Ira Winderman

Ira Winderman (September 30, 2014)

A: Actually, as I wrote, I think waiting was a prudent move for both sides. With Norris, it allows him to show over the course of a season whether he deserves to be paid like a starter. For the Heat, it allows them to get a full-season read on Cole, while also evaluating the development of Shabazz Napier. And the reality is that with Norris to be a restricted free agent, it is quite possible he just takes the qualifying offer of $3.03 million for 2015-16 so he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2016, when the new television money kicks in. Norris is betting on himself. You have to appreciate that in a player. And don't sell Chalmers short. At $4 million a season, he remains a value player for the Heat, especially if he can provide needed depth at both point guard and shooting guard. I highly doubt the Heat would allow Cole to walk . . . unless they are certain there is something better available, possibly in 2016 free agency. The passing of the extension deadline hardly was a game-changer for the Heat or Cole.

Q: It is really fun and enjoyable to watch Chris Bosh's inside game. I'm still not sure why Bosh's inside game couldn't have been incorporated into the Heat's last four seasons. It seems like another weapon that would have made it even easier for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat's offense. LeBron's game /Bosh playing inside was always presented as an either/or, as opposed to having them working together to make everyone better. So was that LeBron's domination or Erik Spoelstra's coaching? Now we know why Jeff Van Gundy said the Heat could have gone 72-10. -- Stuart.

A: I think the Heat tried that the first season the Big Three were together and what it did was dissuade LeBron to play in the post. Then, when he got the ball in the post against J.J. Barea, he wasn't sure what to do. Like Spoelstra often said, Bosh "sacrificed." Now it's his turn to play on his terms.

Photos: Coolio show in South Beach

Q: Mario Chalmers is a far better player as a sixth-man/shooting guard. He does not have to think as much and just "act" on instinct. And Shabazz Napier and Chalmers have great chemistry. Cole and Wade have good chemistry. Maybe this Heat team should play with different "lines" like hockey? -- Martin.

A: Give Spoelstra credit: He saw the possibilities in Chalmers, and through two games (granted, a tiny sample size) it is paying dividends. Similarly, finding the right combinations also means plenty, and Spoelstra may be finding it by, to borrow hockey parlance, juggling his lines.


November 1, 2014

Q: Ira, my version of the "David Letterman Top 10 list" of, "Excuses LeBron will give us . . ." -- Martin.

10. It's too cold here for me to ride my bike to the games anymore.

9. Kevin Love does not know how to do a photo-bomb.

8. I look to pass to D-Wade, but he doesn't play here.

7. Dan Gilbert promised that I could be the governor of Ohio, but he lied.

6. There is no South Beach here. Instead I have to party at the local 24-hour Wal-Mart

5. Ray Allen is not here to bail me out.

4. I misunderstood my wife: When she said that she wanted to go home, she meant back to the mansion in Miami.

3. The Cavs regular cheerleaders resemble the Heat's Golden Oldies.

2. The Cavs GM is not Pat Riley.

. . . and number 1 (drum roll) . . .

1. Coach Blatt does not understand why his plays do not work when they worked so well against Lebanon and Morocco. -- Martin.

A: Well, we now know who LeBron won't be calling when it comes time to script his next commercial. Nice effort. Clearly there is a slightly different take in South Florida than the national narrative. Doubt the sneaker and soft-drink people will be calling you to for their next poetic efforts about LeBron.

Q: What do you think Josh McRoberts will deliver when he gets back? -- Art.

A: A unique game for a power forward, one that will again have Erik Spoelstra frothing about position-less possibilities. With so many point guards who have scoring inclinations, McRoberts' passing could be a major boost in the halfcourt, and his 3-point shooting would be a welcomed bonus. The Heat bet big on McRoberts during free agency in terms of years. We'll apparently soon be able to get a read on that investment.

Q: Don't you think there are too many back-to-backs at the beginning of the season? -- Bill.

A: Do I ever, including the Heat, after their season opener, being thrown into a set of four games in five nights, or the Lakers and Thunder being forced to start with compact schedules that don't allow them to regroup after their injury devastation. This is a time of year when practice still matters, when teams are still coming together. If ever the schedule needed to allow time for teams to regroup it would be now.