A: Chris Bosh can rebound, and will have to. Josh McRoberts can rebound, and will be needed to. Luol Deng can rebound, and that is part of his allure in replacing LeBron James. Dwyane Wade used to rebound, and the hope is he will again. The real question is whether the Heat have the needed height to get the one rebound they have to get at the end of a close game. And that is a matter that remains unresolved. I agree.
September 10, 2014
Q: Ira, I was wondering why you list Norris Cole as your trading chip instead of Mario Chalmers? Is it because Norris has more worth on the trade market, or do you think Chalmers is a better fit for the Heat long term? -- Juan, Denver.
A: Cole is the only proven quantity on this roster who can be dealt before Dec. 15 (players signed in the offseason cannot be traded until then). This is not a matter of taking sides between Chalmers or Cole, nor is there even such a need. In fact, if you're asking what point guard could have the greatest impact on the Heat's personnel flexibility, an argument could be made that it's Shabazz Napier. Should Napier be able to move past his summer-league shooting struggles and prove NBA ready early on, it would give the Heat the flexibility to either thin their situation at point guard to address greater needs, or allow Chalmers to potentially emerge as a candidate for additional time at shooting guard.
Q: Ira, I don't know if Danny Ferry's comments about Luol Deng will get Deng fired up to play Atlanta this season, but I wonder what Erik Spoelstra's "brotherhood " speech will be before that game, like when LeBron James went back to play Cleveland or Chris Bosh to Toronto. -- Matt.
A: First, it remains to be seen what the fallout will be for Ferry. Beyond that, I think this is far too delicate a situation for Spoelstra or anyone in the Heat organization to turn into a rallying cry. This is not a case of proving something to management of a team that bypassed or shortchanged a former player; this is something that transcends pregame speeches. I would expect the Heat to downplay any Deng angle going into games against the Hawks. What will matter in those games against Atlanta is that they are against a division rival, and winning the Southeast no longer is a given for the Heat, in the absence of LeBron James.
Q: If the Heat start the season at four wins and 20 losses do you see them trading away several of their old players? -- Luis, Miami.
A: Um, yeah, that's not happening. They have the comfort of playing Philadelphia, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Orlando early in the schedule, and plenty of other favorable matchups. Plus, with Ray Allen not expected back and Shane Battier having retired, it's not as if there are many, if any, "old" players beyond, say, Chris Andersen. I think this staff and front office will keep these players well apprised of what many are saying about them and I would expect statements to be made early in the season.
September 9, 2014
Q: So is there no room for Wayne Ellington at this point? Looking at the fact that he's young, plays D, is a great 3-point shooter and is a guard that can play behind Dwyane Wade seems like more than enough of a reason to waive one of the non-guaranteed contracts. -- Bryant, Mountain View, Calif.
A: Hey, give me Wayne Ellington, Andray Blatche and Ramon Sessions and I'll have no trouble making the cuts to get down to the maximum 15 by the Oct. 29 season opener. There still is plenty of flexibility with this roster, and the luxury tax will not be a factor this season.
Q: Ira, I was going over the Heat's roster again on-line. I may be crazy but I think they are Top 4 in the East and one or two moves away from being a championship contender. -- Jose, Coral Gables.
A: I think the "one or two moves away" portion of the offseason is over. The Heat are not in position for game-changing moves, at least until the majority of the roster becomes trade eligible on Dec. 15. But all of that said, you certain can make a reasoned argument for the Heat contending for one of the top four spots in the East. I'd put Cleveland and Chicago in a top tier of their own, then could see the Heat at least contending for the third or fourth seeds in a group that includes Washington and Toronto (Charlotte certainly could push into that group, as well). What still has me wondering is what the possibilities would have been like had the Heat retained LeBron James and added Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger to the mix. But it's probably time to move on in that regard.
Q: So Dwyane Wade is on safari on his honeymoon three weeks before the start of camp? Is that what you want from your co-captain? -- Al.
A: First, I never begrudge anyone time away from work with Gabrielle Union. Beyond that, it is not unusual for players, or even coaches, to get away from what will be at least eight months of near constant work. What matters is the type of shape players are in when they return. This is Dwyane's time. Soon it will be the Heat's. For the moment, he only needs to be on his own clock.
September 8, 2014