh's comments Wednesday came a day after he finished with just five rebounds in 36 minutes Tuesday during an 87-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers, who became the latest team to expose the Heat's problems on the boards and the road.
The Pacers outrebounded the Heat 55-36, including 22 on the offensive glass, the most allowed by Miami all season. The Heat have lost four of their past seven games, a stretch that has included three occasions when they were outrebounded by at least 17 boards.
Moments after the loss to the Pacers, Bosh suggested the defending champion Heat wouldn't win a playoff series the way they've been playing. But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who has repeatedly defended Bosh amid the team's overall rebounding woes, said Wednesday it's time to move away from diagnosing the problems and begin to solve them.
After traveling overnight from Indiana to Portland and arriving at the team's hotel early Wednesday morning, players anticipated a light practice and film session when they entered the Rose Garden for an afternoon workout.
Spoelstra had something different in store.
“It was a day for us to get in here and hit each other,” Spoelstra said of the team's approach to addressing concerns. “Nothing more than that. No film. No talk. We just needed to get back to working. The thing about this team is we've always shown an ability and an honesty to own it. We're not hiding from what's been going on. We've talked about it enough. So let's get the pads up, mouth guards in, braces on and let's hit. Let's work to fix it.”
Spoelstra said the team didn't necessarily need to address some of the comments players have made in questioning the system and their roles in it after recent losses. Bosh's statements about the team not being good enough right now to win a playoff series, however, did garner some attention.
“We all get frustrated in the heat of the moment after the game,” Spoelstra said. “All of the talking won't change it.”
But that hasn't stopped the dialogue from flowing between the team's marquee players. Asked if he felt it was a good idea for players to publicly express their frustrations, forward LeBron James said “Yeah, absolutely.”
“It's not like we do it behind each others' backs,” James said. “We say it to each others' face. We have that friendship, that brotherhood where we'll say it to your face. You don't like to hear it all the time, but it's for the better of the team. When you have that history with guys, it makes it a lot more comfortable when you know you can say what you want to say and guys won't take it that personally.”
Even during their recent slide of sorts, the players and Spoelstra have maintained that the team's priority would be to fix their problems from within. That appears to be the case with the team's roster decisions the past few days.
After releasing guard Terrel Harris and center Josh Harrellson last week to free up two roster spots for flexibility, the Heat signed former training camp invitee Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract Wednesday and were strongly considering re-signing Harrellson to a similar deal.
Those moves bring the roster back to the NBA maximum of 15 players, meaning Miami has moved -- for now -- from recent interest in free-agent veteran Chris Andersen, who worked out for the Heat earlier this week.
James said he didn't believe there were any free agents currently available who could help the Heat right now.
“This is who we have,” James said. “Ain't nobody outside. Who's out there? If it was somebody out there, they would have been gotten picked up. You know, this is who we've got. And as a collective group, we have to figure it out.”
For Dwyane Wade, this is just another dose of adversity the Heat have to face and overcome. They've been here before.
“It's not new,” Wade said. “It might have a different face, a different topic. But it's the same thing you go through, and you have to go through it. It's frustrating, but I don't mind going through it. I know that if you've got the team that's good enough, you've got the players that are good enough and you want to do it, you'll come out of it better.”