Q: What if Pat Riley had worked behind the scenes to orchestrate a trade involving something like Deng, Josh McRoberts and Chalmers for Kevin Love? -- Jason, Miami Lakes.
A: OK, hopefully for the final time this offseason, let me again explain: Players signed in the offseason cannot be dealt before Dec. 15, with the exception of draft picks. So Chris Bosh, McRoberts, Chris Andersen, Udonis Haslem, Deng, Danny Granger, Dwyane Wade, Chalmers and others aren't going anywhere before then. It's why the Heat are extremely limited when it comes to trade chips beyond, perhaps, Norris Cole and Justin Hamilton, the only players who were under contract to the team at the start of the offseason. Don't blame Riley; blame the collective-bargaining agreement. Besides, Minnesota got a heck of a package for Love in Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young, one the Heat were in no position to match, CBA restrictions of otherwise.
Q: Considering the Heat's weakness is at point guard, don't they have to explore Rajon Rondo if the Celtics consider moving him, perhaps something with Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole? -- Humberto.
A: When it comes to trade possibilities with Chalmers and other Heat assets, see the above. But beyond whether the Celtics would be willing to wait until Dec. 15 (and they just might, since there would be so much more available to trade for), it's not as if the Heat have many chips to put into play even then. Remember, the Heat's 2015 first-round pick is headed to the 76ers provided it is not among the first 10. That would mean the Heat could not include a first-round pick in any deal that's for earlier than 2017 (and even then there could be strings attached). And it's not as if the Heat have the type of young prospects that intrigue, such as the Cavaliers had for the Love deal.
Q: Recently, you mentioned Pat Riley's winning-or-misery perspective. One of the more enjoyable seasons in Miami Heat history was the team (2003-2004 season) the Heat had the year before Shaq came to Miami, with Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant, Eddie Jones, Dwayne Wade, Rafer Alston. The Heat won 18 of their last 19 games and there was a Friday night game in March against the Dallas Mavericks when Alston hit a 3-pointer with .5 seconds left in overtime to win the game. There was pandemonium and joy at AmericanAirlines Arena. Sheer joy and happiness. The Heat beat New Orleans in the playoffs, but lost to Indiana in the second round. Fans talked about the Miami Heat all summer. There will be plenty more exciting and fun nights at the AAA. -- S.R.
A: I remember Rafer's shot and that season. The difference is the Heat weren't yet a championship team at that stage. What the Heat need to convey this coming season is the type of charisma of that team. Basically, Bosh, McRoberts and others have to become embraceable. (It could be a bit tougher with Deng, who has an opt out after this season, with fans perhaps reluctant to bond with a player who soon could be gone, especially in light of James' departure.)