ASK IRA: As Wade prepares to enter Hall, could Butler be next from Heat?

Q: Ira, Dwyane Wade retired at 37 and already was a Hall of Famer. Jimmy Butler is turning 34 before the season, is he close to being the Heat’s next Hall of Famer? – David.

A: When it comes to the Heat’s next Hall of Famer, it likely comes down to when LeBron James retires. If he retires before Jimmy Butler, then he assuredly would be next man up for the Heat in Springfield. Right now, Basketball Reference’s Hall of Fame tracker has Jimmy Butler with a .730 percentage to make it into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a percentage actually lower than Kevin Love’s current .735 by that tracker. What Kevin has that Jimmy still lacks is a championship. That said, several who Basketball Reference had listed with lower percentages went ahead and made it into the Hall, including Mitch Richmond, Artis Gilmore, Wes Unseld and several others. So, yes, a chance. But a bit more on the resume certainly wouldn’t hurt as the career winds down.

Q: Cole Swider’s gonna love Sioux Falls. – Willy.

A: Except that’s not how it works with an Exhibit 10 training-camp contract, which Cole Swider and Drew Peterson soon will be signing. Such contracts guarantee up to a $75,000 bonus if such players are cut before the regular season and then move on to the G League for at least two months. But it doesn’t mean that if such players are cut that they have to move to the G League, instead allowed to move on to any other NBA team. The amount of Heat roster spots available out of camp likely will be a factor of whether there is a trade for Damian Lillard and if more players are sent out than brought in. And remember, the roster spot previously held by Udonis Haslem will be available to a camp contender this time around.

Q: Hi, Ira. If Nikola Jovic had the extra muscle he has now when he was drafted, how much higher do you think he could have gone in that draft? – Eddie.

A: I’m not sure much higher, if only because of his youth and the level of competition he had faced in Europe. All teams take into account potential physical growth and maturity when drafting. As it is, Nikola Jovic, 20, still remains somewhat of a longshot for playing time this season, even with his upgraded physique.