Miami Heat news, updates: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh prepare for NBA championship defense

The core is intact, save for Ronny Turiaf taking his towel waving to the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency. Otherwise, this remains same as it ever was since those fateful nights in early July 2010: a story of what LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can deliver as a trio, a pair of NBA Finals appearances and that 2012 NBA championship now in the books.

Still, this is a league that never stands still, something the Heat are all too familiar with, having gone four seasons without winning a playoff series after taking the 2006 championship.

So, yes, there are questions, because there always are in the NBA.

In advance of camp we offer 10.

1. Will the Heat start how they finished?

This is perhaps the most intriguing issue heading into camp.

It is one thing to play Bosh at center, Shane Battier at power forward and push James to the limit over the final two weeks of the postseason.

It is another to do it for nine months.

While Bosh likely will stay at center, it will be interesting to see how coach Erik Spoelstra rounds out his power rotation during the regular season, whether he commits to nine months of "position-less" small ball, or whether he again saves his best for last, adopting a more convention look over the conventional stages of the season.

2. Will the rotation remain similar?

Not after Pat Riley seized the moment early during free agency by snapping up Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.

Riley and Spoelstra essentially have acknowledged promising starter's minutes to Allen in a reserve role. That could mean less Mike Miller, perhaps less Norris Cole and possibly even less (if that's possible) James Jones.

Similarly, with his 3-point stroke, Lewis could add a redefining element to the power rotation, possibly at the expense Udonis Haslem 's minutes.

3. Does the regular season matter?

Hopefully someone asks this of Spoelstra during Friday's media day, if only to see some early fire.

Then again, what the Heat say and what they do might be two different things.

As a player said privately in recent days, this roster is so loaded that a top-four, or even top-two, seed in the Eastern Conference almost seems a given, so why push such a veteran core?

The veteran said he could see the lone exception in easing through the regular season being how much of priority James places on trying to repeat as Most Valuable Player.

4. Does the preseason matter?

Not as much to the likes of James, Wade and Bosh, or perhaps even proven veterans such as Mario Chalmers, Battier, Miller, Allen, Lewis and Haslem. But with minutes expected to be scant beyond the primary rotation, camp might be the only chance for players such as Cole, Jones and Terrel Harris to make statements.

Camp also will be about survival for the likes of Dexter Pittman, Mickell Gladness, Josh Harrellson, Garrett Temple, Jarvis Varnado and Harris.

5. Who will benefit most from camp?

For Cole and Harris, this will be their first true NBA training camp, with last season's camps reduced to a week in December due to the lockout. The extra teaching, and conditioning, time also could benefit Pittman.

To a degree, Allen also will have to relearn his game. Known mostly for coming off screens, most of Allen's shots are expected to come on open, standstill looks.

6. Will the season-opening roster be the season-ending roster?

Based on the way the Heat shied from high-profile big men in free agency, it is possible they instead make their annual in-season move for height, as they did two seasons ago for Erick Dampier and last season for Turiaf.

That is among the reasons, like last season, the Heat most likely will carry at least two players on non-guaranteed deals into the regular season.

That way, come Dec. 15, when most free agents signed in the offseason can be dealt, or the post-trade-deadline buyout period in February, there can be flexibility in place.

7. How's the health?

With a veteran roster, this will not be an issue reserved solely for camp.

For now, Wade enters promising a gradual return from his July knee surgery. Similarly, Allen is returning from July ankle surgery. Then there is Miller's skeletal bag o' misery and Cole's lingering groin issue.

8. Who gets to keep the Heat's frequent-flier miles?

That's a reasonable question with a preseason schedule that not only takes the Heat to China for a pair of exhibitions against the Los Angeles Clippers, but also to non-NBA venues Kansas City and Raleigh, N.C.

Such is the price the Heat, and the NBA, are paying for last year's lockout, with all overseas preseason travel canceled last year and the games in Kansas City and Raleigh makeup games for scheduled 2011 exhibitions.

Factor in an exhibition in Atlanta and three at home and it will be interesting to see how much, or

how little, the Heat's stars are on display prior to the Oct. 30 season opener against the visiting Celtics.

9. What's the preseason schedule?

A. Oct. 7 at Atlanta, 2 p.m.; Oct. 11 vs. L.A. Clippers, Beijing, 7:30 a.m.; Oct. 14 vs. Clippers, Shanghai, 12:30 a.m.; Oct. 18 vs. Detroit, AmericanAirlines Arena, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 20 vs. San Antonio, AmericanAirlines Arena, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 23 vs. Charlotte, Raleigh, N.C., 7 p.m.; Oct. 24 vs. Washington, Kansas City, Mo., 8:30 p.m.; Oct. 26 vs. New Orleans, AmericanAirlines Arena, 8 p.m.

10. Where does the roster currently stand?

A.: James, Wade, Bosh, Battier, Chalmers, Haslem, Allen, Lewis, Miller, Joel Anthony, Jones, Cole, Pittman, Gladness, Varnado, Harrellson, Harris and Temple.


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