The veterans who could be in play for Heat later in season. And Riley on Herro, Robinson

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A six-pack of Miami Heat notes on a Tuesday:

Because a half dozen NBA teams are poised to pay enormous luxury tax bills this season — topped by Golden State at $159.9 million and Brooklyn at $110.4 million — it’s fair to ask why the Heat didn’t go into the tax to keep Kendrick Nunn considering the shaky depth at point guard.

After all, Miami had the right to match offers for Nunn and could have paid Nunn the $5 million and $5.2 million that the Lakers are giving him the next two years while staying below the $143 million hard cap under which Miami must operate this season.

But here’s why the decision to bypass signing Nunn was a prudent one, beyond the ankle and knee injuries that will sideline him at least a few weeks:

The Heat — about $400,000 below the tax line and $6.4 million under the hard cap — has left itself flexibility to sign a player better than Nunn when several accomplished NBA players inevitably ask for a buyout in the months ahead. And if the Heat doesn’t sign a veteran at the minimum until early March, it can avoid paying the tax altogether.

Point guard John Wall — who’s staying away from the Rockets by mutual decision — looms as the logical choice if he works out a buyout with Houston, which owes him $44.3 million this season and $47.4 million (player option) next season.

Trading that contract — not an option for Miami — would be difficult, and The Athletic’s David Aldridge predicts Wall will end up with the Heat via a buyout, noting “Wall lives in Miami in the offseason, and the Heat is famous for extending careers of talented guys who’ve been slowed by injuries mid-career.”

Wall, 31, averaged 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game last season, though he shot just 40.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent on threes. We’re told the Heat previously was willing to accept Wall in a Bradley Beal deal with Washington, so it makes sense that Miami would revisit this again if he’s bought out, considering Kyle Lowry missed 26 games last season, 14 the previous season and 17 the year before.

Imagine a playoff bench of Tyler Herro, Wall, Victor Oladipo, Dwayne Dedmon and Markieff Morris. That group — combined with the Heat’s starting lineup — would on paper be at least the third-best team in the East.

But Brooklyn looms as potentially formidable Heat competition for Wall, especially if Kyrie Irving remains out for months because of his unwillingness to get vaccinated.

Another potential buyout option would be Cleveland power forward Kevin Love, who’s due $31.2 million and $28.9 million the next two seasons. Though durability is a perpetual issue with him (he was limited to 25 games last season), he averaged 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds in just 25 minutes per game last season while shooting 36.5 percent on threes.

Another veteran with a bad team who could shake free — Rockets guard Eric Gordon — would be a less likely option for Miami because a trade involving Gordon (due $18.2 million and $19.6 million the next two seasons) seems more likely than a buyout.

Same with Orlando’s Terence Ross, who’s due $12.5 million and $11.5 million. He’s far more likely to be traded (making Miami an unlikely destination) than bought out.

Perhaps Minnesota’s pair of expiring contracts — Patrick Beverley (due $14 million) or Taurean Prince ($13 million) — shake free, though the defensive pest Beverley (who started 34 games for the Clippers last season) remains limited offensively and I’m not sure why Prince (9.5 points, 40 percent on threes last season) would accept any buyout after fairly modest career earnings by NBA standards ($23 million).

Keep in mind that even if the Toronto Raptors buy out Goran Dragic (due $19.4 million this season) next spring, NBA rules prohibit him from returning to the Heat this season.

Making a trade would be challenging for the Heat, but Miami can offer any available veteran a $3.6 million biannual exception or a veteran’s minimum, topping out at $2.6 million.

If a good player becomes available on the buyout market before March, the Heat would consider signing him and going over the tax: “I mean, if you want to win and you think you can win and you can make a transaction that takes you over, I don’t think Micky [Arison] is going to say no to that,” Heat president Pat Riley said.

For those wondering, the other teams in line to pay a tax besides the Warriors and Nets — per ESPN’s Bobby Marks — are the Clippers ($93.9 million), Lakers ($46.3 million), Milwaukee ($41.5 million), Utah ($33.4 million), Philadelphia ($7.6 million), Boston ($6.8 million), Portland ($4.5 million) and Toronto ($1.6 million).

At this point, the Heat isn’t interested in any of the veteran guards who are unsigned, a group including Tyler Johnson, Jeff Teague, Dwayne Bacon, Langston Galloway, Courtney Lee, Patrick McCaw, Iman Shumpert, Quinn Cook, Kris Dunn, Dante Exum, Frank Mason, Chasson Randle, James Ennis, Stanley Johnson, Wes Matthews, Isaiah Thomas and Andre Roberson.

Is there any starting power rotation duo as skilled at defending as Bam Adebayo and Tucker? Through three games, players defended by Adebayo are shooting 25.8 percent (8 for 31). Players defended by Tucker are shooting 28.6 percent (8 for 28), after shooting 43.7 against him (compared with the 49.6 percent they shot overall) in last year’s Bucks title run.

Not only is Herro the NBA’s top bench scorer a week into the season, but he’s 23rd overall in the league in points per game at 23.3. He’s the first Heat player to score 70 points off the bench in the first three games of the season.

Riley suggested last week he wasn’t thrilled when Herro told me that he was going to wake up people who were sleeping on him. But Riley didn’t seem angry about it, and Herro has backed it up.

“One thing you don’t want to do as a young player or as a team is don’t ever tell anybody what you’re going to do before you do it because you want to put a big bullseye on your back, then go ahead,” Riley said. “So young guys that are confident and brash, don’t sleep on me. Well, OK, they’re going to come after you. I think he sort of relishes that a little bit. So if I were to give him any kind of advice or any young player, I would say: Go out there and show it, go out there and prove it. I think he will.”

With Herro playing at this level, it’s difficult to envision new $90 million man Duncan Robinson playing much late in close games if the Heat is at full strength.

So what does Robinson need to do to play in clutch time?

“Well, he’s got to be on a bad team,” Riley cracked. “Then he’ll definitely be on the court at the end of the game because he’ll be one of the best players. I say that in jest in that it’s very hard when you have very skilled players that might not be two-way players. The biggest improvement that I saw in Tyler in the preseason and also with Duncan, yeah you can lift some weights, you can gain 10 pounds of muscle. But it still doesn’t mean you can be a great defender, but it gives you a chance to challenge physicality in a different manner.

“So they know now with Spo, if you want to be on the court at the end of the game, somewhere you’ve got to show during the course of a game or the course of a season that my defense is not going to hurt me in the last four or five minutes. So I don’t think Spo really thinks about, ‘I’m not going to play Duncan or I’m not going to play this guy because they can’t guard.’

“I think he’s going to go with the best five players. Tyler is probably going to be on the court because he’s a multifaceted offensive player who can defend and can handle the ball. Duncan has become one of 10 or 12 guys in this league that has changed the game and the evolution of the game.”

Quick stuff: Robinson on Monday joined Udonis Haslem and Tyler Johnson as the only Heat undrafted pickups to score 2,000 points with the organization... Robinson also became the fifth Heat player to play in 150 consecutive games. Glen Rice owns the franchise record by playing in 174 consecutive games.... The Heat says former NBC-6 sportscaster Courtney Fallon is assisting new Heat radio voice Jason Jackson “in a personal capacity” but there are no plans for her to appear on the air.

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