Q: Do you see Rudy Gay fitting in with the Heat? I know he has a fondness for Miami and we flirted with him several times in free agency in the past. The problem is, I'm not sure if he is looking for more money or a longer contract? But I don't see him getting any offers for more than what he was already getting paid. However, he could also turn into Granger 2.0, which makes me hold my breath. -- Charles, Plantation.
A: Rudy has opted out for $8.8 million for next season, so it's not as if he would be looking for a pay cut to the mid-level that the Heat could offer. Now, there might be a chance that he would trade dollars for years, but the Heat also have to be getting to a point where returning to the cap-space game has to be a priority. As it is, the only Heat players currently under guaranteed contracts for 2020-21 (when not counting options) are Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson, so I'm not sure the Heat would go three years out for a supporting piece. The Heat already have their share of 30-somethings, so taking a long view with Rudy does not seem to be a priority.
Q: Ira, if the Heat choose to buy out Tyler Johnson's contract is it better to do on September 1 like the Knicks are considering with Joakim Noah or now so Tyler can take advantage of the start of free agency on July 1? -- Skip, Tampa.
A: The Heat are not buying out or utilizing the stretch provision on Tyler. They're just not. That still would mean carrying his cap hit, perhaps for as many as five seasons. What often has been lost in the Tyler salary discussion is that the four-year average of his deal is $12.5million, which is far closer to reasonable for his contribution than the $19.2 million cap hit over these next two seasons. The only way you would make such a move is if you believe your team would be better off without Tyler on the roster or if you absolutely had to have a portion of his cap space to close out a larger signing. The Heat are nowhere close to that stage.
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Q: Ira, it seems to me that no team without the words "Golden State"' on its jerseys is going to win the O’Brien Trophy in the next couple of years (even though Houston may get close). Given this, why not let this Heat group (Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, James Johnson and Dion Waiters) play out their contracts and then start fresh with cap space and picks? I don't see the Heat winning the title by mortgaging the future for any high-profile free agent this summer. This is not tanking -- if LeBron leaves the East, with a little luck we may be a top-four seed and get into the second round. -- Jose, Miami.
A: And that may well be the way it plays out. For all that has been speculated about the Heat approach, there very much remains a Heat blueprint that calls for a mostly intact returning roster that should include a healthier Dion Waiters.