ASK IRA: Will Heat’s cap ballast prove too cumbersome to be moved?

Q: Shouldn’t the Heat’s focus be on getting us out of the Duncan Robinson, Kyle Lowry and Victor Oladipo money and finding a durable center and a power forward who can shoot and defend? – Bob, Davie.

A: It’s probably time to deal with a bit of reality here. Kyle Lowry is due $29.7 million for next season. Duncan Robinson is due $18.2 million next season, with two additional seasons on his contract. And Victor Oladipo is due $9.5 million. Against those figures, consider that only eight teams at the moment are expected to be operating with cap space this offseason, and that number would decline by signing their own free agents. Of those eight, only six can take in Kyle’s money and seven can take in Duncan’s money. Beyond that, all eight have better places to spend that money. So the reality is you have to find a trade partner and then likely at least take some money back. Based on future cap concerns, it might be better to simply wait out the expiration of the Lowry and Oladipo deals.

Q: Ira, I hope I’m wrong here, but since the LeBron James era ended, the Heat have been unable to acquire a marquee free agent (no disrespect to Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry). So is our strategy of developing undrafted players hurting us in the free agent market, as none of the teams seem interested in what we have to offer? – Neil, Miami.

A: But that is disrespectful to Jimmy Butler, who has since shown his value as one of the best players to move on in free agency in years, at least this side of Kevin Durant. And I believe there is ample outside interest in Tyler Herro, and even Caleb Martin. It just so happens that the Heat are at a moment when some of their most valued elements are impending free agents (Max Strus, Gabe Vincent) and therefore cannot be dealt.

Q: What is the purpose of the new CBA? It seems so onerous. Economic activity, trades and player movement is good for business. If teams are getting valued at $3 billion or $4 billion plus. Why the onerous CBA to restrict economic activity? – Stuart.

A: Because even at those franchise valuations, owners wanted a degree of cost certainty. But even more significant, unless you find 30 owners with equal spending power, there has to be an evening of the playing field. That is the attempt, from the owners’ perspective, with this new collective-bargaining agreement.