Miami Heat RTD: Faces in new places

Mar 6, 2016; Miami, FL, USA;Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (c) dunks the ball over four Philadelphia 76ers in the second half of Sunday
Mar 6, 2016; Miami, FL, USA;Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (c) dunks the ball over four Philadelphia 76ers in the second half of Sunday /
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Welcome to an All U Can Heat Round Table Discussion. Topics today include the Hassan Whiteside’s free agent priorities, if the Miami Heat illegally tampered with Beno Udrih, the addition of Joe Johnson and mascots.

1. Hassan Whiteside said his top priority as an impending free agent is winning. What does this mean for the Heat?

Allana Tachauer (@ChitownHeiress): I was just talking about this today at work. Unless something drastic happens, like say…LeBron James makes his way back to South Beach (sorry, I had to), there is no way that the Heat aren’t re-signing Whiteside. And even then, Pat Riley would still try to make it happen, via players taking pay-cuts and so on. Any player out there who says they don’t care about money is a liar, but there are certainly guys who put winning first. And I think as someone who has been majorly overlooked in his career until now, Whiteside really does put a lot of value in proving his worth.

Kristopher Keaton (@kmkeaton2): I’ve been off the bandwagon of giving Whiteside the keys, so to speak. But he’s been ultra impactful lately. The upside is obviously worth taking the chance, and maybe he IS the cornerstone that take the Heat into the next era.

Joseph Zapata (@JosephZapataIII): Can you really trust anything Whiteside says? He’s basically the basketball version of Rob Gronkowski: a big dumb jock. I personally believe Whiteside will go to whichever team promises him a key role as one of the team’s featured players (Wasn’t there an owner in Dallas who offered DeAndre Jordan a similar role?).

2. Are you concerned at all about a potential illegal promise made to Beno Udrih when he was bought out?

Tachauer: Not really. As long as Riley is in charge, I tend not to worry. I’ll say I wasn’t expecting the buyout at all, but the organization knows what they’re doing.

Keaton: I was once told in college to never rule anything out when it comes to business, but I don’t see any reason to believe something illegal took place.

Zapata: Wow, never before has a scandal involved such a mediocre player like Beno Udrih. Nonetheless, I think this will prove to be a non-issue. I’m sure moves similar to this happen all the time. Billionaires making back-door deals? It’s a possibility I guess.

More heat: Chris Bosh yet another mystery to this season

3. Does the addition of Joe Johnson make the Heat a contender in the East?

Tachauer: Absolutely. Johnson was such a great pickup. And so far, he’s actually performing better than I expected he would. Usually it takes guys a while to adjust to a new team, environment, etc., but the veteran came out swinging. The problem of course is that it’s highly unlikely anyone in the East will bring down the Golden State Warriors, but as far as this conference goes…the Heat are definitely making a case for themselves.

Keaton: I was definitely on the negative side of the fence when it came to acquiring Joe Johnson. I am also willing to say that I may have been wrong. He’s been great in the Heat’s smaller lineups and poses an intriguing dark horse feel for Miami if the impact continues.

Zapata: Well, my initial overreaction was “yes,” but in a calmer state of mind, I’m not quite sure. Johnson is a solid player, even in his old age, and he brings perimeter shooting to a team that desperately needs it, but I’m not sure if adding one above-average player makes a fourth seed a title contender.

4. There is a lot of talk about the Clippers’ new mascot Chuck the Condor. While we are on the subject, what are your real feelings about Burnie?

Tachauer: Chuck is so frightening. Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t exactly have an affinity for mascots, but certain ones creep me out more than others. That nose! And I’m not a fan of the shade of pink they chose either. Burnie is one of the milder mascots I’ve come across, so I can appreciate that. Does he not have a mouth though? That’s a little weird. As is his body shape. But the basketball for a nose is genius. I hope you all saw this, too.

Keaton: I am not a fan of any mascots. Not with my favorite teams. Not with hated rivals. Period.

Zapata: I can’t believe these bags of colorful fake fur are still relevant. Is anyone even mildly entertained by mascots? Yes, they’re fun when they mess up and get hurt, but otherwise they’re largely useless. If you want to see perhaps the only memorable mascot in sports history, look up the old Rhode Island School of Design mascot. Points for originality.