For the Miami Heat, the Summer of FOMO continues.
And when Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell are the potential prizes, the fear of missing out is understandable.
But at some point, it also becomes a matter of getting your house in order.
Yes, the Heat have it out there that they are content to move forward with a team that lost only 37-year-old PJ Tucker from a roster that stood within one victory of the NBA Finals.
But there also likely are potential deals to be made if not for the FOMO factor.
The Indiana Pacers have made it eminently clear they are open for the business of change, with Myles Turner one of the few remaining pieces from the team’s previous incarnation.
The Atlanta Hawks have moved to even more of a backcourt-driving approach, perhaps to the dismay of John Collins.
The Sacramento Kings reshuffle could leave Harrison Barnes shuffled out.
The Charlotte Hornets might be poised to move on from the sometimes-available reality of Gordon Hayward.
And Jae Crowder has utilized social media in a way that certainly does not rule out relocation.
Against those backdrops stand the Heat with their three abundantly obvious trade mechanisms:
— The $16.9 million 2022-23 salary of Duncan Robinson, the ballast needed to balance trades under the salary-cap.
— The potential of Tyler Herro, a trade component that could entice suitors, but one on a ticking clock, with an extension agreement with the 2022 NBA Sixth Man of the Year this offseason effectively removing him from the trade market.
— First-round picks. With the Heat currently able to deal two, potentially able to unlock a third, and capable of offering a fourth in the person of No. 27 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic, who now is trade eligible one month after signing his rookie-scale contract.
All three of those potential components likely would be necessary in a package for Kevin Durant (and perhaps even more).
The three certainly could come into play for a possible deal for Mitchell.
But permutations involving two of the aforementioned elements might suffice in something less shiny, but something that still could provide a sturdy upgrade.
As for the trade elements: Robinson already has been replaced by the move to Max Strus in the starting lineup; Herro, at least in the short term, can be replaced by Victor Oladipo in the wing rotation should he be dealt for a big man; and the last time Pat Riley stood with fingers triggered to a first-round pick was when?
But much like Riley’s “one suit, one shirt, one tie” edict when the Heat traveled to Dallas for two potential closeout games of the 2006 NBA Finals against the Mavericks, there likely is one move of substance potentially still left for the Heat this offseason .
Thus, the FOMO.
Move now for an element that fills out the starting lineup at power forward, and trades of Durant and Michell elsewhere could produce a what-if hangover.
Of course, Durant and Mitchell might not be going anywhere. It’s not as if Sean Marks has said Durant has played his last game in Brooklyn, or Danny Ainge has said the same of Mitchell in Utah.
Crowder, in the final year of his contract, certainly could be an efficient one-year stopgap, similar to what Tucker ultimately proved to be.
Collins would provide the type of offensive spark missing in recent years at power forward for Erik Spoelstra, certainly more potential in that regard than going with Caleb Martin as the starting four.
Turner, even with his inconsistency, might stand as the perfect power balance to Bam Adebayo, with his 3-point stretchability and deterrence component.
As for Haywood or Barnes, it at least would address the void created by Tucker’s free-agency departure to the Philadelphia 76ers.
But make any of those moves, and no follow-up avenue for Durant or Mitchell.
No, nothing has to be done at the moment, in August.
And the Heat have shown with their every-game-matters approach that victories still can be stacked at the start of the season with mix-and-match lineups, even with a question mark at power forward.
But continuity also matters. And at some point, you have to get to who you are, what you are, and what you can be.
Or you play the waiting game.
Even if it means the Summer of FOMO turns into the Autumn of FOMO.
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IN THE LANE
PAID RESPECTS: During his appearance at the charity golf outing for the foundation of Toronto Raptors coach Nick NurseHeat point guard Kyle Lowry was asked about the legacy of NBA legend Bill Russell, who died at 88 last Sunday. “I think he meant a lot to the African-American community in general, that’s the most important thing,” Lowry said. “He was one of those guys who stood up and kind of pushed for African-Americans to have more freedom, more say and just to be more of everything. Basketball-wise? Just amazing. One of the greatest athletes, one of the greatest players to have ever played this game. . . player-coach, everything he was able to do. We wish he was still here because we want to show him more love, give him more flowers, and give him more everything.”
WAITING GAME: Just as the Heat are waiting on a decision on whether power forward Udonis Haslem will return for a 20th season with the team, the Golden State Warriors have the same open-door policy for a return by former Heat forward Andre Iguodala. “I leave Andre alone,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told The Athletic about a potential return by Iguodala, 38. “He knows where we stand. If he wants to come back, we’d love to have him. The one thing we feel strongly about with Andre is we want to give him whatever space and time he needs to make a decision. I’m leaving him alone. Whenever he makes his decision is fine with us.” Iguodala left the Heat last summer for a return to Golden State, where he has won titles in 2015, ’17, ’18 and ’22. He appeared in 31 games for the Warriors last season, fewer than half he played for the Heat in 2020-21.
BACK AT IT: Yet to play for the Los Angeles Lakers after leaving the Heat last August in free agency, Kendrick Nunn said he finally is over the knee bone bruise that kept him out all of last season. “I feel great. I feel a hundred percent, to be honest,” Nunn said in an interview with Spectrum SportsNet, “back to where I’m normally playing at a high level.” With the Lakers limited with their offseason moves by the salary cap, Nunn, who picked up his $5.2 million player option for 2022-23, said last season made him appreciate the game. “Last year was a learning process for me, to be honest,” he said. “I learned a lot, sitting on the sidelines just watching. The game slowed down a lot for me. I got to see things from a different perspective. So I definitely took a step, just with my ability to learn the game.” Nunn’s most recent action came in the Heat’s Game 4 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, when he scored 18 points.
STILL GOING: Nicknamed The Scavenger during his Heat tenure for the career he has cobbled together after going undrafted out of Kansas State in 2013 and then beginning his professional career in Hungary, Rodney McGruder is now locked in for a seventh NBA season after signing a guaranteed, one-year deal to return to the Detroit Pistons. McGruder’s winding road included being traded last season by the Pistons to the Denver Nuggets, seeing that deal voided when Bol Bol failed his Detroit physical, and then McGruder returning to close out the season with the Pistons. McGruder, 31, appeared in 51 games last season.
$30 million+. Estimated payout from the NBA pool for teams that remain below luxury-tax threshold during 2022-23. The Heat, after the expected signing of veteran forward Udonis Haslemare expected to be $200,000 below the tax’s payroll threshold at the start of the season.