ASK IRA: Would revisiting Gordon Hayward make sense for Heat?

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Q: So now the Heat are turning to Gordon Hayward. Where did that one come from? – Tomas.

A: From the void of anything tangible circulating around the NBA the first week of August, as the Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell conversation seemingly has moved to the backburner. I can appreciate the linkage between the Heat and Gordon Hayward since there has been previous interest. But you are talking about Hayward being due $30.1 million this coming season and then $31.5 million in 2023-24 (plus a 15-percent trade kicker). And that is for a player who turns 33 this coming season. It would seem that ship has sailed, unless the Heat choose to be all in during Kyle Lowry’s final two seasons under contract, with Hayward’s contract aligning to that timetable. But even then, it’s not as if Duncan Robinson’s $16.9 million gets you close enough to the required matching salaries. And Robinson and Tyler Herro would appear an excessive price for a player who appeared in only 49 games last season and just 44 the previous season.

Q: Hi, Ira. Would you explain what this dilemma is about signing an extension with Tyler Herro? What is the difference between signing him now or during the season, and how it affects a trade involving him? – Masoud, Tucson, Ariz.

A: Sure, and it is fairly simple. Once Tyler Herro is signed to an extension – if he is signed to an extension – he essentially becomes untradeable until the 2023 offseason. The background is that he would still be playing for his nominal rookie-scale salary this season but then have a four-fold increase due thereafter. So for the Heat, it comes down to providing Tyler with the security he would prefer immediately vs. maintaining flexibility for a possible trade.

Q: Ira, as fans we always want to know and often feel like we need to know and are entitled to know. But I am glad that the Heat kept Kyle Lowry’s personal reasons for missing games just that, personal. I don’t need to know and certainly don’t feel entitled to know what those personal reasons were. That, too, is part of the Heat Culture that we Heat fans love to brag about. – Bernardo, Fort Lauderdale.

A: I agree that certain boundaries have to be respected. For some athletes, opening up about personal experiences allows others in similar situations to recognize they are not alone. For others, there is a right to internalize. The Heat have been very good about making clear the preferences of their players and coaches when it comes to private, personal matters. Now, there are times when certain personal matters have to become public issues, such as the release of salary figures, but that is more a matter of explaining salary-cap economics, and allowing the fanbase to appreciate why certain moves can or cannot be made.