Originally written on Sun Sentinel  |  Last updated 10/21/14
Q: Does a shortened free agency period help or hurt Heat? — Jason. A: I don’t think it “helps” anyone, but it’s a lot more comforting when you already have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh under contract. It will be a bit tougher with Mario Chalmers a restricted free agent, if he waits to solicit outside offers. But if he takes the Heat’s qualifying offer or re-signs quickly, that would leave the Heat set with potential starters in Chalmers and Joel Anthony alongside the Big Three, as well as quality veteran reserves in Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller. Of course, amnesty could have everyone scrambling in free agency. Short or long free agency, I would never doubt Pat Riley or Andy Elisburg. Q: What was the difference between ’settlement talks’ and ‘lockout negotiations’? Sounds the same? — Alfred. A: The thin line was you couldn’t negotiate a collective-bargaining agreement without a union to collectively bargain with. In essence, the union now will have to re-form for a vote
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