Ask the IRA: Are the Heat seeing this as some sort of gap season?

Q: There’s absolutely no reason Jimmy Butler or anyone else can’t play in those two games. – Paul.

A: Well, Dewayne Dedmon handles NBA health and safety protocols and Omer Yurtseven recovers from ankle surgery for at least two reasons. For that matter, Caleb Martin is dealing with a new, legitimate limb disorder — because if anyone is willing to overcome pain or adversity, it’s Caleb Martin. But given the Heat’s position in the standings, this idea of ​​resting players, Victor Oladipo on Friday and Jimmy Butler likely to miss Saturday seems wrong, and more importantly, the team has played in the past. Both seasons have been off for several weeks, with five games in the 12 days leading up to Friday. I know the Heat will vehemently deny this, but it feels a bit like a gap year, just doing enough to get by. Yes, there may be some talk about getting a cut of the Denver-Utah game. But if the Heat are aiming for more than the No. 6 seed, then it seems like the time has come. Currently, it doesn’t feel that way.

Q: What’s the benefit of keeping Nikola Jovic in Sioux Falls when your backup center is sidelined with COVID and a foot injury? – Elliott.

A: In the G League, playing time is guaranteed; with the Heat, it’s not. Once Erik Spoelstra showed more confidence in Orlando Robinson as Bam Adebayo’s backup, Nikola was simply reduced to garbage-time minutes. The Heat need Nikola to perform well next year or the year after. For now, the focus of the rest of the roster remains on being in the moment. But yeah, of course we’d love Nikola Jovic vs. Nikola Jokic.

Q: But what I said the other day that the Heat should look to the season ahead was that I hope they don’t make a deal that mortgages their future to make them more competitive this year. Take a purely hypothetical scenario, say, trading someone like an aging Bojan Bogdanovic for our 2023 first-round pick Nikola Jovic and whoever else. Regardless, it’s not enough to beat a top-five team in the East in the playoffs. – Morgan, New Orleans.

A: But you also have to accept that Jimmy Butler is probably the high-level veteran star you’ll get over the years. As such, maximizing his best years must also be prioritized. Putting the upgrade on hold would be tantamount to writing off one of the $40 million seasons in his contract. So there needs to be a balance there as well.