A: To start, it would be the scraps that had previously been going to Michael Beasley. But it's safe to say that any addition would have Erik Spoelstra reformulating his entire rotation. Just like the potential addition of Glen Davis would have him essentially taking Udonis Haslem's role, what really would happen is Spoelstra reassessing everything one through 15 to make the pieces fit.
A: With so many proven veterans shaking free, I can't fathom a veteran-oriented personnel man like Pat Riley looking for youth at this stage. Ennis' next chance figures to come during summer league. But, yes, the Heat could add the swingman out of Long Beach State at any time prior to the end of the regular season and have him playoff eligible.
February 22, 2014
Q: Can the Heat really afford to keep a shortened rotation in the second half of the season? It's like asking for increased chances of freak injuries to key players. -- Ryan, Naples.
A: Yes, the eight-man rotation was both highly noticeable and noteworthy Thursday in Oklahoma City. No Greg Oden. No Michael Beasley. No Udonis Haslem or Rashard Lewis. And it worked. The reality is in the playoffs, with no back-to-backs and extra time built into the schedule, eight-man rotations are the norm. I think you'll see Erik Spoelstra make spot use of tight rotations the rest of the season during key matchups, as dress rehearsals for the playoffs, sort of like what you saw against the Thunder. But, no, it won't become the norm, which is why the Heat are looking for a wing from the buyout market and still will create minutes for Beasley in coming games. Just as fans circle certain games, it's likely the Heat coaching staff will do the same on their calendars.
Q: Plays similar to the Serge Ibaka play causing the LeBron broken nose seem to happy so often: LeBron drives, someone whacks at him, he doesn't really lose balance because he's so strong, no-call from the referees. How can so many haters keep complaining that LeBron gets all the calls, when his free-throw numbers are so low for someone who goes to the rim so much, and plays like the Ibaka play happens all the time? The only times people ever realize when he gets hacked is when it draws blood or he loses his headband. -- Adrian.
A: It is the burden of his build and his strength. To a degree, he also seeks the contact, and I think sometimes that is held against him. The Ibaka play hardly was intentional. But, yes, it was a foul -- times two.
Q: The Pacers getting Evan Turner is huge. They clearly are a more-balanced team now. -- Jeffrey.
A: Disagree. In fact, Turner now has to make one of the most difficult of all adjustments in basketball, going from a go-to scorer to a complementary piece. Danny Granger at least knew Indiana's system. Ultimately, Turner will wind up in the same situation as Granger: Sitting back and watching the continued emergence of Lance Stephenson. I still think a Heat-Pacers series could come down to the Stephenson-Dwyane Wade matchup, considering how LeBron James and Paul George could (mostly) offset each other.
February 21, 2014
Q: Ira, Pat Riley never makes a move without another move in mind. So who's he signing to replace Roger Mason Jr.? -- John.
A: Someone. And by that, I don't mean to be flip. The Heat will sign someone to fill that roster spot. But not even Pat Riley can possibly know for sure who will be available come the Match 1 buyout deadline (again, that's not the deadline to sign someone, but rather the date by which a released player must be waived by his current team to have playoff eligibility with another team). The first matter is which players (or agents) will approach teams in search of buyouts. The reality is there are so many teams at the bottom of the playoff races, that only a few teams can afford to cast players aside. But some moves Thursday clearly were made with buyouts or releases in mind. As previously stated, the buyout deadline always was going to be more meaningful for the Heat than the trade deadline. And remember, there is nothing to stop the Heat from eating a salary and bringing more than one new player aboard. Who knows, maybe the Pacers sign Roger Mason Jr. just to debrief him? (Actually, the Bulls look like they might have the most interest.)
Q: Why did the Heat guarantee Mason's contract only to ultimately trade him away for a meaningless pick? -- Boss.
A: Because they didn't know at that Jan. 10 deadline that Toney Douglas later would be acquired, or that there would be more of a need for a defensive-minded swingman than just another guard.
Q: Unless LeBron James has a concussion, I imagine we will see a Rip Hamilton type of mask on Sunday. -- Martin.
A: Or you know what? Perhaps he deserves a day off, since the Heat then don't play again until next Thursday. Sort of give him his week off he didn't get for All-Star break. But, yes, he's already posted on Instagram photo of what he might look like in one particular mask.