ASK IRA: Will Caleb Martin become the Heat’s next salary-cap concern?

Q: Ira, if Caleb Martin does not go in the Damian Lillard trade, he will be a free agent next summer. Can the Heat afford to keep him? – Harris.

A: The one unyielding truth about fandom is that it seemingly always is on to the next thing. So, first, perhaps we see how the coming season plays out, before Caleb Martin (if he remains with the Heat) has the opportunity to invoke his opt-out clause. Yes, he was efficient, effective and energizing during the playoffs. Yes, based on that performance, he assuredly should opt out of the $7.1 million he would otherwise be due in 2024-25. But a season is a long time, especially once opponents game plan against you. Yes, that could be a concern when it comes to luxury tax and other factors in the 2024 offseason. So perhaps we just enjoy the upcoming season first?

Q:  Hi, Ira. Could you please explain the in season tournament that Adam Silver is pushing. – David, Fort Lauderdale.

A: Basically you play five regular-season games that also count in the regular-season standings. Eight teams then advance to the quarterfinals, which also count as regular-season games, and then four to the semifinals, which, again, count as regular-season games. So basically the only thing that makes the tournament the tournament is the championship game in Las Vegas, which is the only game in the tournament that does not count in the standings. Oh, and players on the winning team each receive $1 million (although I’m not sure how that particularly contributes to fan interest). Then again, this is a league that has turned the most meaningless of summer-league games into an annual event, so don’t count out the NBA’s marketing.

Q: Ira, is Udonis Haslem going to be at camp? – Jason.

A: I’m assuming you are asking whether he will attend camp as an invited guest, and not whether he is reconsidering retirement. The playing chapter for Udonis Haslem assuredly is closed. Even he recognizes there could not have been a better regular-season finale than the moment he had this past season on closing night against the Magic. Now, do I expect to see him during training camp and practices this season? I don’t think there is any question. But he also has enough going on outside of the game, including family, that I doubt he necessarily will be omnipresent. Still, it would not be surprising to see social media of Heat players working out away from the Heat’s facility with Udonis.