ASK IRA: Could Kawhi Leonard yet be in play for the Heat?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Q: Ira, reports are surfacing the Kawhi Leonard might not stay with the Clippers. Does Pat Riley wait to see what happens? — Edgar.

A: First, keep in mind that Kawhi Leonard’s recent knee surgery could keep him out all of next season. Then consider that Jimmy Butler turns 32 before the start of the coming season. So could the Heat afford to tie up all of their cap space (or even send out contributing players in a sign-and-trade with the Clippers) for a player who might not be a 2021-22 factor? The one thing with Kawhi is that nothing ever is a given, as shown by his push to leave a championship-level Spurs team and then walk from a championship Raptors team. So you cannot dismiss any speculation. Yet while there is a friendship with Jimmy (Kawhi wanted Jimmy to also sign with the Clippers in the 2019 offseason), is a Butler-Bam Adebayo core decidedly better than what Kawhi has in place on the Clippers alongside Paul George? Again, it’s Kawhi, so you never know until you know, even though he has shown a decided preference for Southern California. What the Heat can’t afford is to get caught in a waiting game while the rest of free agency plays out elsewhere around the league.

Q: Restricted free agents are interesting. The Heat would be in that boat with John Collins. They have to offer max money just to see if Atlanta blinks. — Dave.

A: The only way you tie up your cap space in free agency with an offer sheet to a restricted free agent is if you believe that you have a legitimate chance of that player’s team not matching and retaining the player. I don’t see the Heat able to get in that position with John Collins and the Hawks. But there could be restricted free agents who could make sense with offer sheet, perhaps with Lonzo Ball and the Pelicans. Still, with the Heat’s limited cap space (in terms of being well shy of the ability to make a max-level offer), I’m not sure the offer-sheet game is one worth playing this summer.

Q: How crazy would it be to have a Bam Adebayo banner at the arena before a LeBron James banner? — Art.

A: First, we’re talking two different types of banners. The Heat put up banners for players winning gold medals at the Olympics. So, depending on the results from the Tokyo Games, that’s where a Bam Adebayo banner would go at FX Arena. Retired numbers are different, and come from the Heat only once a player is retired (unless that player is Michael Jordan).

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting