MIAMI -- The reality is there shouldn't be questions, not when you're reconvening after three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and back-to-back NBA championships, not when you return an overwhelming majority of your roster, not when Pat Riley is still leading, Erik Spoelstra is still coaching and Micky Arison is still spending.
And yet, as the Heat prepare to open training camp Tuesday in the Bahamas after Monday's media day at AmericanAirlines Arena, there are questions, legitimate issues about what comes next.
1. Wither the Big Three?
With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all having the right to become free agents on July 1, it is the elephant in the room as large as the Heat's aspirations to become only the sixth team to win three consecutive championships.
Because of rules in the collective-bargaining agreement, extensions are out of the question. Of course, it could be as simple as all three bypassing their June early-termination options and instead turning their focus to their 2015 opt-outs. But those approaches would make little sense from a salary-security standpoint.
Ultimately, a third consecutive title would figure to render any doubts moot. You don't walk away from immortality.
But if Wade's knees act up, if LeBron longs for his Ohio home, if Bosh yearns for one more shot as a leading man, the equation could produce a zero-sum result.
It is the ultimate story of the Heat's season other than the quest for the sport's ultimate prize.
2. The thirst for three
Already the critics have chimed in, some with valid points. The push for the first three-peat since the Los Angeles Lakers consummated one in 2002 comes with many trap doors.
TNT analyst and former Chicago Bulls championship guard Steve Kerr has pointed to the fatigue factor, of yet another grind after back-to-back seasons of extended playoff pushes.
Then there is the upgraded competition in the Eastern Conference, with Derrick Rose back with the Bulls; with the Brooklyn Nets adding Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry to the returning tandem of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez; with the Indiana Pacers bolstering their depth with Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson and the expected return to health of Danny Granger.
Beyond that is the aging of the Heat roster, with Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Chris Andersen still counted on for significant contributions as they play deep into their 30s.
3. Fresh faces as the great unknowns
If Greg Oden can shape up and Michael Beasley can get his head together, the Heat can find themselves with boosts similar to those realized in recent offseasons with the additions of Battier and Allen.
Of course, with Oden's knees and Beasley's off-court issues, the question marks are significant. After sitting out the past three years, Oden is not expected to be able to offer much until far closer to the playoffs and Beasley first must earn his way onto the roster with his non-guaranteed contract.
While the amnesty release of Mike Miller removes a key catalyst to the Heat's back-to-back championships, his minutes for the most part were meager, his 3-point prowess possibly to be replaced by James Jones, Rashard Lewis or perhaps even camp invitee Roger Mason Jr.
Less likely to have an impact is the youth of camp hopefuls Justin Hamilton, Eric Griffin, Larry Drew II, Charlie Westbrook and Jarvis Varnado, who likely will find their playing time coming with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat's NBA Development League affiliate.
4. Little big men
The Heat's move to smaller ball changed the outlook in the 2012 playoffs, created the versatility for the 2013 title.
The question now is whether Spoelstra, amid the security of his impending extension, remains with the approach or offers another twist from his mad-scientist offseason laboratory.
While Bosh has thrived in the middle, there is a toll of banging with the likes of Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah, Nik Vucevic and other East beef. Then there is the question of whether Andersen gets more playing time, now a year removed from his 2012 offseason knee issues.
Beyond that is the approach at power forward, whether Udonis Haslem again will regain a starting role, or whether Lewis or even Joel Anthony could claim time in the power rotation.
5. Pointed question
While Drew has been invited to camp after going undrafted following uneven runs at North Carolina and UCLA, the Heat likely again will go with Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole as the only point guards on the roster.
While their styles differ, Chalmers and Cole both have had issues with consistency, Cole both brilliant and bland during last season's playoff run.
Ultimately, there again will be plenty of ballhandling responsibilities for James, Wade and even Ray Allen. A move to greater consistency from Chalmers and Cole, however, could ease concerns.
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