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ASK IRA: Should there be Heat second-guessing ahead of the NBA Finals when it comes to Kyrie Irving?

Q: Ira, I remember Kyrie Irving being in play for the Heat a few times. Do you think they regret bypassing? – Stephen.

A: The lone definitive time that stood as the case was during the 2017 offseason, when Kyrie Irving pushed to be moved out of Cleveland and landed in Boston. Not only at the time were there rumors of the Heat being willing to send out Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow, but no less than Pat Riley stepped in to say that the reported negotiations were being misrepresented. Instead, Irving wound up going to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and an unprotected Brooklyn 2018 first-round pick. With that pick, which initially belonged to the Nets before being sent to the Celtics, the Cavaliers took Collin Sexton. The Heat also were linked to Irving before he went from the Nets to the Mavericks last season, but that also was when there was Heat hope that patience might land them Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal last summer (with both eventually moved elsewhere). Along the way, there also was trepidation internally regarding how the Heat viewed some of the actions and comments by Irving. In the end, Irving stood as one of the league’s most polarizing players each time he became available after that initial Heat 2017 dalliance. So, yes, there was interest. But as we know by now, there rarely isn’t Heat interest when elite talent comes to market.

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Q: Loyal Ask Ira reader here. You wrote a trade would be just to make a trade regarding Jimmy Butler. It’s far from that. The Heat are stuck in the middle of the pack. Jimmy has made it very clear where he is and what he brings. His greatest value is to a contender with cap space. The Heat have no abundance of trade chips. How is this not the right time for both sides to make a business decision? – Jim, Columbia, S.C.

A: Because first we need to know where Jimmy Butler stands on this, instead of the silence and interpreting of social-media posts. Does he want to be here with this Heat roster at this moment? Does he see an extension as something to be negotiated or as something he views as a mandate? Or, for that matter, does he believe a location reset might be in his and the Heat’s best interests? While we might not necessarily get those answers publicly, the Heat have to get clarification and resolution that is definitive and not murky.

Q: I see Jamal Cain is working out at the arena. Is he helping with draft prospects? – Rich.

A: Such workouts are not permitted, with prospects only allowed to work against other prospects. But it also is not uncommon for Heat players to run into such players, even with the sessions for veterans and prospects staggered. In some ways, Jamal Cain also is back to tryout status, as the Heat assess where he stands going forward, be it a standard contract, two-way contract or an open offseason tryout.