ASK IRA: Why Shannon Brown for Heat?
July 19, 2014

Q: Ira, what makes you or Pat Riley or Micky Arison or anyone believe that Chris Bosh can be a leading man again? -- Len.

A: First, I don't think that's the approach that Chris is taking, has taken since leaving the Raptors. He appreciates that it takes a depth of talent, which is why it is important to him that he remained alongside Dwyane Wade, as well as the type of talent Riley has added, such as Luol Deng. The reality is that in the NBA you overpay at times. This, amid the devastation of the departure of LeBron James, is one of those times there is a benefit to overpaying. The signing of Bosh stabilized the Heat's situation. And the one thing about Chris since his Heat arrival is that when given the opportunity, he has seized it. His play these past four years inspires confidence. And the sense is there is a newfound motivation.

Q: As an outsider looking in, I think LeBron James felt that Dwayne Wade was not a max-contract player. He knows Wade is not the same player on offense or defense he was a few years ago, and signing a contract to stay with the same group without room to change, he would have not won again. -- Mark, Nashville.

A: Which should be all the motivation Dwyane needs, to make those head-to-head matchups what they were like when LeBron previously played for the Cavaliers. And perhaps for Wade to invite LeBron to his playoff games after James' team is eliminated. It may not have been the reasoning, but LeBron surely has provided ample motivation for Dwyane.

Q: Something tells me the A/C might not be working when the Cavs come to town. -- David.

A: Funny. Guess LeBron won't have to worry about overheating and cramping up playing in Cleveland in the dead of winter.



July 18, 2014

Q: As Dan Gilbert prepares to let LeBron James' inner circle overtake his franchise again, and amidst reports that Pat Riley and Micky Arison were holding the line on how they wanted the Heat organization to be run, which is the right approach? -- David, Staten Island.

A: The reality is that when you can wield the type of power that LeBron can, you have no choice but to capitulate. While the reasoning for James taking a two-year deal from the Cavaliers has been the greater cut of television money that should be available in the 2016 offseason, I think it's because with the one-year opt out, he can continue to hold the hammer against management, at least present the threat of possibly leaving. It actually is a brilliant strategy. As for the Heat, they gave James every tool he needed to win. That is where they drew the line. His manager in the training room? Fine. Access for his family in the locker-room tunnel? Fine. His personal therapist brought in from the Cavaliers? Fine. Every whim and wish? Not when he still was part of a team.

Q: When James Jones leaves, what does that tell you? -- Art.

A: That playing with LeBron is a transcendent experience, like Russell Crowe, DeCaprio, Damon summoning you to be in their next movie. You don't ask where, you ask when.

Q: Ira, when do you plan to remove the picture of LeBron from your blog page? It's time to move on. -- Ezra, Falls Church, Va.

A: As you will notice from the collage above, LeBron formally has been replaced by Chris Bosh answering the type of demanding questions you, the "Ask Ira" readers, provide.



July 17, 2014

Q: Considering Lance Stephenson's contract starts at less than Luol Deng's, why didn't the Heat go with Stephenson? -- Arturo.

A: First of all, the difference in the salaries is marginal. But at the point that the Heat locked up Deng, Stephenson still was pushing for more, actually far more. Plus, the Heat needed someone to replace LeBron James at small forward, with Stephenson more of a shooting guard or even combo guard, which would have created more duplication with Dwyane Wade. Beyond that, what the Heat most need in the wake of James' departure is stability, a strong-suit of Deng's, something far less with Stephenson. Does Stephenson have greater upside? That's a reasonable argument. But there's also history there with Lance. After losing LeBron, Deng was a heck of a consolation prize.

Q: Was James Jones even pursued by the Heat this offseason? -- Phil