Q: What if after all of Victor Oladipo’s injuries, what we saw last season is the best he can offer, and if Caleb Martin doesn’t function as a legitimate starter? It’s just as likely as the Heat’s hope for both players. – Joel.
A: Yes, there can certainly be a half-empty perspective, as well as the half-full perspective that I expressed in my Sunday column. But it’s not like there isn’t a plan B with Victor Oladipo and Caleb Martin. If Victor fails on his comeback, there are still Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent as backcourt options. And if Caleb Martin can’t make it work at the forefront, it’s likely that Jimmy Butler will be the closest to the job anyway. So, yeah, both are swing players when it comes to the Heat’s prospects. But there are also acceptable alternatives.
Q: Is there any benefit to the Heat holding Tyler Herro’s extension until the end of training camp to see if he even wins as a starter? If the fruits of his labor over the summer aren’t enough, could this be a source of leverage for the team or is the money/years pretty much unaffected based on his work and the annual incremental improvements? – Eddie, South Bend, Ind.
A: The delay of a Tyler Herro expansion probably has absolutely nothing to do with Tyler Herro. This has to do with the fact that if extended, it essentially becomes untradable due to salary cap rules. So whether he’s named a starter or remains a sixth man is likely to factor less into a Heat decision by the mid-October extension deadline than if the Heat see a potential trade. down the road that might require Tyler’s inclusion.
Q: Ira, will training camp be a good indicator to determine Nikola Jovic’s progress or lack thereof or will we have to wait for pre-season? – Rodney.
A: I believe you will have even more expectation than that. For a team in winning mode now, I’m not sure Nikola Jovic can do much to create playing time, similar to the position Omer Yurtseven found himself in after his strong 2021 offseason. For Nikola, everything is a waiting issue.