Q: The Lakers have proven that talent doesn't equal wins. With all that the Heat have accomplished over the last three seasons, why isn't Erik Spoelstra Coach of the Year? -- Vin, Cummings, Ga.
Q: Are there any rules in place that would prevent the Heat from using the amnesty on Mike Miller in the offseason, then resigning him to the minimum? -- Mike, Miami.
A: Yes. That can't be done. Once you amnesty a player, you cannot bring him back until the expiration of his contract that you'd still be paying off. So if Mike is amnestied, he would be gone for good. Stay tuned.
APRIL 17, 2013
Q: Does it give the Heat a stronger starting five by starting the Birdman? -- Shawn, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
A: "Stronger"? Perhaps. But with so much of the Heat's offense predicated on keeping the lane open for LeBron James post-ups or penetration, as well as drives by Dwyane Wade, it makes little sense to have Chris Andersen and Chris Bosh on the court for extended stretches. Besides, Andersen has been highly effective in the second unit with Norris Cole, Ray Allen and Shane Battier. That's not to say there might not be times when the Heat will have to go big, with Birdman certainly an attractive option against Roy Hibbert down the road. If there is a change in the starting lineup, it likely would be a move to last season's NBA Finals lineup with Battier at power forward in place of Udonis Haslem.
Q: I bet if the Heat made an offer to Keyon Dooling (who helped put away the game Monday for the Grizzlies with a 3-pointer) he would have signed here instead of Memphis. However, he wouldn't have gotten the playing time he will get with Memphis. -- Martin.
A: Look, don't get me started on the whole third-point-guard thing. It just makes little sense to me to be carrying both Jarvis Varnado and Juwan Howard, with no insurance protection for an injury to Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole. But they're the defending champion and prohibitive favorite to repeat, so who are we to argue?
Q: At the end of the season could Pat Riley amnesty Joel Anthony and re-sign Birdman? -- Vin, Cummings, Ga.
A: An amnesty move with Joel or any other player would have no impact on salary space coming available. With or without an amnesty move, the Heat would be limited to either a minimal salary for Andersen or the single-use $3 million taxpayer's mid-level exception.
APRIL 16, 2013
Q: Hope we can keep Bird, he meshes so well. -- John.
A: Chris Andersen has been a solid fit, but the Heat are extremely limited in their offseason maneuverability, essentially limited to a $3 million taxpayer mid-level exception and then nothing beyond minimum salaries (Andersen would be eligible for the minimum plus 20 percent). So, first, the question becomes whether the Heat want to use that chip and forgo other options, and then whether the Heat would want to exercise the mid-level at all because of their tax situation. Considering the amnesty money Andersen is collecting from Denver, perhaps he would be willing to accept less. But it also could come down to whether Ray Allen picks up his option year (I think he will). Otherwise, the Heat might have to address a perimeter option in free agency, especially if Mike Miller is cast aside during the July amnesty period. The future of Joel Anthony could factor in as well, if the Heat can find a trade partner for him, or perhaps make him their amnesty cut.
Q: Would the Heat consider Captain Jack in the offseason? -- R.V.G.
A: My initial reaction was, "Stephen Jackson, are you crazy?" But with the Heat so limited in their free-agency and tax flexibility, I think they would give thought to every and any possibility at the veteran's minimum. Still, if Jackson's primary issue in San Antonio was playing time, then that flies in the face of the Heat's "sacrifice" mentality, something the front office likely would not want to saddle Erik Spoelstra with. If a player isn't good enough for Gregg Popovich to keep than he probably isn't worth the bother for Pat Riley.
Q: Riley will give Dexter Pittman Heat tickets for the playoffs. -- Rob.
A: It's kind of sad, but not surprising, how far the former Heat draft project has fallen, released Sunday by the Grizzlies. In essence, the trading-deadline deal in February was more about Memphis getting the accompanying second-round pick (and cash) from the Heat, and the Heat getting a trade exception and the open roster spot to add Juwan Howard. I'm not sure Dexter finds his way back into the league.