Q: What happens if after all of Victor Oladipo’s injuries what we saw last season is the best that he can offer, and if Caleb Martin doesn’t work out as a legitimate starting player? That is just as likely as the Heat’ hope for both players. – Joel.
A: Yes, there certainly can be a half-empty perspective, as well as the half-full perspective I expressed in my Sunday column. But it’s not as if there aren’t Plan Bs with both Victor Oladipo and Caleb Martin. If Victor fails in his comeback, there still are Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent as backcourt options. And if Caleb Martin can’t make it work at power forward, it is likely that Jimmy Butler will be the closer at that position, anyway. So, yes, both stand as swing players when it comes to the Heat’s outlook. But there are palatable alternatives, as well.
Q: Is there any benefit in the Heat holding out on Tyler Herro’s extension until after training camp to see if he even wins out on the starting job? If the fruits of his labor over the summer aren’t enough, could that be a source of leverage for the team or is the money/years basically unaffected based on his body of work and annual incremental improvements? – Eddie, South Bend, Ind.
A: The delay in a Tyler Herro extension likely has absolutely nothing to do with Tyler Herro. It has to do with the fact that if he is extended, he essentially becomes untradeable because of salary-cap rules. So whether he is named a starter or remains a sixth man, that likely will factor less into a Heat decision by the mid-October extension deadline than whether the Heat see a potential trade down the road that could require Tyler’s inclusion.
Q: Ira, will training camp be a good gauge to determine the progress or lack there of regarding Nikola Jovic or will we have to wait for preseason? – Rodney.
A: I believe you will have an even longer wait than that. For a team in win-now mode, I’m not sure Nikola Jovic can do much to create playing time, similar to the position Omer Yurtseven was in after his solid 2021 offseason. For Nikola, it’s all about the waiting game.