Q: Why do you assume that Dion Waiters will get a massive payday this summer? A year ago when teams were signing marginal free agents to massive contracts, no one wanted to take a chance on Waiters because of his shot selection, attitude, defense. The league collectively decided that no one could "tame" him despite his obvious talent. If teams weren't willing to take a chance on him last summer at a minimal price, why would they take a chance this summer at a much higher price? -- David.
A: Because he went through finishing school this past season with the Heat. And because teams will have to spend money on someone, with this hardly an overwhelming free-agent class. Look, no one is saying he's going to get max money, and he probably won't even get half-max (which would be around $15 million to start with next season). But he will get enough to create pause when it comes to making the Heat's salary-cap math work. You do, however, raise an interesting point as to whether a half season (because of the injury time missed) will be enough to create the type of market that has been speculated. The compromise could be a two-year deal, with a second year at Waiters' option. That would get him to full Bird Rights with the Heat, when salary-cap space won't be as much of a concern. So perhaps it's something as simple as two years, $20 million, which would allow the Heat to start below $10 million for next season's payroll, and therefore leave wiggle room for the rest of the offseason machinations. Soon enough we'll see whether Waiters' written words resonate when it comes to the Heat and sacrifice.
Q: Would the only way to get rid of Josh McRoberts' contract be to throw in the services of Josh Richardson or Justise Winslow? God Bless Josh McRoberts, but I think if Miami could have looked into the future and see him being injured all the time he would not have a spot on this team right now. -- Darryl, Fitzgerald, Ga.
A: I don't think the desperation, if there is actually that, would reach the point of costing the services of a prospect, especially when you're talking either one more season of such salary duress or perhaps utilizing the stretch provision for three years of smaller hits. Now, if there is a major deal where the Heat could slide in McRoberts' salary, that would be a different story. But I don't think the Heat are in position to forfeit a prospect just to regain $6 million in cap space. It is interesting that amid all the team's social media in the wake of the season, everything from video of Wayne Ellington to an interview with Willie Reed, there has been crickets regarding McRoberts. What the Heat have to determine is that whether even a healthy McRoberts would fit in at this stage. That certainly was not the case at the start of last season, but the latest injury absence.
Q: Ira, my dreams of the Heat getting Terrance Ferguson in this year's draft are as good as dead. Terrance signed with Klutch Sports. Rich Paul and LeBron James again will work against my Heat. There's no way Pat Riley will even bring him in for a workout now. Even if we draft him, I'm sure the tension will be too great. He was the best wing at our draft position. -- Marcus, Washington.