‘pre-agency’ a co­nun­drum

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports -

when Paul Ge­orge re-upped this sum­mer with the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der and when Kyrie Irv­ing vowed to do the same with the Bos­ton Celtics.

For the Heat, that means it ei­ther is Plan B for 2020 free agency or per­haps uti­liza­tion of that space in a trade for a po­ten­tial 2021 free agent.

Be­yond Davis, the free-agent class of 2020 hardly is trans­for­ma­tive, with the list of un­re­stricted free agents cur­rently headed by De­Mar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Dray­mond Green, Eric Gor­don, Tim Har­d­away Jr., Tris­tan Thomp­son, Reg­gie Jack­son, Avery Bradley, as well as 2019 re­stricted free agents who po­ten­tially could turn into 2020 un­re­stricted free agents.

In other words, the Sum­mer of 2020 hardly projects as gamechang­ing.

Then there is the op­tion to hold off un­til 2021 free agency, sim­i­lar to what the Lak­ers did with their cap cache this past off­sea­son, when the list of un­re­stricted free agents could in­clude Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo, Damian Lil­lard, Paul Ge­orge, Gor­don Hay­ward and, again, LeBron,

IN THE LANE

The way Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves coach Tom Thi­bodeau looks at it, Der­rick Rose could be­come the sec­ond-com­ing of Tim Har­d­away, a point guard seem­ingly rein­vent­ing him­self at 30, just as Har­d­away was able to write a sec­ond ca­reer chap­ter with the Heat start­ing at 29 in 1996. “It’s dif­fer­ent if a guy is mid-30s, late-30s, and then you’re say­ing, ‘That would be a stretch,’ “Thi­bodeau told Chicago’s Sun-Times of Rose’s re­vival. “But be­cause of his age, I thought he had the ca­pa­bil­ity again. And the guy we used was Tim Har­d­away, who went through some­thing sim­i­lar [at] Golden State, was in­jured, and came back and had great years in Mi­ami. If Der­rick can re­main healthy, it is go­ing to be great for him.” The Tim­ber­wolves face the Heat on Sun­day at 6 p.m. at Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena, be­low where Har­d­away’s num­ber hangs in the rafters.

RE­CRUIT­ING CEN­TER

Be­fore LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh came to­gether with the Heat dur­ing the 2010 off­sea­son, there was talk of James try­ing to form a su­per team in Cleve­land. Dur­ing his ESPN in­ter­view that aired on Christ­mas, James ad­mit­ted what had stood as ap­par­ent for years. “A lot of peo­ple didn’t want to come to Cleve­land, let me just throw that out there,” he said. “I tried to re­cruit so many guys to come to Cleve­land, and we ac­tu­ally had -- I had -- a cou­ple guys, and it just didn’t work out.” And then? “It wasn’t hard get­ting guys in Mi­ami, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “So now that I think be­ing in L.A., I don’t think it would be that hard to get guys here.” The litany that ar­rived at a dis­count to play along­side LeBron in Mi­ami in­cluded Mike Miller, Shane Bat­tier, Ray Allen and Chris An­der­sen, among oth­ers.

SPEAK­ING OF

In at­tempt­ing to as­sess the pres­sure on his team, Golden State War­riors coach Steve Kerr ap­par­ently over­looked the may­hem that en­gulfed the Heat at the start of the Big Three era in 2010. “We’re maybe the most scru­ti­nized team in the his­tory of the league,” he told ESPN. “We’re right there with the Bulls teams that I played on. I felt the same, but even more so now be­cause of the num­ber of me­dia out­lets and the im­me­di­acy of the judg­ment and crit­i­cism.” Um, yeah, no. Noth­ing was as in­tense that first Heat sea­son when LeBron tried to play vil­lain in 2010-11, lead­ing to the NBA Fi­nals demise against the Dal­las Mav­er­icks.

SNUBBED

With­out or with­out the trade of De­Mar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, Wade said he was sur­prised the Rap­tors weren’t part of Wed­nes­day’s fea­tured NBA fare. “I was sur­prised they didn’t have a Christ­mas game,” Wade said when the Heat hosted the Rap­tors the day after Christ­mas. “I don’t un­der­stand why they didn’t have a Christ­mas game, whether De­Mar is there or Kawhi is there.” The Heat last played on Christ­mas in 2015.

NO TIME

If Fort Laud­erdale Pine Crest prod­uct Bran­don Knight is go­ing to make a break­through with the Hous­ton Rock­ets, it might have to come on his own sched­ule, as he works back from knee surgery. “He’s in a tough spot,” coach Mike D’An­toni told the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle. “He hasn’t played in a year and a half.”

GER­ALD HER­BERT/AP

Pel­i­cans su­per­star for­ward An­thony Davis will be­come a free agent after the 2019-20 sea­son — if he’s not traded be­fore­hand. THROW­BACK

MATT MARTON/AP

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