Are the Heat options, as well as money, on the table? – Boston Herald

Q: Ira, Kyle Lowry is 36 and Jimmy Butler is 32. This is when Micky Arison has to spend money on the luxury tax. — Wes.

A: I get that, and I totally agree that you can’t afford to waste the best years left on both. But the current case is more about avoiding hard limits than the luxury tax. And that makes it more of a personnel decision than a financial one. Once it has a hard limit, it can severely limit the ability to make important, large-scale moves, requiring you to take out more money in paychecks than you send out. So when it comes to PJ Tucker and going into the full $10.5 million mid-tier that would give you a hard cap, is it worth potentially losing the opportunity to potentially enter into trade talks for a Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant or any other potential star-level talent that may become available in trade talks? By not having a hard limit, it basically means that Micky Arison could spend more, not less.

Q: Ira, it looks like PJ Tucker is going to the Sixers. If the Heat wants to give him a three-year contract, why would he go? The difference in dollars isn’t that big, and without Florida income taxes, he’d make up most of the loss. Is there something we don’t know? – Joel.

A: No, it’s actually something you do know. Even with the state tax differences between Florida (none) and Pennsylvania (some), would there still be less net income for PJ Incrementally Less? Yes. But you’d be surprised how many NBA players refuse to put even a dollar on the table. They want it all. And they want that now. And when it comes to 37-year-old power forwards, that’s probably even more true. Yes, it may seem like James Harden is getting money back, but that all comes in the back.

Q: If PJ Tucker gets stuck, what about Danilo Gallinari? You could send Duncan Robinson plus filler. —David, St. Louis.

A: That certainly seems like an achievable name, given that the Heat’s machinations on the 2020 NBA trade deadline got them Danilo Gallinari instead of Jae Crowder. But the current permutation does not mean that Duncan Robinson or any salary goes out. It remains to be seen whether Danilo will be bought out by the Spurs, who could struggle to meet the salary floor. Then you could also talk about an attractive salary at Danilo. The only certainty with such a move is that Heat certainly wouldn’t be playing the same switch-everything defense as PJ Tucker. Galinari, as the Heat’s 4-1 win over the Hawks in the first round showed, can still drive streak scores. But he’s also, without a doubt, nowhere near the defensive presence as Tucker. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what the Spurs do with Gallinari.