Q: Is Kyle Lowry going to miss as much time as he did last season? – Jeremy.
A: I selected this question to sum up similar inquiries, because unlike some of the others, this wasn’t tasteless. Players also are people, and that means having real-life family issues like anyone else. They also have the right to privacy. When a Heat player in recent years took time off to care for his father’s cancer, he also did not want that publicized; so it wasn’t. Isn’t that simple, basic decency? Similarly, those in the locker room and elsewhere in the organization directly impacted by such absences are well aware, and equally compassionate. When a player goes AWOL because of bad choices, it comes out and becomes public – and should become public. But, please, consider such family matters in all of our lives and how they divert and complicate, rightfully so, our focus. And, then, perhaps some grace? We’re talking basketball; we’re talking about a game. As it is, it appears that Kyle will be traveling with the team for the five-game western swing.
Q: Hi, Ira. I like how well Caleb Martin has been playing. Is he now as good as Jae Crowder was for the Heat? – Eddie, South Bend, Ind.
A: Yes, but in a different, more wing-oriented way. There also would be nothing wrong with having both, or have perhaps a stretch-four with a bit more height. So if you believe the Heat should move off a possible pursuit of Jae Crowder, then how about nabbing Kelly Olynyk from the Suns?
Q: Dirk Nowitzki has a statue outside the arena in Dallas. Udonis Haslem shut Dirk down in the 2006 NBA Finals. Udonis Haslem had his number retired at Miami Senior High, with Heat players, management and coaches in attendance. Does UD get a statute next to Dwayne Wade on Biscayne Blvd? – Stuart.
A: First things, first. And that means first No. 40 going to the rafters, which I would expect next season. Then, it is possible the Heat take the Lakers’ approach with multiple iconic statues, starting with Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade, then going from there. As it is, Udonis Haslem already has his own tribute in the arena, on one side of the hallway leading from the locker room to the court. So a degree of homage has already been paid.