Q: If John Wall is available the Heat should scoop him up. Tell me why he is not more valuable than Jimmy Butler? — Tom.
A: As I noted in my Sunday column, sometimes it’s about more than the players. Sometimes it’s all about the contract. With Butler, it would have been those seasons at $40 million plus at the end of the free-agency contract he will sign this summer just before turning 30. With Wall, it’s $38 million due next season, $41 million in 2020-21, $44 million in 2021-22 and a player option for $47 million in 2022-23. In other words, he would be your rebuild, blowing apart the 2020 option, and, most likely, the chance to land quality draft picks with these next first-round selections. While the Wizards might be tempted with something that starts with Goran Dragic, for the Heat to maximize such a deal it would mean being able to offload deals that go beyond 2020, such as Kelly Olynyk or James Johnson or even Dion Waiters. If that can be worked out, then it might make sense. But that’s from a Heat perspective. I’m not sure that would work for the Wizards, who might prefer Heat contracts that expire by 2020, such as Hassan Whiteside. John Wall is an A-list talent. The question is whether having him as your cornerstone would assure a visit at least to the Eastern Conference finals. It hasn’t for the Wizards.
Q: Ira, in your opinion, who are the top three or four Heat players who make the best trade candidates come deadline? I think Heat fans are hungry for a couple of top picks in the upcoming draft. — Gabriel, Lakeland.
A: I would start with Wayne Ellington, who is on a one-year contract but also would take his Bird Rights along in a trade. But, remember, Wayne cannot be dealt until Dec. 15, after re-signing as a free agent this summer, and also has to approve any trade. I’m not sure, though, he would necessarily land a first-round pick in return. Beyond that, Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk both possess the type of skill sets that could tempt a contender. But in those cases there would be the pesky issue of having to take salaries back in return.
Q: I laugh when people say to replace Hassan Whiteside with Bam Adebayo. Bam has no offensive game. His whole offensive game is standing at the key receiving a pass and then returning the pass. He is also undersized, so has trouble defending bigs down low. He has great athletic ability and hopefully he can develop into a Serge Ibaka type of player. He is still very young, but his lack of development from his rookie season to this season is disappointing. — Joel.
A: I think those who are calling for more of Bam Adebayo are doing it from the perspective of the Heat do not appear to be going anywhere, so why not make development the priority? By contrast, it’s not as if Hassan Whiteside has shown much in the way of growth, with recent questions of what has happened to the flashes of speed and bursts of explosion he demonstrated earlier in the season. That said, the Heat have to hope to get something more out of Hassan, and would likely be best served by pushing him to produce more by providing ample playing time.
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