On the expected part of this NBA offseason, both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have opted out of their deals with the Miami Heat, leading everyone to believe that the plan of re-signing the big three for new, lower salaries is a step closer towards completion. But maybe there’s a wild card? There is, if reports of LeBron James looking for a max contract are true.
There are too many whispers, rumors and half truths about everything going on right now in Miami. LeBron James opted out, Wade and Bosh followed and even Udonis Haslem, who isn’t going to make the money he left on the table anywhere else, took a bullet for the team. It seems that the theory of everyone on this team staying put just so they can retool the roster around the big three with more cap space than before is coming true.
Wade left $41.8 million on the table with his opt out. Bosh leaves $42.6 million. Bosh, unlike Wade, has a shot at making something close to maximum money if he tries and signs somewhere else. But from the words coming out from his mouth (Wade hasn’t really spoken since the NBA finals), Bosh wants to stay with the Heat and is willing to lose money if it means still playing next to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
But just how much money is enough to make the Heat serious players for some big free agency additions? There’s been the talk of Carmelo Anthony joining the team, as he himself would take less money to join his other three 2003 NBA draft “classmates.” Kyle Lowry is the best point guard in this free agency while both Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers are now free agents. Adding Shabazz Napier is good, but the Heat need more than him running the point, no matter how much LeBron James wants him.
And now there’s this: LeBron James asking for a maximum contract, which if he stays with the Heat goes to $126 million over five years. This means, if the plan is to have cap space open (before we even mention mid level exception the Heat will use this season), both Wade and Bosh will need to take an even bigger hit to their new salaries. Hard to separate the truth from the rumor and the lie, but with plenty of options possible, maybe James isn’t only about title and is also about money.
Even with LeBron James asking for more money, the plan seems to be working. Someone said that Pat Riley is going to pull off something bigger than in 2010 this offseason. We don’t know who is going to join the trio, but right now it seems like Riley has been able to keep the team intact and open up space for significant additions. They just need those talks about LeBron James wanting more money to go away.