ASK IRA: Readers react (emphatically) to any Heat-Harden possibilities

Q: Nooooo, he’s the complete opposite of Heat Culture! – Pacman.

Q: Nooooooooooooooooo. – Gard.

Q: Hell to the NO!!! – Cane.

Q: Absolutely TF NOT! – H.V.E.

Q: No/no way/never/please God I have enough battles in my life don’t make me think about this/be serious. – Michael.

Q: Tyler Herro is better than James Harden. – James.

A: And many more where these came from. And yet, I would not summarily dismiss a player of James Harden’s caliber when it at least comes to deeper inspection from Pat Riley. But based on how it has ended for Harden at his last three stops (assuming he is finished in Philadelphia), I’m not sure the Heat would be willing to go beyond the Kyle Lowry/Duncan Robinson realm. For all the consternation about how much might be too much for Damian Lillard, would the Heat dare offer even a single unprotected pick for Harden, considering he will be in the final season of his contract, unable to be extended? With the Harden situation, you almost wonder when the other shoe drops, with Joel Embiid. Now that certainly would require deeper thought.

Q: Instead of dangling Herro as trade bait every year, maybe treat him like Sixers do with Tyrese Maxey or Lakers do with Austin Reeves. Announce he is a big part of Heat’s future. Maybe a Herro who gets that treatment instead of always wondering if he will be traded is an even better player. – Jon.

A: No one is dangling. And who is to say the 76ers are committed to Tyrese Maxey for life? Good players get traded. Great players get traded. There is no for-sale sign attached to Tyler Herro, only the reality of the business of the NBA. And as the most recent episode of Winning Time showed (if you choose to consider the HBO show more than fiction), Pat Riley has seemed to love him a good trade through five decades.

Q: I’ll be watching the Heat games and depending on what they do, the in-season tournament  could be fun. But it’s also football season. So there’s that. – Douglas.

A: I’m just not sure anyone truly will be taking notice during pool-play games that essentially are just regular-season games. Again, the NBA could have spiced it up like true “cup” formats in soccer, even the one Messi and Inter Miami have been playing through. And how exactly does a huge player payoff play with fans? But the league marketing machine clearly is in high gear. And these days, it’s all about the hype.