January 8, 2015
Q: I agree with that the Heat do not have a reliable backup for Dwyane Wade. I would trade Mario Chalmers and Justin Hamilton, if that's even an option. We can use Haslem off the bench to back up Hassan Whiteside and Birdman. I have more confidence in Norris Cole and Shabazz Napier at the point than Mario, and I feel Cole has played better when he's not sharing the floor with Chalmers. I'm sure Pat Riley, does not need my advice, just my two cents. -- Chet.
A: I agree a true backup shooting guard is essential, especially with Dwyane Wade likely to miss more time. For all of the Heat's offseason planning and remodeling, it remains somewhat baffling that the options at shooting guard have been limited to since-departed Shannon Brown and Andre Dawkins, rookie James Ennis, an out-of-position Chalmers and Danny Granger, who lacks the quickness and foot speed to play in the backcourt. Considering the Heat are starting Chalmers at point guard alongside Wade, instead of opening with Cole at the point, I'm not sure they agree with your analysis of Cole over Chalmers. And Justin Hamilton would be nothing more than trade filler (say if you're attempting to deal Cole for Iman Shumpert).When it comes to trade chips, I think Chris Andersen might be the best piece the Heat could put in play.
Q: Now that the Heat have waived Andre Dawkins, and given the opportunities that the Heat organization gives to players that pay their dues in the D-League, could we see Tyler Johnson get a 10-day contract? Johnson has been playing great basketball in the D-League. He is an attack guard that brings athleticism to the table, plays solid defense, and could benefit from playing alongside Dwyane Wade. Do you think the Heat will bring him up? -- Gustavo, Puerto Rico.
A: I was surprised at the end of camp that Dawkins got the final roster spot ahead of Johnson. Granted, Dawkins does one thing very well, but it seemed like his other limitations got in the way of his ability to display his 3-point prowess. Johnson is intriguing and could yet be one that got away. With an open roster spot, at least a 10-day could make sense, especially with a pair of back-to-back sets looming in coming weeks.
Q: Does it make sense to make a move at the trading deadline or just play out the year as is? -- J.C.
A: Considering how it looks like the Heat will be battling Brooklyn and Indiana for one of the final two playoff spots in the East, I think any upgrade would help, as long as it does not compromise the planning for the 2016 offseason.
January 7, 2015
Q: Samuel Dalembert, are the Heat are looking at him? -- Milagros.
A: I doubt it, and they've certainly had numerous opportunities before to go in that direction. They already have their Dalembert in Hassan Whiteside. The only way it would make sense would be if they were going to move Chris Andersen for an asset or a draft pick. Then again, teams that might have been considering Birdman now can essentially get Dalembert for nothing. Dalembert has spent most of his career as a tease. Then again, he still might be better than anything the Cavaliers can offer in the middle.
Q: I know Andre Dawkins wasn't in the mix, but does the release of Dawkins make James Ennis the Heat's backup shooting guard? (And don't talk to me about Mario Chalmers; you can't be the starting point guard and the backup shooting guard.). -- Thad.
A: Well, the Heat also can play Danny Granger in the wing rotation, and that's really what you're talking about when you consider how the Heat utilize their small forwards and shooting guards. Then again, Granger also has been receiving minutes recently at power forward. The reality is the Heat have been using a lot of smoke and mirrors to this point at shooting guard behind Dwyane Wade, including the season-opening gambit with Shannon Brown. There has to be a better way than to be counting on Chalmers to handle two such roles.
Q: This is not a time for Heat to panic, but to be realistic about their cards and not try to bluff their way through the season with a weak hand, because their bluff might be called at any time. -- Jimmy, Miami.
A: Well, they still have the $2.65 million disabled-player exception they received for Josh McRoberts' knee injury. But several teams have exceptions that trump that total. The reality is that for as bad as the Eastern Conference has been, if Jason Kidd can keep the Bucks afloat and in the top six in the East, then the Heat could be battling Brooklyn and Indiana for one of the final two playoff spots. And if you haven't looked, the Pacers are right there, getting healthier and finding a way to work past the loss of Paul George. Oh, and the Pacers already are 2-0 against the Heat.
January 6, 2015
Q: Andre Dawkins, Justin Hamilton and Shabazz Napier all are just taking roster spots. Add Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Josh McRoberts because they are not making an impact this season. If no other team wants them, why should the Heat keep them? Better to use 10-day contacts to test prospects with upside the staff could mold into contributing more. -- Jose, Miami.
A: A lot of apples and oranges in your list there. Josh McRoberts is part of the long view, even with this latest setback. And I would find it difficult to believe the Heat would consider parting ways with Napier this quickly, unless they truly did draft him solely in a bid to appease LeBron James. But if the Heat were to part with Dawkins, Hamilton, Cole, Chalmers or even Chris Andersen, it hardly would be stunning. Based on the approach of the contract-guarantee deadline, opening a roster spot for flexibility could make sense. There is plenty on the back end of this roster that is expendable, as well as a pair of point guards who are playing that way, and a 36-year-old starting center who could have more immediate value elsewhere. This Heat team will rise or fall mostly on the play of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng. Everything else should be considered for future impact, as well as complementary impact, with those three players.
Q: After numerous failed attempts, maybe Hassan Whiteside could be the Heat's cornerstone for the next decade. He's young and healthy. -- Greg, Hallandale.