Q: Hi, Ira. Can’t the Heat and Panthers do a better job planning their home-game schedules together? They both had great seasons last year and deserve to start their seasons without competing with one another. They each deserve their night in the limelight on opening night. Twenty-five percent of their home games overlap, (10 games). I have season tickets to both. I will have to sell my tickets to the Heat on those ten nights because Heat tickets sell better than Panther tickets do online. The Panthers came out with their schedule five weeks before the Heat, so I blame the Heat and the NBA for this more than the NHL and the Panthers. Just like the overlap of games during the playoffs last year, it’s not helping to grow the fan base for the Panthers. – David, Fort Lauderdale.
A: Which I’m not sure should be the Heat’s concern. And I do believe the teams have divergent season-ticket bases. The primary factor is that both leagues have greater flexibility when NHL and NBA teams don’t play in the same building. So first they have to navigate the 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 with the management of their facilities, there is the need for other revenue-earning events throughout the calendar. All of that said, yes, it is a shame that there will be overlaps on 35 of the 82 dates for the two teams this season, including 10 when both are at home, including the Heat’s first two regular-season home games. But, hey, Bally Sports has a new app, so you can be at one and watch the other simultaneously. No, not optimal. But, hey, it’s business.
Q: Maybe more content on the upside of Marcus Garrett, Gabe Vincent, Omer Yurtseven, et al would give credit to how the genius of Erik Spoelstra gets the most out of the Heat roster. – Leonard, Cornelius, N.C.
A: In due time. But the offseason generally is about thinking big. It also is about imagining even more from the top tier of the roster, be it Bam Adebayo’s scoring, Kyle Lowry’s conditioning, 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 was that the ancillary pieces not only can’t be overlooked, but at times will become essential.
Q: Ira, given Kevin Durant’s history and demands and ability to change his demands, “I want this coach” and “it’s either him or me,” do we really want to add that to the mix that came so close to the Finals this year? I question if the Heat Culture is a fit 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, accommodations clearly would be made for Kevin Durant, just as they were made last season for Kyle Lowry. In fact, that may be the one aspect where Heat Culture has changed the most in recent years, with player empowerment altering the equation. For Kevin Durant, you rewrite your rulebook. Because as close as the Heat got last season, in the eyes of Pat Riley it likely was not close enough. There is a reason Kevin Durant has brought the NBA to a personnel standstill. In the NBA, greatness finds a way (to get whatever they want).
Source: Berkshire mont