Q: There is absolutely no reason that Jimmy Butler or anyone else couldn’t have played in both of these games. – Paolo.
A: Well, with Dewayne Dedmon dealing with NBA health-and-safety protocols and with Omer Yurtseven recovering from ankle surgery, there are at least two reasons. For that matter, Caleb Martin is dealing with a new, legitimate ailment with his quad – because if anyone is willing to push through pain or adversity, it is Caleb Martin. But this notion of resting players, with Victor Oladipo held out Friday and Jimmy Butler likely to miss Saturday seems misguided considering where the Heat are in the standings, and, more to the point, all of the time the team has had off these past two weeks, with five games in 12 days going into Friday. I know the Heat will heatedly deny this, but this sort of has a feeling of a gap year, of just doing enough to get by. Yes, there could be something said about getting a split from the games in Denver and Utah. But if the Heat have aspirations of anything more than a No. 6 seed, it seems like this would be go time. At the moment, it does not feel that way.
Q: What good does it do having Nikola Jovic in Sioux Falls when your backup center is out with COVID and a bum foot? – Elliott.
A: In the G League, there will be guaranteed minutes; with the Heat, that hasn’t proven to be the case. Once Erik Spoelstra showed greater confidence in playing Orlando Robinson as the backup to Bam Adebayo, Nikola merely was being reduced to garbage-time minutes. The Heat need Nikola to be good next year, or the year after. At the moment, the focus with the rest of the roster still is on living in the moment. But, yes, we certainly would have enjoyed Nikola Jovic vs. Nikola Jokic.
Q: But what I meant the other day by saying that Heat Nation should have its eyes on future seasons, is that I hope they don’t make a deal that mortgages their future to make themselves a bit more competitive this year. To use a purely hypothetical situation, for example, of trading our 2023 1st round pick, Nikola Jovic and whatever else, for someone like an aging Bojan Bogdanovic. That wouldn’t be enough to get through the juggernaut of the top five teams in the East in the playoffs, anyway. – Morgan, New Orleans.
A: But you also have to look at it with the acceptance that Jimmy Butler might be as high a level veteran star as you are going to get for years. So there also has to be a priority on maximizing his best years. To put upgrading on hold would be to write off one of those $40 million seasons on his contract. So there also is a required balance there.