Q: The Heat now have three trade exceptions. What does that mean? Will the Heat be able to use them in any meaningful way? – Andrew, Coral Gables.
A: Doubtful, to the degree that I’m surprised that when the Heat announced the trades involving Victor Oladipo and Max Strus they highlighted the creation of those exceptions (which occur when salary is sent out but equivalent salary is not brought back in with a trade). The Heat have three trade exceptions available, one at $4.7 million from last season’s trade of Dewayne Dedmon to the San Antonio Spurs, one at $9.5 million from Thursday’s trade of Oladipo to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and one of $7.3 million from Thursday’s sign-and-trade of Strus to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Those exceptions cannot be aggregated (you can’t add them together). As it is, the Heat are so hard up against the most punitive elements of the luxury tax that spending even one of those exceptions could significantly elevate the pain threshold under the new collective-bargaining agreement. Of course, if Damian Lillard is added, then all bets could be off, with those exceptions potentially put into place to replenish the roster spots of those potentially sent out for Lillard. The exceptions also could be put into play in a multi-team Lillard trade.
Q: Ira, if Miami includes Nikola Jovic in the trade for Damian Lillard do you think we bring back Omer Yurtseven? – Barry, Deerfield Beach.
A: Based on the fact that the Heat have signed Thomas Bryant and committed a partial guarantee to Orlando Robinson, I would find doubtful additional investment in Omer Yurtseven. If the Heat do spend additionally on a big man, I believe it could be with an eye toward Christian Wood, should he remain available on the free-agent market.
Q: What’s the incentive to win the NBA’s midseason tournament? – Chan.
A: $500,000 per player on the winning team. The NBA, of course, also would like to see it grow into a source of pride. But that takes time. For example, the NBA would like as much attention paid to this summer’s World Cup as the basketball competition in the Olympics, but that is not nearly the case. This will, as well. The reality is this is nothing like international soccer cups. Those games don’t also count in league standings. And those competitions include teams from other leagues or levels. The lone true tournament games in the NBA’s cup will come in the semifinals and championship game. Until then, it very much will look like regular-season basketball.