Will impending schedule dictate the course of the rest of the Heat’s season? – The Denver Post


Q: It’s time for Heat Nation, management and fans to look forward to hopefully better seasons in the future. The top five playoff spots in the East are already out of reach, currently held by teams clearly superior to the Heat. The 14 games following the Lakers feature nine against top teams, at the end of which the Heat will be closer to being out of the playoff picture than a guaranteed spot. – Morgan, New Orleans.

A: Or will they? The upcoming stretch, including the five-game trip against the Nuggets, Jazz, Clippers, Lakers and Suns could be the perfect litmus test. And, yes, if 0-5 then perhaps you are onto something. But just when it appears there will be sinking to the depths (or a rise to something significantly better), there has been a leveling off and reset. So the question remains whether the Heat still have a run in them, as well as how long management is willing to wait. If even with a chance, I would expect the evaluation period to at least last until the Feb. 9 NBA trading deadline.

Q: Ira, Udonis is a Heat icon whose role on the roster is clearly understood, but is not starting center-regardless of injuries or rest decisions – as he sadly proved in his thankfully modest 11 minutes with more technicals than points against the Rockets. – Bill, Palm Beach Gardens

A: And yet the Heat have stood by their commitment that Udonis Haslem has a place on the roster as long as he wants. Even Monday night, with Bam Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon out, the Heat went with Haywood Highsmith at center after Nikola Jovic and Orlando Robinson got into foul trouble. At this point, you accept it and move on, because the commitment is not changing.

Q: Ira, at this point, if the Lakers are willing to take Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry for Russell Westbrook, go for it. Watching this team is like watching paint dry. Zero excitement. At least Russ would bring athleticism. – Juan, Miami Beach.

A: If there were to be such a trade (with no such indication there would), it would be to get off Duncan Robinson’s contract. And if there remains any business sense for the Lakers, it would make little sense to eliminate next summer’s cap space by taking on Duncan’s contract. The Lakers can do better, if they want. Or they could wait and accept this season for what it has become.



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