Q: Ira, can the Jazz turn around and flip Kelly Olynyk? I’ve always been a fan of his work with the Celtics and Heat. – Nate.
A: Not only could they do that, but I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t, considering the Jazz hardly are on a trajectory that requires the services of a 31-year-old big man. And, yes, Kelly Olynyk was one of the better pairings for the Heat once Bam Adebayo became the starting center. But, as has been the case with many considerations this offseason, there also are challenging salary aspects, with Kelly due $12.8 million this season and then guaranteed only $3 million of the $12.2 million salary he holds for 2023-24. At the moment, with so many trade restrictions on Heat contracts signed this offseason (Victor Oladipo, Dewayne Dedmon, Caleb Martin) it would be difficult to construct a package at the moment short of something with Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro. And I can’t see Utah taking on the four years left on Duncan’s deal, or the Heat flipping Tyler for Kelly. So, yes, an intriguing option to shore up the power rotation, but also no clear path toward such an acquisition.
Q: Hi, Ira. There’s been a lot of talk about Tyler Herro starting and Victor Oladipo potentially as our new sixth man. Why not consider Max Strus for that role given his ability to put the ball in the hole and play decent defense? This would still allow Tyler to start and not put the burden of defending and scoring on a player returning from injury. – Eddie.
A: First, Victor Oladipo is a superior wing defender to Max Strus, especially against opposing point guards. But beyond that, I’m still not convinced that Max doesn’t remain in the starting lineup. It is an approach that helped the Heat advance within one game of last season’s NBA Finals, and Erik Spoelstra in recent years has prioritized having a floor-spacing 3-point specialist in his starting lineups, be it Max or Duncan Robinson. And now, with P.J. Tucker gone, there might be even more need for a 3-point specialist in the first five.
Q: The team being the same or worse is just a lazy analysis by so many fans. Bam Adebayo still has or must have growth the next season or two at a maximum, three. At that time he will be what he will likely always be. And Tyler Herro has got four to five more years of growth. I have more faith in Herro’s mentality and self confidence to reach his maximum than I do Bam. Bam is inside his own head far too much at this stage. – David, Miami.
A: And that’s the thing with the Heat’s developmental program, it’s not just about unearthing prospects, it’s about maturing that growth. Think about how far Dwyane Wade came with his game, or even how far Bam Adebayo has come to this point. As Erik Spoelstra says, that work does not end.