Q: I'm confused. You list Norris Cole as the only Heat player under contract, but you say he might get traded. So is he staying? -- Henry.
Q: Enough is enough. If reports are true that James wants a max deal and will only sign a one- or two-year deal, let him leave. It is obvious after four years he is not of the Heat culture. There was no discussion when those players got together. It was, "I am taking the max and you two can discuss how you want to divide the rest." What a friend. -- Ian, St. Petersburg.
A: No one knows how it went down, but I would not have an issue if that's the way it did. He's the best player on the team, has been the best for four years, and deserves anything and everything he can get for his services. And if short-term deals keep the feet of Riley and the Arisons to the fire, that's not such a bad thing, either. LeBron gives everything he has every night. The gives him a right to take anything he can get.
July 1, 2014
Q: I understand that the Magic waived Jameer Nelson. Does he have anything left in the tank? -- Joel.
A: Enough for the Heat to take a look, possibly when they're in Orlando this week for their summer camp and summer league. While Nelson's play has declined in recent years, he could provide a mentorship in quick-guard school to both Norris Cole and Shabazz Napier. Or, possibly, he could replace Cole's $2 million salary at a quarter of that cost should he be willing to come aboard at the veteran minimum. It also would allow the Heat to move beyond Mario Chalmers without as much concern. In many other instances, Nelson might not have been an answer. For a team seeking low-cost alternatives so salary-cap and luxury-tax funds can be spent elsewhere, Nelson could have his merits. The Heat bypassed him when they drafted Dorell Wright, now they can make good a decade later.
Q: A big problem for the Heat last season was having somebody on the floor that could create his own offense when LeBron James was on the bench and Dwyane Wade was out. Bringing in Marvin Williams, Trevor Ariza and Rodney Stuckey does not solve that issue. Your thoughts? -- Patrick, Miami.
A: I agree, which is why I'm not as high on Ariza for the Heat, at his price point, as others. Yes, there would be a defensive upgrade, but it's not as if Ariza has been a stand-alone scorer. Perhaps Shabazz Napier can handle some of the off-the-dribble scoring. And I do think Stuckey might be able to offer some of that. But the Heat do need more than shooters to round out their perimeter scoring.
Q: Can the $2.2 million trade exception we have from the Joel Anthony trade be combined with Norris Cole to bring in someone at the $4 million price range? -- Andre, Miami.
A: No. Exceptions cannot be aggregated (although the mid-level can be broken into smaller increments for multiple players). Basically, if the Heat opt to utilize exceptions, it would be one exception per player.