Q: Now that it's public knowledge that Ray Allen's furniture is packed up and wrapped in plastic, can the media catch on to what the public already knows: He is headed to Cleveland. The general manager, LeBron James, already recruited him in the Bahamas. -- Patrick, Hollywood.
August 22, 2014
Q: Like you point out, fewer than 10 players will get meaningful minutes during the season and only 13 can suit up for a game. With up to 20 candidates before the final cut to 15, some very difficult decisions have to be made on who to keep. Twenty-nine other teams will be vying to be the last one standing, so this year's Heat squad will be about the blood, sweat and tears each member brings to each game during the season. Seeing Dwyane Wade exhibiting true leadership is a great first step. -- William, Miami.
A: And I agree that getting together with Josh McRoberts, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Norris Cole at Indiana University meant plenty. But what might mean more is Dwyane having himself in shape to possibly take on the challenge of playing 82 games, or at least something closer than the 54 he played last season. While leadership inspires confidence, so does having that leader alongside for an overwhelming amount of games. If there is maintenance this coming season, it should be in the form of reduced minutes in games, not outright absences. Of course proper depth on the wing is essentially for such an approach. The last thing the Heat can have is Wade starting sitting out portions of back-to-backs in November. The only exception I'd make there is if Danny Granger returns to a point where he can be a replacement scorer for a complete game.
Q: You keep mentioning that the Heat's biggest need is on the wing, but they don't seem to be pursuing any wing players. Do you think they are going to roll the dice with James Ennis as the backup small forward to start the season? -- Gabe, Portland, Ore.
A: No, they're going to roll the dice with Granger, whose play could go a long way in swinging the Heat's season one way or another. If he can be the so-called "missing wing," then a lot of concerns could be alleviated. I just don't think Ennis is ready for the transition from Australian league star to NBA rotation player.
Q: Why don't we hear anything about Josh McRoberts? He seems like he will be a solid addition and helps bring some toughness near the rim. Maybe he's not an All-Star, but he's a darn solid starter and a great pickup. -- Tyler, Fort Myers.
A: Foremost, because the story of the Heat's summer has been the loss of LeBron James, so even in trotting out McRoberts for a press conference, the questions in July still likely would have been about LeBron. But I do hope the Heat hold something more formal for Josh before the start of training camp. The reality is the he and Chris Bosh are the only Heat players under contract beyond the 2016 offseason. It's one thing to go lightly with the promoting of Luol Deng, since he can opt out next season, and likely would after a solid season. But McRoberts, on the other hand, appears to be far more of a long-term building block.
August 21, 2014
Q: Ira, I know this is not necessarily a basketball question, but why would Ray Allen consider returning to the Heat with his home invaded? -- Steve.
A: First, you're right, it's not a basketball issue, to have intruders walk into your house. But there also is a larger issue than what level of charges should have been filed: What if Ray Allen's wife, or anyone else in that home, had a firearm? That's what makes this more than a prank, and why those young adults were fortunate that after-the-fact charges were as bad as it got. Forget basketball and whether Ray Allen has even considered returning to the Heat. Instead, here is a player who so embraced the community that he decided to take up residence in South Florida regardless of where his career does or does not take him. No matter what Ray decides, the reality is South Florida made a positive impression on him over the past two years, at least until this incident.
Q: The Heat need to consider looking at Shannon Brown. What do you think? -- Warren.
A: What I think is that the Heat have to wait until the remaining free agents essentially hold a summit amongst themselves and decide who is willing to play for the minimum. Then, the Heat can sift through the best possible remaining options. And there will be options later this month and in September, because there always are.
Q: Hey Ira, I got to see a lot of Jordan Crawford on the Warriors, and there's a clear reason he's not being brought back. He makes so many unforced errors and bad decisions. Why are you so high on him? -- Scott, Los Angeles
A: Because the price might be right, and because there's nothing wrong with having a binge scorer when a binge might be needed. But the Heat also believe they may have found that in Reggie Williams, so we'll have to wait and see. With the luxury tax no longer in play, the Heat can afford to gamble with an extra minimum contract, or two.