Q: Do you expect D-Wade to opt out? -- Brian.

A: Yes, to work out a deal that works for both him and the Heat . . . but only if he is sure that any money reworked will ease the burden on all of the Big Three. I believe the Heat's stars would give up money for the right player. I also believe they, and not Pat Riley, will decide who that player should be.  I'm not sure they're giving up anything of consequence for Spencer Hawes and Marvin Williams, or anyone else of that tier.

Q: If Wade and Bosh don't opt out then trade their [adjective and bad word]. -- Tyler.

A: Which is why is makes sense for them to opt out, so they can control their own destinies. As free agents, they cannot be dealt. And if they re-sign, there would be an extended period before they could be traded. But you also don't blow up a team that has gone to four consecutive NBA Finals. That's where Riley's "get a grip" urging comes into play. There is an end game that can work for the Big Three, for Riley, and for the Heat. That's what these upcoming days and weeks are about.


June 22, 2014

Q: Ira, with all the talk about Dwyane Wade having to "reinvent" himself, what about Chris Bosh? If Wade cannot put up big numbers every night or be that "1A" option, I think it's time Bosh concentrated on getting back in the paint and scoring more. He certainly has the talent. -- Harold, Wellington.

A: First, the Heat and Wade have to decide next season's approach. Will Wade again miss a third of the schedule, once again either start or not play at all? Or can he gracefully move into a sixth-man role, where his routine absences would not have as much overall impact? Much of that, of course, is up to Dwyane, but a lot of it has to do with what replacement options become available on the free-agent market. Also, if Wade does slide into such a sixth-man role, then how would Ray Allen fit into the mix? Does Wade have enough quickness left to play as a reserve point guard (which, of course, the Heat also might already have in Norris Cole). It is a complex lineup puzzle that starts with Wade. Only then can the remainder of the pieces fall into place, including Bosh's role in the hierarchy.

Q: I'm still numb from the thumping I witnessed in the last three games of the Finals and have been reading articles on the debacle. Now that Pat Riley has told Erik Spoelstra to reinvent himself, will Spo have his "LeBron James/Mavs" renaissance summer? And if so, what changes do you think we'll see next season? (I'm hoping less small-ball and a stable substitution pattern is on the list.) -- Larry.

A: To Erik's credit, he has evolved every season, not just after that 2011 NBA Finals flop against the Mavericks. He certainly has kept the Pacers on edge these past three seasons. Mostly, what he has done is play to the strengths of his rosters. He certainly would have played bigger this season if Greg Oden had panned out, and he assuredly would have played deeper if Michael Beasley had inspired more confidence. So, to a degree, it also comes down to what Riley provides him. Only then can he formulate a strategy.

Q: Isn't it weird LeBron went on vacation with James Jones and Ray Allen, and not Wade and Bosh? Don't you find this odd? -- Layla.

A: No. Don't overstate the friendships with Wade and Bosh as the ultimate factor in LeBron's decision. He grew close to several member of this season's roster.


June 21, 2014

Q: Pat Riley's new criticisms of Erik Spoelstra's defensive strategies bring a couple questions to mind: If Riley really felt the strategy was so bad, why didn't he order a change much earlier in the season? I mean any general manager, if he sees a problem with the approach, he makes a change in format. He does not wait until it's too late. Or perhaps Riley did have such a discussion and Spoelstra ignored it? -- Martin.

A: I don't think Riley ever gets involved to the point where he dictates strategy or the rotation, which is why it was surprising in Washington when it was Riley who said Greg Oden would be activated that night. Also, I'm not sure how simple it would be in midstream, with a roster constructed with Spoelstra's approach in mind, for such a dramatic change. This is all about playing the result. If there was another championship, or at least a stronger showing against the Spurs, then nothing would have been said, and "disruptive" would have again carried the day.

Q: Ira, could the Heat potentially trade Dwyane Wade to a talent-starved team and free up the cap space to sign the likes of Carmelo Anthony or upgrade the roster? -- Luis.

A: Wade, Chris Bosh, or, for that matter, LeBron James cannot be dealt until they bypass their early-termination options (you cannot trade an impending free agent). And considering the lengths the Heat supposedly have gone to keep co-captain Udonis Haslem with the team, I can't fathom any scenario where Wade is moved without his consent, -- Luis.

Q: Did you hear the latest rumor? It’s bad news for us Heat fans. Kevin Love to Golden State for Klay Thompson, David Lee and a first-round draft choice. Is there any doubt whatsoever that the Warriors are angling to get LeBron James after next season? Since Andrew Bogut comes off their books at the end of next year, all they have to do is find someone to take Andre Iguodala off their hands, and Golden State can offer LeBron a max contract, and pair him with Steph Curry and Kevin Love. I don't think LeBron could handpick a better pair to join (young pieces who fit), and to do it in a great city with a great fan base, and a new arena on the horizon.  -- Richard.

A: This, Heat fans, is what you'll be dealing with this week, this month, this summer, and (should LeBron continue on a year-to-year basis with the Heat) for months to come. If it's not rumors, it's reports of LeBron and Micky Arison have a slap fight while dining on Whoppers. Ah, welcome to the Summer (and possibly longer) of LeBron.