ASK IRA: Is Heat’s best play with NBA draft to protect future flexibility by trading out?

Q: With the fifteenth pick in the upcoming draft, should the Heat be looking for a particular position player or the best available talent regardless of position? I’m sure the Heat scouts and brain trust are looking at players who they feel can fall to fifteen and undervalued by other teams. What are the chances of picking someone and then trading him for a predetermined return? – Ronald, Margate.

A: I’m not sure I even would go that deep. If the Heat could draft for another team and instead add one or two future picks, I think that would be the way to go. With Jamie Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic, there already is youth to develop. But if the Heat replenish their supply of picks, they then would not be hamstrung when it comes to the NBA rules limiting being without first-round picks in successive future seasons.

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Q: Would you agree that the Jimmy Butler extension is easily handled? Pick a number. Miss more than 15 games a season and no extension money and the Heat have the renewal option on the third year. If Jimmy’s problem is motivation, then this should help. If it’s age and health, then it might not. Either way the Heat are covered. – Bob, Davie.

A: Except NBA contracts are several limited in the percentage of a contract that can be for bonuses. So you still would be talking about a considerable amount of guaranteed money. Plus, under the new collective-bargaining rules, all bonuses (whether paid out or not) are included when accounting for where a team stands amid the aprons. So while your idea might work in concept, it is not one that is allowed under the current contract system. Plus, there would be minimum incentive for an agent to acquiesce if the belief similar money could be guaranteed elsewhere.

Q: Maybe Jimmy Butler quit this season because the Heat didn’t get him enough help. One of the reasons LeBron James left was he realized he didn’t want to play point power forward down low and absorb fouls from big guys the rest of his career. The Heat’s offense isn’t terribly creative. The game plan is to play tough defense, let the defense create offense, and when it is a really close game let Jimmy Butler bail us out by getting free throws. And hopefully there are games where we make a lot of three-point shots. – Stuart.

A: First, I think saying Jimmy Butler “quit” this season is going way overboard. Otherwise, this is the other side of the coin in regards to what the Heat have surrounded Jimmy Butler with compared to others of his pay grade. Say what you want about the 76ers, but they at least tried to make it work for Joel Embiid with James Harden and then developed Tyrese Maxey. The Celtics have had Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown side by side. The Knicks constantly have shopped for upgrades for Jalen Brunson. The Bucks got Jrue Holiday and then Damian Lillard for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Of course, Jimmy Butler wanted (and got) Kyle Lowry, so there also is that.