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Q: Ira, how much money (and how much willingness on the Heat’s part amid the possible lack of money and the anticipation of surfacing a whale) does it take for the Heat to re-sign my man Dewayne Dedmon beyond this season? A backup center like Dedmon is hard to come by in this small-ball basketball of the modern era. Love to see him in the Heat’s uniform for years ahead. — Masoud, Tucson.
A: I don’t know about “years ahead” with the Heat, but I do know that Dewayne Dedmon has re-established his value to a value greater than his current minimum-scale Heat contract. So part of it will be how much Dewayne, who already has been well traveled, wants to stay. The other part will be whether the Heat utilize cap space this offseason. If that is the case, then it could be tricky making the machinations work with Trevor Ariza, Goran Dragic and Dewayne. But if the Heat mostly bring the core back, including Victor Oladipo, then Goran can return on either his team option or a new deal because of his Bird Rights, Trevor can return at a commensurate rate with his Bird Rights, and then there should be ample salary-cap exception alternatives to sate Dewayne. Beyond that, for as much as Dewayne has delivered, cap space figures to be limited for a traditional big man amid the league’s downsizing you cite. So, basically, if the Heat and Dewayne want to make it work, there should be a way to make it work. With his experience level, Dewayne, at worst, can sign back for the $2.3 million veterans minimum, perhaps building Bird Rights equity for something larger down the road.
Q: Ira, why is Erik Spoelstra so stubborn about having bigs on the court at the same time with Bam Adebayo? We’ll never beat teams like the Lakers or Sixers without bigs that can rebound and that can free Bam up so he can play defense. — Julio, Cape Coral.
A: Because the Heat’s offensive approach is predicated on an open lane for Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and the Heat’s slashers to attack off the dribble. Clog the lane too much and it becomes easier to stay at home on the Heat’s shooters, as well as offer a second line of defense against the Heat’s penetrators. While going big could help with post defense and rebounding, it would come at the cost of needing to rewrite the offensive playbook. And right now, that offense is on the rise.
Q: Will Heat reveal their playoff playbook during regular season? Miami faces Celtics twice, Sixers and Bucks this month. It’s often a game of chess as NBA teams don’t prefer show opponents their top plays during regular season. Consensus opinion agrees sixth seed is important, but at what price? — Leonard, Cornelius, N.C.
A: At any price. Nothing should be more important to the Heat at this stage than avoiding the sudden-death scenarios of the play-in tournament. Concurrently, little would seem as important for an aging roster than at least five days off while others play on in the play-in.