Q: What kind of team are we? Without Jimmy Butler we lose. With Jimmy we can beat anybody. – Roland.
A: Exactly. Sort of like every team in the NBA with or without their star. But there also have been plenty of games with Jimmy Butler this season when the Heat hardly have excelled. So what you really are talking about is peak Jimmy, which does not show up nearly as often during the regular season as during the playoffs. And that will make these upcoming games very curious. Does Jimmy deem the Heat’s current situation in the standings as dire enough to evoke his maximum desire? Or at 33 is Jimmy more intent on pacing himself? Perhaps we will see more next week when the Heat have a back-to-back in Oklahoma City and Houston. Play just one? Play both? Because had he played both ends of this week’s back-to-back there may not have been that loss to the Pistons.
Q: Smart, give Kyle Lowry a game off and see if they can win without him and his contract. – Alexi.
A: Sure, let’s just jump from Point A to Point Z, that the real reason the Heat gave Kyle Lowry off on Thursday night was to see if they could win without him. Um, no. At 36, there was no way that Kyle should have been leading the Heat in minutes and been fifth in the NBA minutes. But if this was, in your view, some type of open tryout to see if they could win without Kyle, it would not have come in a game when Gabe Vincent also was sidelined. Plus, for all those so willing to move off of Kyle, the reality is that he was brought aboard at Jimmy Butler’s request. So attempting to reconstruct the roster without Kyle also would have an impact with Jimmy. And we’ve seen what displeased Jimmy Butler can look like.
Q: Hi, Ira. When you talk about blowing this team up, why do you mention Tyler Herro? I would build on Tyler and Bam Adebayo and get rid of Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry and anyone else on this team. They are both young with a lot of potential. What do you think? – Tony , Port Saint Lucie.
A: First, I am in no way advocating for “blowing up” or anything close. Geez, it’s still early December. But because I have constantly been asked about how a rebuild could be attempted, I’ve merely pointed out the most attractive assets. And that would be Tyler Herro’s contract, once he again becomes trade eligible in July, as well as future first-round picks. As the Heat have said, Jimmy Butler is not for everybody. And at 36, the market for Kyle Lowry and his contract is not exactly robust. So if you want to think big (and I’m not saying the Heat are thinking in such a way), then you have to consider big possibilities.