The Miami Heat had the opportunity to lure small forward Rudy Gay last off-season, but they instead used a significant portion of their cap space for big man Kelly Olynyk. Fast forward to November, and fans are already questioning if Pat Riley made the right decision when he signed Olynyk to a four-year, $50 million deal. NBA scribe Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel tackled this particular issue in his latest mailbag session.

Blunder for Heat’s front-office?

With the decision to draft center Bam Adebayo, many thought the Heat would pursue a reliable wingman in the offseason. Gordon Hayward was the obvious No.1 option, but Miami also had a shot at landing a still rehabbing Rudy Gay early July.

Winderman confirmed that Gay indeed had legit interest in the Heat before he decided to join the San Antonio Spurs.

Although the Spurs might have still won the bidding war for Gay regardless of the Heat’s effort in free agency, the front office's failure at acquiring a proven scorer at wing position has come into focus. This follows the injury to Rodney McGruder and the decision to move Justice Winslow to power forward.

Olynyk is averaging just 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. At 18.5 minutes per game, the big man is not on pace to reach the 1,700 minutes threshold that would trigger an extra $1 million in salary. Still, Winderman thinks it’s far too early to call the acquisition of Olynyk a mistake. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has the reputation of maximizing his players’ potential when given time, and he still has a good five and a half months to put Olynyk in a position to be productive.

Another Max for Hassan?

Winderman also discussed, in his mailbag, Whiteside’s future value in the free agency market. With the NBA becoming a position-less league and the impact of traditional centers becoming lesser in today’s game, Winderman questions whether the Heat will still consider re-signing Whiteside [VIDEO] to a max deal once his contract is up.

The Heat signed Whiteside to a four-year, $98 million deal, in the summer of 2015. They obviously hope he can evolve into a franchise player post-Big 3 era. Although he averaged at least 15 points and 13 rebounds these past three seasons, Whiteside hasn’t become the ideal leader the Heat wished for. In addition, Spoelstra has fully embraced position-less basketball this season, further undermining Whiteside’s effectiveness on the floor.

“I wonder now, based on the somewhat limited exploration of Hassan's possibilities, and the casting of him as somewhat less than a leading man, whether a maximum offer again would be the approach,” Winderman said regarding Whiteside getting another max deal from the Heat in 2019.

Moving Batum contract

The Charlotte Hornets [VIDEO] lost small forward Nicolas Batum to a left elbow injury yet again. Batum missed the second half of the Hornets’ 129-124 OT win over the Washington Wizards with a left elbow contusion. It’s still unknown whether the recent injury will sideline Batum for a significant amount of time, but Jeremy Lamb is expected to fill the void left at small forward.

Batum has four years, $72 million left on his current deal. According to Hoops Rumors writer, Luke Adams, the Hornets aren’t going to have an easy time moving some of their overpaid players – including Batum. Unless general manager Rich Cho decides to throw in a future draft pick in the package, the Hornets are figured to go over the cap next season ($118 million).