Q: Ira, I’m disappointed. Pat Riley had every opportunity Monday to send a message to Donovan Mitchell, just like he did to LeBron James, and didn’t. He didn’t have to use his name, he could have just said, “We could use a 6-1 guard from the Western Conference who Dwyane Wade has worked with.” – Franklin.
A: Considering the NBA’s sensitivity to tampering, and considering the Heat are in danger of being in recidivist territory after being docked a second-round pick in the upcoming draft after their haste in landing Kyle Lowry last summer, I’m not sure sending messages any longer is a Pat Riley priority. In fact, with Donovan Mitchell under contract to the Jazz for another three seasons, it’s not as if the Heat are in position to force Utah’s hand. Until Donovan sends a clear signal that he wants to be moved (if he wants to be moved), I don’t think you overplay your hand. First, that could adversely affect those you might toss into a deal, in case a deal isn’t made. And it also would set you up as having come up short again. If there was a deal to be made, it likely would come down to the degree of Utah interest in Tyler Herro. About the best I could see from that Heat standpoint would be an offer of Herro, Duncan Robinson (to make salaries work), two first-round picks (including either picking for or dealing this year’s first-rounder) and perhaps one prospect from the Heat’s group of Max Strus or Gabe Vincent or Omer Yurtseven.
Q: Pat Riley always said that Micky Arison would spend to get the Heat a championship if they were close. Isn’t now the time to go into the luxury tax to get Jimmy Butler and the team to the top? Where would Golden State be if they had remained below the tax? – Bob, Davie.
A: But you can’t just spend to go into the tax. You have to have the means to do so. For the Heat, going into the tax likely would be because of new contracts for Victor Oladipo, Caleb Martin and P.J. Tucker. Is that enough to make it worth going into the tax? It’s not as if the Heat can dole out $30 million for a free agent. They don’t have the cap space to do so. About their only large cash outlay would be the $10 million mid-level exception.
Q: Let’s not put 2021-22 in the rear view mirror before we understand how really great this team made it. The reality is that with our older players, P.J. Tucker and Kyle Lowry especially, we need reliable backups to ensure our starters are ready for the playoffs. Hopefully, Lowry will be in better shape. And in his case, we can’t overestimate how his personal life impacted this year. In P.J.’s case, he looked like the 100-plus games caught up with his age. A solid backup for him would be a good addition, assuming Caleb Martin is really more of a general backup. – Richard.
A: I do agree about depth at power forward. But I’m not sure it’s as necessary at point guard, if the faith remains in Gabe Vincent and if Tyler Herro continues his growth as a playmaker.