But not everyone is pleased.
Heat officials learned of the story via news reports, and were dumbfounded that the league would not have first spoken, at least as a courtesy, to the one franchise actually affected by any NBA/Cuba relationship.
Heat owner Micky Arison and club president Pat Riley declined a Miami Herald interview request Wednesday, but another team executive told us, “The NBA never consulted with us. This was undertaken unilaterally. The minute we found out we registered our vehement objection to the league office. Neither the Heat nor any personnel will be participating.”
And now the franchise deals with an NBA/Cuba situation a different Heat source said “seems political.”
Of course, it’s political. Barack Obama is pushing to improve relations with Cuba, and the NBA is participating.
But, to the league, it’s probably mostly financial.
Does exposing the NBA to the untapped market in Cuba outweigh the resentment it will cause among the Cuban exiles – many of whom live in and near Miami – who loathe Fidel Castro and don’t want to improve relations with the island nation? Adam Silver obviously thinks yes, which is why the trip is occurring. The Heat, fearful of alienating their customers, obviously think no.
Maybe this is a way for everyone to win. The NBA still takes its trip, but with the Heat known to object, they can avoid angering local Cubans.