The moody Mason gives few clues as to whether he will accept such a change without complaint. He even seems to enjoy being cryptic on the matter. "I've never had a hard time adjusting," he says, "but we'll see what happens." That Mason will be a free agent this summer may affect his attitude. How well he adjusts to being part of a rotation up front with Mourning and Grant could also help determine how vigorously the Heat tries to re-sign him and how interested he'll be in staying.
"It should not be presumed that Mase can't handle this," Riley says. "It will be a test for everybody on the team. If it's only about winning, it will work out. If it's about anything else, it won't. 'Zo's a positive, not a negative. If anybody has a selfish point of view, he needs to right himself."
After the win over Chicago, the Heat had only 10 games to right itself before the playoffs and to find out how much it can expect from Mourning in the postseason. That's precious little time, as Mourning realizes. "It's time to go from being 'Zo the patient to being 'Zo the player," he says, but for the rest of this season, it will be impossible to separate the two. Regardless of how well or how long Mourning plays, everyone who watches him will probably have the same thought: Careful with the body, 'Zo.