This is it – this is the great plan, or at least how things are unfolding for the Miami Heat: LeBron James taking a max-contract deal, although maybe a short term one, both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh taking massive pay cuts and leaving the NBA finalists with enough cap space to retool with some very good players, as Kyle Lowry stands on top of that list.
The final numbers the Heat are trying to reach is about $12 million in free cap space to make at least one big free agency signing, which would be Lowry, but also have eyes for Luol Deng who is contemplating plenty of offers from around the league, and at the moment isn’t too happy about taking a pay cut so he can play next to would be champions and on a contending team, even if it’s the Miami Heat.
James right now seems to be on his way to make $20.7 million next season. The Heat would probably like him to sign the five-year, $129 million that’s possible for him to take, but there’s a good chance that shorter term will suffice. Three, or maybe even two seasons, just enough for the remaining championship window before both sides reassess their situation and chances of winning or at least competing for more titles.
Whether or not James is doing this on his own accord or due to pressure from the Players association, it doesn’t matter.There seems to be enough for him of making less than he should. However, Bosh and Wade, who have both opted out of deals that would have made them more than $40 million each over the next two seasons, will be making a lot less than James, even if there are some contrasting reports coming out regarding each of them.
Right now, the words seems to be that Wade will make $12 million a season for the next four years and Chris Bosh will sign a deal that pays him $11 million for the next four as well, although there aren’t any details about player or team options. This makes a significant pay cut for them both, and Bosh at least could have gone after a bigger deal with the Heat or with anyone else if he wants to.
What about Kyle Lowry? He is coming off an excellent season with the Toronto Raptors and has spoken to both his former team and the Houston Rockets, also a team he played for. Now come the Miami Heat with the alluring prospect of playing next to James, Bosh and Wade (if they do re-sign with the team). Lowry might be able to make more somewhere else, and is probably dreaming of making around $10 million a season.
However, unless money is absolutely his first priority, Lowry might be willing to take a $7 million or $8 million per season deal, which makes him sufficiently paid (although might not be maximizing his value) and leaves the Heat with enough space to work with in order to make more significant signings, not to mention planning on using the mid level exception this time.