ASK IRA: Should Zach LaVine availability intrigue the Heat?

Q: Zach LaVine. What say you? – Wes.

A: I’m saying Zach LaVine is due $40.1 million this season, $43 million next season, $46 million in 2025-26 and then a player option of $49 million for 2026-27. So I’m politely saying no thank you. Not for Tyler Herro. Not for further limiting Heat draft capital. Beyond that, even just discussing present value, I’m not sure the Heat are positioned to give up Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson (the requisite matching salaries) to bring Zach aboard this season. At some point, the Heat have to stop paying into the future. That point might be when these next two final seasons of Jimmy Butler’s current contract expire in 2026.

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Q: Tyler Herro goes down and the Heat make it to the NBA Finals. Tyler goes down again and the Heat rattle off six in a row. Coincidence? Can less be more? They seem to play smoother, calmer without him. – Brian, San Marcos, Calif.

Q: Tyler Herro’s absences in the playoffs last year and during this current winning streak show that he is just a bad offensive fit with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Shouldn’t the Heat try to trade him for a quality point guard and power forward who would fit in better? – Morgan, Coral Springs.

Q: I am a Tyler Herro fan, but it is hard to ignore our current winning streak with him out. I think we are a better team with him because of his ability to score. He was very successful as a sixth man. Upon his return from injury, do you see any chance of him resuming that role for the good of the team? – Jay, Weston.

A: I grouped these together because I have received several on the topic and these offer three of the perspectives. So, first, stop it. To say the Heat are better without Tyler Herro would be to say the Heat were better without Jimmy Butler when they won Saturday in Atlanta or without Kyle Lowry on Sunday in San Antonio. Also, since Tyler was lost, the Heat beat a Hawks team that just returned from Mexico City, a Spurs team that is at the bottom of the league in both offense and defense, and a Hornets team lacking six rotation players. And in each case, the victory hardly was resounding or overwhelming. Tyler Herro is one of the few Heat players, if not the only Heat player, who can create his own shot. You need that. It would have made all of those four quarters less stressful. Now, as for the notion of the Heat possibly being better with Tyler as a reserve, I do see positives, since it could either get more defense (Caleb Martin, Josh Richardson) or shooting (Duncan Robinson) in the first five and then provide a point of attack in the second group with Tyler. But the reality is that Erik Spoelstra largely had been playing Tyler as the quarterback of the second unit, anyway.

Q: Hi, Ira. Can someone please tell me why I should care about the In-Season Tournament? It seems like arbitrarily assigning extra meaning to random games with no real import. – Ray, Deerfield Beach.

A: You’re not wrong. But when you have Heat-Hornets on a random Tuesday in Charlotte, as is the case on Tuesday night, you might as well try to put some lipstick on the pig. At least now you get a fancy, shiny new court. Plus you get the margin-of-victory tiebreaker element, which I’m sure will be a priority for Erik Spoelstra (sarcasm).