Q: So after the game Monday, what favorite dinner place and number of drinks will help James Jones decide to make a certain trade with Miami? – Tee, Queens, N.Y.
A: Actually, the Suns have been in South Florida since Friday night’s blowout loss to the Magic. So there has been ample time for huddling, not that a phone call isn’t just as efficient. But the bottom line is the Heat do not have much in the way to tempt the Suns, considering the additional three seasons on Duncan Robinson’s contract, and considering the Suns not actively pursuing draft picks. There was a report out there of the Suns being interested in Max Strus, but I can’t fathom the Heat giving up their Bird Rights and right-of-first-refusal for Max when he becomes a free agent in the offseason. Yes, Jae Crowder would ease the Heat’s situation at power forward, but the most likely avenue, if not the only avenue, could be if Jae eventually is able to negotiate a buyout. But that is likely later rather than sooner.
Q: It doesn’t take an NBA analyst to figure out that the Heat are a much better team with Max Strus in the starting lineup. The ball movement is better, the spacing is better, and the defensive intensity is better. Once Tyler Herro comes back from his ankle injury, he will help us more by leading the second unit, where he can freelance and do what he does best. – Greg, Jacksonville.
A: Agree. But there is far more to coaching than Xs and Os and rotational alignments. There also is the human factor. And taking away what Tyler Herro had worked for during the offseason and won in camp is not as easy as subbing out a name on a lineup card. So it comes down to whether a coach can nuance such a move without diminishing the contribution from the player. That might be one of the most difficult elements of coaching.
Q: It is time to make an acquisition, no matter its cap effect, or to publicly accept the fact that this year’s Heat is a pale shadow of recent versions. – Joe, Washington.
A: But to get you have to give. And as mentioned above, there is not a lot to give. But there also is Door No. 3: to evolve into something better. You tear it down when you believe you have received the maximum possible contribution from each element. Do you believe, 13 games in, the Heat already are there?