ASK IRA: Is fourth-quarter time off for Jimmy Butler too taxing for Heat?
Q:The Heat are off for three days. Shortening Jimmy Butler’s time off in the fourth quarter wouldn’t have hurt in Milwaukee. – Douglas.
A: The approach of late rest for Jimmy Butler largely has worked in recent weeks, when considering the Heat’s overall success over that span. But I do agree that Saturday night in Milwaukee was an instance where a few more minutes could have been compensated for with many days of rest to follow. But what we don’t know is what the medical staff and even Jimmy is telling the coaching staff in terms of his body and his knee. It could be that grinding hard for more than the final six minutes in such situations might be too taxing. Remember, we are talking about a 33-year-old with plenty of career minutes and plenty of playoff mileage two of the past three seasons.
Q: Can you imagine this team with Precious Achiuwa and Goran Dragic now? – Jearia.
A: Not going to deny that I scoffed at such reasoning last season and even into this season. And I am also not going to downplay that Kyle Lowry helped push the Heat to the top seed in the East last season, which was meaningful. But if what we have seen this season is all there is from Kyle, then it is an undeniable bad trade. Unless . . . unless the Heat turn the end of Kyle’s contract into something enduring in a trade. So the complete story of the trade has yet to be fully written. But if the balance of Kyle’s three-year $85 million contract becomes deal money on the Heat’s books through next season, then, yes, you would have to admit it was a deal gone bad.
Q: I keep reading that the Heat have interest in D’Angelo Russell. I think the perfect trade would be Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson to Minnesota for D’Angelo Russell and Kyle Anderson. The numbers match and it would be a win-win for both teams. Timberwolves get a veteran point guard for leadership and an outside shooter to space the floor for their two big men. We get an offensive-minded point guard and a veteran big man off the bench. – Greg, Jacksonville.
A: Only the numbers don’t really match up. Yes, the math works at the moment for salary-cap purposes, but Kyle Lowry has one additional season on his contract, at $27.7 million for 2023-24, and Duncan Robinson after this season has three seasons at $59 million. That is a lot of money for Minnesota to be taking on, unless they truly lust after those future seasons for both. And that is highly, highly unlikely.