Question: Hello, Ira. Couldn’t the Heat and Panthers schedule home games better together? They both had great seasons last year and deserve to start their seasons without competing against each other. They each deserve their night in the spotlight on opening night. Twenty-five percent of their home games overlap (10 games). I have season tickets for both. I will have to sell my Heat tickets for those ten nights because Heat tickets are selling better than Panther tickets online. The Panthers released their schedule five weeks before the Heat, so I blame the Heat and the NBA more than the NHL and the Panthers. Just like stacking games during the playoffs last year, it doesn’t add to the Panthers fan base. – David, Fort Lauderdale.
A: Which I’m not sure should bother the Heat. And I really believe that teams have different season tickets. The main factor is that both leagues have more flexibility when the NHL and NBA teams do not play in the same building. So, they should first target markets where teams share arenas, such as Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Toronto, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Denver and Dallas. Then, with the Heat and Panthers also involved in managing their facilities, there is a need for other revenue-generating events throughout the calendar. All that said, yes, it’s a shame that 35 of the 82 dates for the two teams this season will match up, including 10 when both are at home, including the Heat’s first two home games of the regular season. But hey, Bally Sports has a new app so you can be in one and watch the other at the same time. No, not optimal. But hey, it’s a business.
Q: Perhaps more content for Marcus Garrett, Gabe Vincent, Omer Yurtseven and others would have done justice to the genius of Erik Spoelstra getting the most out of the Heat’s roster. – Leonard, Cornelius, NC
A: In due time. But in the offseason, you usually have to think big. It’s also about imagining even more from the top level of the roster, whether it’s Bam Adebayo’s scoring, Kyle Lowry’s preparation, Victor Oladipo’s rehab, Jimmy Butler’s shooting. But if last season’s run to the No. 1 seed in the East showed anything, it’s that the supporting cast not only can’t be overlooked, but at times they will become essential.
Q: Ira, given Kevin Durant’s history and demands and ability to change his demands, “I want this coach” and “either him or me,” do we really want to add that to the mix that was so close to the Finals in this year? I doubt if Heat Culture is right for him. – Richard, Rhode Island.
A: When it comes to greatness, you make concessions. Jimmy Butler has been Example 1 in recent years. So, yes, terms will obviously be made for Kevin Durant, as they were for Kyle Lowry last season. In fact, this may be one aspect where the Heat’s culture has changed the most in recent years, and player empowerment has changed the equation. For Kevin Durant, you’re rewriting your own rulebook. Because even though the Heat were close last season, it probably wasn’t close enough in Pat Riley’s eyes. There’s a reason Kevin Durant has led the NBA to a personnel impasse. In the NBA, greatness finds a way (to get what it wants).