A: This is getting old by now, but the only players the Heat can put into a trade are Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton and Shabazz Napier, since every veteran free agent signed this offseason cannot be dealt until Dec. 15. So unless you're talking about a player making about $6 million or less, the math doesn't work in a trade. And even then, you would have to find a team willing to take on that three-player package.
A: Neither does Erik Spoelstra. As you point out, the best way to avoid double-teams and traps is to keep both the ball and the players moving. Spoelstra has pushed the concept for years. Now the Heat arguably have no other choice.
August 13, 2014
Q: I think the Heat could very well have a better roster with the pieces still available. Michael Beasley is still a great talent. Emeka Okafor, Elton Brand, Ronnie Brewer, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Charlie Villanueva are all players who could make Miami better. -- Bruno, Fort Lauderdale.
A: First, there are cap restrictions and other intangibles that team personal simply know far better. While it can be fun as an outsider to say what a team should do, the reality is that those who make the decisions have far more information available, including how certain players would handle certain situations. That said, there also is the matter of building a cohesive team. I think one of the most difficult facets of recent Heat seasons was having so many players on the roster who thought they merited playing time, when even if they did, there simply were not enough minutes to go around. Just about every name you mentioned is someone trying to revive a career, who likely would crave minutes. The reality is that the roles of players Nos. 10-15 on an NBA roster as just different, specialists who may or may not play at all. It's all part of team building. It's not always about getting the 15 best players. That proved trying in the locker room in recent seasons.
Q: Ira, which new player do you see having a breakout year on this new Heat team? -- Matthew.
A: I know this is not the answer you’re looking for, but the breakout years have to come from a pair of incumbents: Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Bosh has to show he again can play as a leading man, and Wade has to show he can be an every-night contributor. It is the only way this is going to work this coming season. Yes, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger all have to contribute, but the 2014-15 Heat are only going as far as Bosh and Wade take them.
Q: Ira, can you please go through salary cap permutations required to sign Eric Bledsoe in a sign-and-trade, if possible at all? -- Blake, Houston.
A: There aren't any, with players, other than rookies, signed this offseason not eligible to be traded until Dec. 15. So the Heat have only the minimum to offer when it comes to cap space, which is not even a starting point, and if there is to be a sign-and-trade, the Heat don't have the available contracts to cobble together (let alone the enticing personnel) to draw the Suns into a sign-and-trade. The Heat's big offseason moves are done.
August 12, 2014
Q: Good morning, Ira. Does Heat management want Ray Allen back? Are they reaching out to him? He closed on a home during the season, and I got the feeling he liked South Florida. Could he be in a Heat uniform next season? -- Cheryl, Fort Lauderdale.
A: When I spoke to Ray last season about a decision to continue playing, he told me he wished he could wait until September every year for such a confirmation, since that is when he best can tell where his body and his mind stand. So the desire to put off such a decision this year is nothing more than Ray sticking to his plan. But I also sense that the Heat have moved on, based on the fact that there is absolutely nothing left to offer other than the minimum, while Mario Chalmers has been signed at $4 million and Udonis Haslem at $2.7 million. I just don't sense it ended well last season, wonder if Ray (and perhaps LeBron James) wished that Erik Spoelstra had moved Allen into the starting lineup earlier in the NBA Finals, rather than waiting for the fifth and final game against the Spurs. Unlike others who have been wed to specific cities over their careers, Ray has been on the move so much in his career that I believe another city would merely be part of the journey.
Q: How does the Greg Oden incident affect the Miami Heat's image, and does it affect his chances of being picked up again? -- Tyler, Fort Lauderdale.
A: Greg is a free agent and these troubles have nothing to do with South Florida or the Heat. I think Erik Spoelstra tried to put the best face on the situation when he continually praised Greg's comeback last season, but I also sense that there is a belief within the organization that Greg simply is not mobile or agile enough anymore at this level. These latest legal issues likely make him a longshot to land anywhere this offseason.
Q: Sup Ira? I always see you tweeting about the top remaining free agents, but how can the Heat get one of those if we already have 15 guaranteed? I think Pat Riley made some bad moves there. -- Carlos, Dominican Republic.
A: Because the Heat are nowhere near the luxury tax, there is minimal financial risk in carrying more than 15 players in the offseason with guarantees. Remember, Justin Hamilton and James Ennis have only partial guarantees. Even if the Heat wind up with some dead money on their 2014-15 payroll because of additional offseason signings, it still will be far less than what they're actually paying to Mike Miller to have him not play for them (and instead play for the Cavaliers) this season.