There are more important things for the Miami Heat right now than to think about free agency and signing new players, but it seems there’s a genuine interest among players and management of the defending NBA champions to try and bring over Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks if he opts out of his current contract.
How can the Heat, who aren’t exactly swimming in cap space, bring a player who commands a maximum salary and isn’t looking to take too much of a pay cut in order to make even his title ambitions be fulfilled? Easy. All three Heat stars – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can opt out of their deals this season and instead of making around $20 million next season, as all three of them together take up all of the cap space, they’ll each take a serious pay cut along with Anthony and make it possible for them to bring him over.
For Anthony, it becomes a matter of what’s most important to him – being the star of the franchise, making as much money as possible or simply being on a team that can win the NBA title, even if it means he sacrifices points and individual stats, which is something each member of the Heat’s big three did when deciding to team up and try to conquer the league, which they’ve done successfully twice.
It’s not just the stars who might try to take pay cuts in order to make it happen: Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen both have player options for next season, which means they can opt out of their deals and take pay cuts. Potentially, the Heat might be able to free up around $50 million in cap space to create room for Anthony to sign. Is this too much star power and ego on one team? It might be, but on paper, it’s incredible to think of what this team can do.
With these kind of temptations, who knows what Anthony is going to decide. Staying with the Knicks becomes less and less attractive because he’ll have to wait at least on year before he’ll be able to play on a contender. The Knicks, in no way or shape, are going to be good enough in order to pose a challenge for anyone in the East, which is probably something Anthony is thinking about very seriously.
The Heat reached the finals this season and regardless of whether or not they win a third consecutive title, they want to keep this team together, but know they need to upgrade. The only way of doing that is players sacrificing their salary to make some cap space available. The Heat players have until June 30 to notify the team if they’re opting out of their deals. Anthony has until June 23 to notify the Knicks what he’s going to do this summer.
Collusion? The NBA, with David Stern in charge, has cancelled a deal before which would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers and changed the course of NBA history. Who knows if someone will step in and intervene here, not allowing the Heat’s players to lower their salary or use some other argument. No one stopped the Lakers from adding Karl Malone and Gary Payton to the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in 2003. If everyone agrees to taking less money in order to win a championship, they should be allowed to do it.