A: Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg have been very creative with contracts and I believe that will be the case with Dwyane when he comes to the end of his current deal (with an increased possibility now that he does not opt out in 2014 or 2015, but rather allows the contract to expire in 2016, knowing he may not get the annual salaries he already has in place).
APRIL 27, 2013
Q: Ira, this is the worst playoff season ever, at least eight of the top 30 NBA players are out with injuries. -- Omied, Los Angeles.
A: Well, in some cases, like with Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Danny Granger or even Kobe Bryant, it has nothing to do with the playoffs. And while there have been plenty of freak injuries along the way, from Russell Westbrook to David Lee, it doesn't seem out of the realm to question whether the NBA season is too grueling, just as NFL players have fought a longer season in their sport. Sure an ACL or Achilles can go at any time, but the pressure to play in so many games well may be exacerbating injuries. Joakim Noah, in his diminished state, certainly is an example of that. As the 2011-12 lockout schedule showed, there simply don't have to be 82 games. Now if only the players would agree to a commensurate salary rollback.
Q: With Russell Westbrook out, who do you think will face the Heat in the Finals? -- Carl, Kapaa, Hawaii.
A: Well, "if" the Heat again make the Finals, you'd have to figure San Antonio now holds the upper hand in the West. But I wouldn't count out the Clippers, who have a depth of talent, if not necessarily a playoff-level halfcourt offense.
Q: Why not rest Dwyane Wade for Game 4 in Milwaukee? This will give him over a week to recover. Mike Miller showed he can more than take over the position when necessary. There is no reason for Wade to play injured now. It's better for him to be at full strength against the Bulls and Knicks. -- Bob, Miami.
A: I agree, if the knee is as bad as it appears. And I also agree about Mike, who practically deserves the opportunity. Beside, as long as Ray Allen is available as a closer, the Heat should be fine.
APRIL 26, 2013
Q: How concerned should we be that Dwyane Wade claims he's "not even close" to feeling 100 percent physically? Does he think he's going to get stronger as the playoffs progress? Or is this going to be a similar scenario to last year's playoffs? -- Jake
A: It's an odd situation. He couldn't have looked any more explosive than he did in Tuesday's home victory, then he came out and had a career-worst postseason shooting effort in Milwaukee on Thursday night. For a while, I thought they were playing possum about the knee, but there clearly is an issue. While holding him out Sunday might be extreme, getting a victory Sunday would be significant because it would guarantee at least five days off before the next round begins. When Dwyane has been fresh, he has been very good. But clearly he will have to be nursed through upcoming games.
Q: Samuel Dalembert said that Heat would be one of his options this summer. With Birdman likely to be offered a new contract, do you think the Heat still want him? Maybe he can take Udonis Haslem's role -- Tom, Maryland.
A: At best, Dalembert would be a fallback option if Chris Andersen signs for more elsewhere or perhaps if Joel Anthony's contract could be offloaded. But for as much as Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra talk about the Heat's culture, I'm not sure that Dalembert fits that culture. I'm not sure he has the passion for the game that the Heat insist upon. If there is Heat interest, it would come later in free agency, if at all, and at the minimum, at the most. He hardly was impressive Thursday. I don't know what Drew Gooden has done, but you would think with some of the Bucks' struggles that they would be able to find minutes for him, perhaps instead of Dalembert.
Q: Where have the white seat covers gone for the "White Hot" home games? -- Jim, Fort Lauderdale.
A: LeBron needed them for his impending wedding.
APRIL 25, 2013
Q: I would love to see more of Chris Bosh going to the hoop. -- Chet.