ASK IRA: Is Nikola Jovic a keeper or a Heat trade asset for Damian Lillard?

Q: In yesterday’s Ask Ira when commenting on Orlando Robinson’s possible playing time, you said that Robinson might be fifth in the Heat’s power-rotation pecking order, behind Bam Adebayo, Thomas Bryant, Kevin Love, Caleb Martin, stating, “Don’t sleep on Nikola Jovic, even with his limited sample size in summer league.” Were you trying to help the Miami Heat land Damian Lillard or did you really think that Jovic is ready to contribute this year? Many of us Heat fans are high on Jovic and hope he’s the young asset we keep.  It’s not easy to find a player of his size, who has handles, shooting, and passing chops. – Carlos, West Park.

A: What I am saying is that if a team that does not have many first-round picks drafts a player in the first round, then there has to be a plan. But perhaps, as you hint, the plan is to utilize him as a trade chip. I can tell you that veterans on last season’s Heat roster were impressed by Nikola’s innate skills from what they saw in practice.

Q: Ira, when the heck is this trade happening? Tired of this waiting. How’s this package? After trading Tyler Herro we send four firsts and Nikola Jovic for Damian Lillard? Portland needs size. – Troy.

A: I think some are getting too caught up regarding what goes where from the Heat perspective in a potential Damian Lillard trade. Yes, it appears that Tyler Herro goes out, which, in the end, yields another first-round pick in the package. But the question here is whether you need to send out that much. Considering Nikola Jovic could be viewed as another first-round pick, do the Heat need to send out the equivalent of five (5!) first-round picks for a 33-year-old player who is still due almost $200 million? From this perspective, that appears excessive. If patience saves you at least one future first-round pick, or even more, then stay patient. There won’t be another game that counts for over three months.

Q: Joel Embiid’s wife is from Brazil.  She  grew up by the beach.  She even played soccer.  Miami seems more  and more like the place to be for this newlywed couple.  – Stuart, Miami.

A: But is honeymoon planning an acceptable extra benefit under the salary cap?