MEXICO CITY – The Miami Heat will be practicing in Mexico City today in advance of Saturday’s game against the Nets.
Before bringing you coverage from their workout and their thoughts about the city, we have another mailbag.
If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter to @tomdangelo44 and @Anthony_Chiang. You can also e-mail me at tdangelo@pbpostcom.
From Chris, Hollywood: James Johnson looked good early during the San Antonio game. Should he be in the starting lineup?
Johnson made his sixth start of the year and first since Oct. 30 in the loss to the Spurs. As Dion Waiters said, “he was rolling” early with nine points in the first five minutes. After a break he returned in the second quarter, picked up two quick fouls and went back to the bench. Then, 22 seconds into the second half, he was whistled for his fourth foul and sat the rest of the third quarter. When he came back for the fourth the game started getting out of hand. JJ finished with nine points, three rebounds and six assists.
I believe Erik Spoelstra has to look at returning Johnson to the first five. In the past, the versatile forward has said how much he enjoys coming off the bench. But after the Spurs game he said he thought that was the Heat’s “most comfortable” starting lineup. Likely he meant without center Hassan Whiteside, still out with a bruised knee. But just to acknowledge he was comfortable starting is something knew.
Johnson signed a four-year, $60 million deal during the summer. He is 6-foot-9, can defend power forwards and wings and is versatile enough to handle the ball. This move needs to be made.
From @DrJayOrtiz: Do You think the Heat need a trade and what realistically could we get? I think we need to shake it up.
Pat Riley will give this team another month before deciding what he needs to do as the Feb. 8 trade deadline approaches. The 11-13 start is disappointing but it can’t be forgotten Miami is in the midst of playing 14-of-19 games on the road, had a trip out west, played the Warriors and Spurs four times and has played nine game without Whiteside.
Still, unless the Heat start winning more games, Riley may find a way to unload some of the salaries for picks and expiring contracts. His first option would be to acquire a star and you never know who might become available. But do the Heat have assets that other teams would want? Or do they decided it’s time to move Whiteside and make changes from the top on down?