Q: Hey Ira, with the Heat between the final teams in two of the last three years, should we question management’s financial decisions not spent in high tax territory when the team was so close? This raises the question of whether management thought the team was as good as it really was. Historically, Pat Riley has indicated willingness to spend if the team is “closer” to the championship. Maybe that year is 2022-23? – David, Venice.
A: And if such a decision becomes necessary, HEAT shall consider such. Ironically, some see the Heat as already spending more on the contracts of Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler, and potentially Tyler Herro (whose extension will not affect the 2022-23 cap/tax , as it will start in 2023-24). But when it comes to the luxury tax, there are actually limited avenues for such spending, beyond a blockbuster business. You typically go into tax by either re-signing your bird rights free agents or using cap exceptions. This off-season, the Heat could move into tax with a sizable contract with Victor Oladipo or possibly maxing out Caleb Martin in restricted free agency with the exception of the full mid-tier. So the question is whether any of these moves will move the bar up dramatically. The advantages of the Heat’s recent approach are the minimal contracts from Max Strauss, Gabe Vincent and Omar Yurtseven to help balance the ledger at the low end. As a team likely to work above the pay limit, the Heat alone would mean adding an outside player on an eight-figure pay would be the exception to the mid-level. But the use of that full exception would also make the team tough for 2022-23, perhaps limiting options on the February trading deadline.
Q: Ira, to those who say that Jimmy Butler should develop his 3-point shot more broadly, I say if you really figure out how many three-point plays he fouls draws then I’d bet he averages more three-points than most 3-pointers plays by most shooters. And at the same time causing trouble for the other team as well. – Brent, Wellington.
A: Good point. Attackers can wreak as much, or more, havoc with their relentlessness than people with over-the-top attitudes. But as some have pointed out, with the increased threat of 3-point accuracy, it can also create additional driving lanes for attack.
Q: What does that have to do with Dwayne Deadman? Kevon Looney has been a revelation to the Warriors in the final, while the Heat had problems resting Bam Adebayo during the Celtics series. Can Omar Yurtseven move on or will the draft offer interesting prospects? Either way, the Heat has a number of issues to address over the next few weeks. Finding a dependable big click may not be bait, but probably makes the top-ten list. – Leonard, Cornelius, NC
A: But Pat Riley was also quick to praise Dwayne Deadman season after season, so I don’t necessarily end his Heat tenure. I’m also not quite sure that Omar Yurtseven fills in the description of an energetic big, like we’ve seen from Kevon Looney and Robert Williams in these NBA Finals. So maybe the way the heat goes in the draft is for four-five types.