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Wed. 6 p.m. Heat schedule update; Obstacles surface, but interest remains, in UM/MLS stadium; Fins, Marlins

A quick Wednesday evening Heat scheduling update:

The Heat will not know until late Friday night whether it will open its next series on Sunday or Tuesday. The Heat will play on Sunday if the Nets-Raptors series ends in Game 6 on Friday night AND if only one or neither (but not both) of the San Antonio-Dallas and Portland-Houston series goes seven games.

If the Spurs and Trail Blazers series both go seven games, the Heat's next series would not begin until Tuesday, even if the Nets-Raptors series ends Friday.

The NBA's reasoning for that: Unless there are three seventh games Sunday, the NBA prefers to have only two games on Sunday, to fit into ABC double-header slots at 1 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. If the Heat plays Sunday, there are several scenarios in which Miami would play at 1 p.m. and one in which it would play at 3:30 (if there's a Spurs-Portland Game 1).

If the Heat series starts Tuesday, Game 2 would likely be in Miami next Thursday and go head-to-head with the first round of the NFL Draft. ABC has its only Saturday night NBA window on May 10 -- two days later -- and the Heat would be a strong candidate for that slot.

Please see my story on the sports home page about LeBron James' message to NBA owners today.





Even with Sun Life Stadium upgrades appearing more likely than a year ago, the University of Miami remains very interested in sharing a stadium with David Beckham’s MLS team if Beckham’s group determines it’s feasible.

An MLS source said a joint UM/MLS facility remains a “real possibility” that interests Beckham, and Beckham’s people are still studying financial and traffic issues before coming back to UM with details and a definitive answer.

Problem is, a high-ranking Sun Life Stadium official who’s directly involved said Dolphins and stadium owner Stephen Ross is opposed to allowing UM to escape the final 18 years of its lease to move to an MLS facility. UM hasn’t asked yet, because it’s premature.

Since everything is negotiable, I believe a UM/Sun Life settlement is possible if MLS deems the project do-able, even though Ross has told people he’s adamantly opposed to letting UM bolt its lease.

If the stadium is built at PortMiami (Beckham’s preferred site), traffic would be a concern for UM games because some cruises leave on Saturday afternoons. UM also wants to make sure there’s adequate parking. Beckham’s group is trying to formulate solutions on both issues.

UM isn’t unhappy at Sun Life. But several high-ranking UM officials love the MLS stadium idea because of the appeal of a smaller venue (with 40,000 seats) with better atmosphere and sight lines and closer to campus, according to one of those officials. UM also would consider an MLS stadium near Marlins Park, an option Beckham’s group has considered.

UM has publicly confirmed its interest in potentially sharing a stadium with Beckham's team and is awaiting word from MLS on the feasibility.

Ross declined to comment when asked if he would allow UM to escape its lease. But a source close to him said he would have no incentive to do so.

What if UM offered a lot of money? “They don’t have a lot of money to offer,” the Sun Life source said.

That’s not necessarily so, UM people tell us. A person involved in the negotiation of UM’s Sun Life lease said a negotiated settlement is do-able and UM could come up with a sizable amount, especially if Beckham charges UM much less than Sun Life does. UM pays Sun Life between $4 million and $5 million per year from a split of ticket and suite revenue, parking and concessions and a maintenance fee.

If UM wanted to leave with 15 years left on its lease, that would project to about $67 million. But a buyout would be somewhat less factoring in net present value, a UM source said.

UM president Donna Shalala, who is intrigued by the MLS idea, ultimately would decide if the benefit of the move would offset the buyout cost --- something that cannot be known until Beckham’s group gives the go-ahead and tells UM what it would be expected to provide financially.

Ross has expressed skepticism about MLS’ chances of getting a stadium, especially at PortMiami. “I don’t believe the University of Miami would try to leave because it’s not in their best interests,” Ross said.

If MLS deems the UM idea feasible but Ross balks, this would get fascinating. Would Shalala appeal to Ross publicly or privately, saying he could be viewed as a hero by UM fans if he allows the Canes to leave but would be disdained if he doesn’t? It would be interesting to see if such an approach, and a hefty payout, could persuade Ross to change his mind.


### Though Dan Marino would like a proposed Dolphins job to include something on the football side, the Dolphins have had trouble coming up with something, preferring a non-player evaluation role initially that could expand eventually, according to a Marino associate. The sides will keep working at it.

### With the draft nine days away, the Dolphins dispatched its special teams coach to Laramie, Wyoming, on Tuesday for a workout and meeting with Wyoming 5-9 receiver Robert Herron, a potential mid-round pick who has now had several interactions with Dolphins officials. Miami likes the former track star’s receiving skills (72 catches, 937 yards, 9 touchdowns in 2013) and wants to see him as a return man --- which is the reason for sending the special teams coach.

Among some of the other lower-profile receivers the Dolphins have shown interest in: Rutgers' Quron Pratt, Lane College's Greg Moore and Virginia Tech's DJ Coles.

### Center Mike Pouncey told the team-owned radio show today that he hopes Miami uses the 19th overall draft pick on an offensive lineman.

### Surprising on the surface but not really when you consider the recent history: The Heat outscored Charlotte in their playoff series by 25 when LeBron James was on the court without Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh but was outscored by 12 when the Big Three played together.

In last year's playoffs and during the regular season, the Heat's plus/minus was much better when James played without Wade than with him --- which hadn't been the case previously. Chris Andersen clearly has something to do with that.

### James and Wade were pleased with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's punishment of Clippers owner Donald Sterling

LeBron tweeted: “Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!!”

Wade tweeted: "Commissioner Silver....STRONG...way to take charge and protect our great league."

### Last September, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was the one who wanted his front office to give a one-year, $1.7 million contract this season to Greg Dobbs (who was designated for assignment Tuesday after a 1-for-13 start) and he also told his front office to give a three-year, not a two-year, contract to Heath Bell a few years ago (which explains why the Marlins are paying the reliever – now with Tampa - $7 million this season not to pitch for them). Loria liked Dobbs personally and valued his opinion about the team.

Bottom line: The Marlins are paying $9 million of their $48 million payroll to Bell and Dobbs because Loria intervened (yes, his right as an owner) and miscalculated. But give Loria credit for no longer meddling in baseball decisions. He didn't give the front office a hard time about designating Dobbs this week.

### With a 9-0 win against Atlanta tonight, Jose Fernandez is now unbeaten in his first 19 career starts at Marlins Park. Fernandez is 12-0, with a 1.00 ERA, at home. David Palmer is the only other pitcher in history to begin his career with more consecutive starts at home without a loss (21).... Fernandez has made six starts this season and allowed no earned runs in four of them. Remarkable... And there's this: In 29 career innings against Atlanta, Fernandez has allowed three runs and struck out 35.