Q: Ira, I’m confused by Wayne Ellington‘s status with the team. When players lament their lack of playing time, such as Dion Waiters and Hassan Whiteside, and Erik Spoelstra talks about patience, how minutes on the court must be earned and how he must do what is in the best interest of the team to give it the best chance to win, please explain how not giving your most consistent 3-point specialist on the team much more playing time. I really thought that Heat management didn’t want to run the risk of getting Wayne injured on the court before they could make a deal to move him (with his approval) before the trading deadline. How does not playing a healthy Wayne Ellington truly give the team the best chance to win on a nightly basis? Stating simply that there are a glut of players who may all deserve some playing time is not an answer. As a coach you must make adjustments to give your team the best chance to win and there is no other player on this team that has made threes as consistently as Wayne Ellington. — Mike, North Miami Beach.
A: Because the Erik Spoelstra approach is a holistic approach, taking the defensive end into consideration. And with all due respect to Wayne Ellington’s erstwhile effort, he rates at the bottom among Heat’s wings when it comes to that end of the court. Still — and this is where I agree with you — Spoelstra still made it work during some of the best of times when he had Wayne on the floor. But even now, playing 11 has made the rotation disjointed, so I’m not sure 12 is even workable. Again, an argument certainly could be made for playing time for this entire roster, but it comes down to this: If Wayne plays, who sits? Rodney McGruder? Tyler Johnson? Derrick Jones Jr.? Dion Waiters? Dwyane Wade? It is why a trade could be best for Wayne, the Heat and a contender that lands a proven shooter. It’s a shame, because he has been as good a soldier as the Heat have had on their roster in years.
Q: It’s time to showcase players who Heat would like to trade before the trade deadline. Tyler Johnson, James Johnson, Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters come on down. — R.L.A.
A: No, it is time to win games. The Heat have had that as the priority since the start of this season and I don’t expect that to change as the Feb. 7 trading deadline approaches. The league already knows all it needs to know about those aforementioned players.
Q: Is Dwayne Wade the greatest NBA ambassador/skilled all-around player to play in the league? — Stuart.
A: Magic Johnson was up there, as well, as was Grant Hill and several others who appreciated how much the fan element means to the game. As I’ve previously written, even if orchestrated, it is perfectly scripted closing chapter.
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