A: Mine grows in like Mike Miller's, which is to say not very well at all.
MAY 2, 2013
Q: Ira, when Jason Collins announced that he was gay, it got me thinking about the major impact he could have on a team like, say, the Heat. Collins has long been known as being a great teammate and heavy positive influence in the locker room. And at 34, he's got a few more years left in the tank, and may be a bargain at a minimum salary. Not to mention that I can't think of a place that would be more welcoming to Collins than the city of Miami. It would be a win-win for both parties. Any thoughts? -- Bobby, Lincoln, Neb.
A: If a decision is made, it will purely be a basketball decision. Foremost, bigger, lumbering centers such as Collins largely have fallen out of favor, with quickness and shooting range the current preference. Beyond that, if the Heat retain Chris Andersen and continue to try to develop Jarvis Varnado, there likely wouldn't be a place. Such a decision could come down to whether the Heat could unload the contract of Joel Anthony. I also think Jason would weigh playing time much more than the composition of the community. The most important aspect of this whole breakthrough is that the decision have to be basketball first, just as they previously were for Jason and his employers.
Q: The Heat are going to two summer leagues with who? They have no draft picks this year, right? -- Steve.
A: Correct. Their first-round pick goes to the Cavaliers from the 2010 LeBron James sign and trade (the choice since moved to the Lakers and then the Suns), with their second-round pick going to the Grizzlies from the Dexter Pittman salary dump. But with the Heat so hard up against the luxury tax, it will be imperative to develop low-priced talent, with summer league the place to do that.
Q: Shane Larkin, first-round pick or not? -- O.K.
A: He is teetering between first round and second in most mock drafts. It could come down to what he measures in at at the Chicago combine. Anything shorter than his listed 5-11 and it could be an issue.
MAY 1, 2013
Q: The Heat don't get a few days off, they get NFL-long bye weeks. -- Nathan.
A: Which leads to the question of how much is too much. To a degree, the league essentially gave a break to the Bulls (but not the Nets), by not opening the second round against the Heat on Saturday night, as initially thought. That would have given Chicago a quick turnaround from Thursday's Game 6. Now the turnaround will be quick for Chicago only if their series against the Nets goes seven games, with that Game 7 scheduled for Saturday. As for the Heat, I think this roster is beyond concerns about time off.
Q: Do Heat automatically play the Bulls-Nets winner, or is it lowest seed available and you just aren't giving the Hawks a chance? -- Jakes.
A: Unlike the NFL and NHL, the NBA does not re-seed. Part of the reason is because of the staggered starts of series, to make sure there are always weekend games available for ABC and national television. But the Knicks would get a heck of a break if Atlanta does advance. To a degree, the NBA playoffs are like the NCAA Tournament, with a locked-in bracket, even if April-May-June Madness doesn't sound quit as snappy.
Q: Hey Ira, clearly Dwyane Wade's knee is of major concern. How do you think the Heat should manage this injury going forward? I would assume the goal would be to get him as healthy as possible, or was that just what they were trying to do at the end of the regular season? -- Adrian, Pembroke, Pines.
A: The injury happened so close to the end of the season that there wasn't time to get it fully right. Ten days off should work wonders. If not, then we could be looking at maintenance throughout the postseason.
APRIL 30, 2013