Q: Ira, you can see the losing is eating away at Bam Adebayo. Shouldn’t everyone be taking this as hard? I’m not sure I see that. Has this grown stale? – Fred.
A: Different players are wired differently. To Jimmy Butler, the regular season merely is a waystation to a playoff takeoff point. So, no, he is not crushed by losses such as the ones to Boston and New York. For others, the ever-changing lineups and rotations tend to leave them more confused than disheartened. And then there is Bam Adebayo, who wears his emotions on his sleeve. And these losses are exacting a toll. In many ways that makes him the rightful captaincy successor in the lineage of Udonis Haslem. He practically was disconsolate after the loss in New York. Some in the locker room, perhaps many, care as much, but no one cares more.
Q: Ira, at least the Heat retain their draft pick this year, in case they fall into the lottery-pick range. – Rich, Plantation.
A: Let’s not go there. But you are correct about the Heat retaining an unencumbered first-round pick in June, one they cannot trade in advance due to draft rules. And, yes, teams that lose in the play-in round are seeded into the lottery (albeit with minuscule odds). But there still is a long way to go before anyone needs to be considering ping-pong balls.
Q: Ira, has the Kyle Lowry “situation” actually been a situation for a while or is this just something that we’re being told now that he’s been shipped out? While I definitely appreciated his time here and his game, and we can definitely point to a number of times where his presence, smarts and playmaking directly led to wins, I completely agree that we seriously needed to upgrade the position. However, I always felt like he was trying his best with whatever came his way, and that though of course he has his pride, he did seem to mostly gracefully give way to Gabe Vincent and continue to contribute and even support behind the scenes, a bit like Kevin Love. Further, Erik Spoelstra always seemed very careful to mention Kyle’s overall contributions in his media interactions, so even after a bad game he’d still refer to Kyle as a “Hall of Famer” or “quarterback/coach on the floor” and tout his virtues and the things that the casual fan might not appreciate. – Phillip, San Francisco.
A: I would put it this way, Kyle Lowry can be persnickety, which also was the case in Toronto. Which also is the case with Jimmy Butler. When you’re winning and producing, it’s not an issue. When you aren’t, it can become one. Kyle never was all in on the Heat’s culture, as has been the case with several who have passed this way. The pushback against this season’s move to the bench might have been the last straw. Or not. It also could have been as simple as getting a return on an expiring contract.