Q: Ira, with all the talk about Dwyane Wade having to "reinvent" himself, what about Chris Bosh? If Wade cannot put up big numbers every night or be that "1A" option, I think it's time Bosh concentrated on getting back in the paint and scoring more. He certainly has the talent. -- Harold, Wellington.
Q: I'm still numb from the thumping I witnessed in the last three games of the Finals and have been reading articles on the debacle. Now that Pat Riley has told Erik Spoelstra to reinvent himself, will Spo have his "LeBron James/Mavs" renaissance summer? And if so, what changes do you think we'll see next season? (I'm hoping less small-ball and a stable substitution pattern is on the list.) -- Larry.
A: To Erik's credit, he has evolved every season, not just after that 2011 NBA Finals flop against the Mavericks. He certainly has kept the Pacers on edge these past three seasons. Mostly, what he has done is play to the strengths of his rosters. He certainly would have played bigger this season if Greg Oden had panned out, and he assuredly would have played deeper if Michael Beasley had inspired more confidence. So, to a degree, it also comes down to what Riley provides him. Only then can he formulate a strategy.
Q: Isn't it weird LeBron went on vacation with James Jones and Ray Allen, and not Wade and Bosh? Don't you find this odd? -- Layla.
A: No. Don't overstate the friendships with Wade and Bosh as the ultimate factor in LeBron's decision. He grew close to several member of this season's roster.
June 21, 2014
Q: Pat Riley's new criticisms of Erik Spoelstra's defensive strategies bring a couple questions to mind: If Riley really felt the strategy was so bad, why didn't he order a change much earlier in the season? I mean any general manager, if he sees a problem with the approach, he makes a change in format. He does not wait until it's too late. Or perhaps Riley did have such a discussion and Spoelstra ignored it? -- Martin.
A: I don't think Riley ever gets involved to the point where he dictates strategy or the rotation, which is why it was surprising in Washington when it was Riley who said Greg Oden would be activated that night. Also, I'm not sure how simple it would be in midstream, with a roster constructed with Spoelstra's approach in mind, for such a dramatic change. This is all about playing the result. If there was another championship, or at least a stronger showing against the Spurs, then nothing would have been said, and "disruptive" would have again carried the day.
Q: Ira, could the Heat potentially trade Dwyane Wade to a talent-starved team and free up the cap space to sign the likes of Carmelo Anthony or upgrade the roster? -- Luis.
A: Wade, Chris Bosh, or, for that matter, LeBron James cannot be dealt until they bypass their early-termination options (you cannot trade an impending free agent). And considering the lengths the Heat supposedly have gone to keep co-captain Udonis Haslem with the team, I can't fathom any scenario where Wade is moved without his consent, -- Luis.
Q: Did you hear the latest rumor? It’s bad news for us Heat fans. Kevin Love to Golden State for Klay Thompson, David Lee and a first-round draft choice. Is there any doubt whatsoever that the Warriors are angling to get LeBron James after next season? Since Andrew Bogut comes off their books at the end of next year, all they have to do is find someone to take Andre Iguodala off their hands, and Golden State can offer LeBron a max contract, and pair him with Steph Curry and Kevin Love. I don't think LeBron could handpick a better pair to join (young pieces who fit), and to do it in a great city with a great fan base, and a new arena on the horizon. -- Richard.
A: This, Heat fans, is what you'll be dealing with this week, this month, this summer, and (should LeBron continue on a year-to-year basis with the Heat) for months to come. If it's not rumors, it's reports of LeBron and Micky Arison have a slap fight while dining on Whoppers. Ah, welcome to the Summer (and possibly longer) of LeBron.
June 20, 2014
Q: I thought Pat Riley's tone Thursday was kind of paternal, like a father defending his children, but also challenging them and not being one iota scared of what they might have to say about it. Like, "This is the way it's gonna be and if you don't like it you can leave, but you'd be stupid to." I don't recall ever seeing Riley like this. It was clear he had pent up these feelings for a while. He knew exactly what he was going to say and how to answer every question. And yeah, he was pissed. I think his aim was to quash any seed of thought LeBron might have about leaving. And, to me, this is what has set Riley apart from LeBron's former team and probably any other team in the league: Riley has the [nerve] to tell LeBron how it's going to be and he has the "street cred" with what to back it up. LeBron respects him probably more than anyone in the league. -- Moshe.
A: He better. Because otherwise, it's a heck of a gambit by Riley. If LeBron stays (which I believe he will), Riley's position with the team will never be stronger. But if it didn't work and LeBron leaves, it's a heck of a lot more than an error in judgment. It's the end of an era as we know it. I also think it comes down to this: Riley would not be long for the Heat if LeBron leaves. I just don't think Riley would want to have to lead another major rebuild (just like he stepped aside coaching after the 15-67 season). So I think Thursday was Riley saying, "I still want to lead, and I still want to lead you, but you have to commit to my trust." So now we wait to see if an exhale can follow.
Q: I think if the Big Three opt out and re-sign for less money, the financial sacrifices should not be solely on the players. Great players like Carmelo Anthony are available and Micky Arison has to be willing to sacrifice as well, even if it means going over the tax. We need to take advantage of having the greatest player in the game by surrounding him with the best talent possible. If not, I fear the Heat organization will regret it. -- Mike, West Palm Beach.