LeBron James and the Heat are in Cleveland to take on the Kyrie Irvingless Cavs tonight at 7 ET. Our 3-on-3 crew checks in.
1. Fact or Fiction: The Cavaliers will ultimately retire LeBron's jersey?
Tom Haberstroh: Fact. We're already seeing the icy feelings thaw, and last time out, we heard a smattering of cheers come from the rafters at the Q, even though he's in the midst of a three-peat quest with another team. This much is true: Time heals all wounds.
Michael Wallace: Fact. Some will never forgive or forget the way LeBron dumped the Cavaliers in 2010 free agency. But there is no denying that he's the greatest player in franchise history. For credibility's sake, LeBron's jersey deserves a place in the rafters. It might not happen anytime soon after he's initially done playing, but it'll eventually happen. Maybe not even under the current ownership, but it will happen. Spite won't last forever.
Brian Windhorst: Fact. And if he comes back and plays for them someday, even if it's at the end of his career, they may even build him a statue. They do that in Cleveland; the Jim Thome statue is being unveiled soon and Thome didn't win two MVPs.
2. Fact or Fiction: Greg Oden should remain a starter for now?
Haberstroh: Fact. Erik Spoelstra is experimenting with lineups, and this is the time to do it. His team is as healthy as its ever been and may ever be, so it makes sense to get into the lab and see what they have. If it doesn't work, they still have a month to get back to the original plan. Consider this the Heat's 82-game preseason.
Wallace: Fact. I've suggested for weeks now that the best way to ensure Oden has any sort of regular role is to start him in short stints in the first and third quarters. The Heat need to find out relatively soon exactly what they have in Oden. He's still very, very rusty and foul-prone. And it's obvious that Indiana already has a comfort level with where Andrew Bynum stands. Meanwhile, there remains some guess work and wishful thinking with Oden. Let him start for a week and see where he truly stands right now.
Windhorst: Fact. The Heat won doing it, even though he had no impact, and Shane Battier said there's some benefits for him coming off the bench. Anything to try to jump start Oden, whose progress has flatlined.
3. Fact or Fiction: LeBron's fourth-quarter production remains a problem?
Haberstroh: Fiction. It's not there yet, but if it lingers for another couple of weeks, it'll dip into "problem" territory. It's been awhile since LeBron played next to a fully healthy and fully confident Dwyane Wade, so this is a transition for him. It's probably shaken up the Heat's ecosystem, but LeBron is too good to let Wade's aggressiveness throw him off long term.
Wallace: Fiction. Not as long as Wade is healthy and productive, and role specialists such as Ray Allen can knock down shots down the stretch. LeBron has seen a major dip in his scoring and responsibilities in the fourth quarter as of late. But as long as he's willing to attack and facilitate as opposed to standing idly by, this will only be a passing phase forgotten about by the time the playoffs get going.
Windhorst: Fiction. I don't believe it's a problem, I believe it's a snag in the season, and he and the team will work it out. Their track record in this area is rather strong.