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ASK IRA: Did Mark Cuban, Mavericks outmaneuver Heat for Christian Wood?

Q: The Dallas Mavericks just traded the end of their bench plus the 26th pick for Christian Wood. How could the Heat front office be asleep at the wheel and not put together a better deal to obtain Wood, who has averaged nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds the last two seasons and who would have been the perfect fit next to Bam Adebayo? – Greg, Jacksonville.

A: Because while the Heat could have offered a similar draft slot (they hold the No. 27 selection in next week’s NBA draft), they do not have the similar expiring contracts that Dallas sent in its package to the Rockets for Christian Wood. First, I highly doubt the Heat would have been willing to include Tyler Herro in such a package (nor, in this view, should they have). All the contracts that the Mavericks sent to the Rockets expire after next season. For the Heat to have matched Woods’ salary, it likely would have required Duncan Robinson being included, and he still has four years left on his deal. So, yes, while I agree that Christian Wood alongside Bam Adebayo would have been intriguing, you also have to have the requisite desirable assets to make the math work. The Mavericks had that, the Heat did not. Sometimes the math gets in the way. And that is no knock on Wood.

Q: I was disappointed that you said if Jimmy Butler would have hit his shot at the end of Game 7, the Heat would be playing for the championship. There were 16.6 seconds left in the game and the Heat would have been up by only one point, plenty of time for Boston to score another basket? Maybe the Heat would have stopped them, but we will never know? – Phil.

A: I said they could have been playing for the championship. But also keep in mind that the Heat were on an 11-0 run at the time of Jimmy Butler’s 3-point attempt in Game 7, the Celtics without a basket for more than four minutes at the time. So momentum certainly was all with the Heat. But, yes, there was more game to play. But the Heat’s chances also certainly would have grown exponentially with such a conversion.

Q: Ira, believe me that had Erik Spoelstra used Duncan Robinson for a few minutes in the final game, and had Robinson made one or two 3-point shots, we would have been playing in the Finals. – Masoud, Tucson, Ariz.

A: If nothing else, the playoffs made Duncan Robinson arguably the most polarizing Heat player of the postseason, or at least up there with Bam Adebayo. Then again, such is life with 3-point specialists – love ‘em when they’re hitting, loathe ‘em when they’re missing. It’s akin to closers in Major League Baseball, with little middle ground.

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