Q: Era, big, big, big money is coming into play. When Donald Sterling was forced to sell, Steve Ballmer came in to spend and the Clippers are close to a championship. With the Nets, Joseph Tsai has spent on his Big Threes. And now anyone who buys Suns from Robert Sarver will come in wanting to win. Are our pockets deep enough? – Sandy
A: The way it’s been explained to me internally is that the Heat’s approach to both the luxury tax and the hard cap is primarily a function of basketball operations, maintaining the necessary flexibility when it comes to personnel. Want to – and maybe eventually. Go all in with one major move. It certainly has already happened during Shaquille O’Neal’s tenure and then during the formation of the Big Three. In fact, some of the pushback from Heat critics was the money spent on Duncan Robinson, Kyle Lowry and even the deal that would take Jimmy Butler to 36 years old. And even before that, by the end many people were questioning the amount. Spent on Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson. The NBA is rife with spending that withholds as much as it raises (and, yes, it can raise, as evidenced by the Golden State Warriors’ stance against the tax). Now, if this were a league with no salary cap, spend like the Mets and Yankees in baseball if a championship is the ultimate goal. But whatever Mickey Arison may or may not be willing to spend, Andy Ellsberg oversees the checks and balances when it comes to what spending dollars do to the overall roster and personnel structure. It has an effect. To that end, it will be interesting to see what happens tax-wise with the Heat’s decision on Tyler Herro’s extension. But rarely does the Heat (and Arison) allow the money to go out the door.
Q: As of today, they are the same or worse than last year. Victor Oladipo’s return to All-Star form – Kevin’s only hope right now lies in internal improvement.
A: After four injury-limited seasons, it might be one too many. A good place to start with Victor Oladipo is working as a reliable two-way sixth man. This would give Tyler Herro a chance to potentially move into the starting lineup and also boost the overall rotation. Asking too much, or expecting too much, can be a question of anxiety for Victor.
Q: Hi, Ira, love the ‘5 on 35’ series. Thank you so much for doing this. I’ve followed the team for as long as you’ve covered them, and it’s great to have so many names and people to appreciate. I really love taking a trip down memory lane. – Philip, San Francisco.
A: It was fun, but I also appreciate that when camp starts next week there will actually be news of the moment, which is why I limited the scale to just two weeks, though. Your comment attachment included some interesting options. Also for lists. (I’m not sure about the top 5 coaches though, as the Heat have only had five full-time coaches in their 35 seasons: Ron Rothstein, Kevin Loughrey, Pete Riley, Stan Van Gundy and Erik Spoelstra, with Alvin Gentry briefly Serving as Interim Coach.)