ASK IRA: Have Heat again planted developmental seeds during summer league?

Q: Ira, my cable doesn’t get NBA TV, so I haven’t been able to watch. Who’s looked good? – Taylor.

A: Well, the good news is that the Heat’s summer-league finale on Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern against the Trail Blazers will be on ESPN2; the bad news is that many of the Heat’s leading men from the  roster likely are done for the summer, including Nikola Jovic, who has returned to Serbia for World Cup preparation. And, honestly, I never overstate summer performances, because they generally come against slower, shorter, less-athletic opponents than genuine NBA competition. For example, I’m still not sure if Orlando Robinson’s somewhat mechanical game works on the NBA level. I would say the limited views of Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. were encouraging. From a larger sample size, it looks like Jamal Cain might be ready to graduate to a standard NBA contract.  Also, Jamaree Bouyea has done enough to earn a continued look during training camp. And don’t be surprised if Drew Peterson gets some type of Heat guarantee ahead of training camp. Much of it could come down to if the Heat wind up completing a trade for Damian Lillard and sending out multiple players. In that case, there could be ample roster spots there for the taking.

Q: Damian Lillard is an older player. And older players’ value drops every day. – Kevin.

A: This came with Damian Lillard turning 33 on Saturday. And it is a reasonable point. Again, this is a case of a 33-year-old with four seasons left on his contract at almost $200 million. And that matters. A lot. While it is not necessarily a negative contract, it is one that likely has reduced the number of suitors almost to the single one that Lillard prefers. There simply is not a huge market. And the Heat know (or should know) that. But does Portland?

Q: Going to miss Gabe Vincent. He seemed like a good guy. – Felipe.

A: He was and is. Gabe was the type of mature-beyond-his-years player that the Heat have embraced in their developmental program, where drama can be put aside and playing growth can be the focus. Max Strus was similar in that regard. Both will be missed.