Despite all the rumors revolving around the Miami Heat considering using the amnesty clause on Mike Miller, Joel Anthony or even Dwyane Wade (a bit further down the line), team president Pat Riley doesn’t think that’s an option worth considering.
The Miami Heat’s payroll, at the moment, is at $87 million – $28 million over the salary cap and $15.6 million above the luxury tax threshold. This all comes down to paying $30 million in taxes, and a total wage bill of $117 million for the Heat.
While the Miami Heat aren’t LA, Chicago or New York, they can certainly cope with that kind of expenditure and remain profitable. That’s life when the best player in the world is on your side, and the Big Three era has brought three consecutive NBA finals. With the main goal being winning as much as possible with this current roster, one of the oldest in the NBA, breaking it up before it has run its course just doesn’t make sense.
We want to win and we want to win again next year and we’re going to try to do everything we can to do that. What I said at the end of the season is what I meant. I want to try to keep this team intact as long as we can because we have a championship basketball team here and continuity being, I think the most important thing to when it comes to winning championships. I would hate to break it up.
There’s also the Dwyane Wade option, who might be headed towards a steep decline if his knee doesn’t heal well of the offseason. Wade is owed $18.6 million next season, and then has two player option years on his deal worth a combined $41.6 million. While Wade might be the biggest Miami-only sports superstar in city history, paying that much to a marginal player (he’s not there yet, but who knows) just doesn’t make sense.
A big part of the next decision will be LeBron James. Not just because he, and the rest of the big three, can opt out of their deal in 2014, but because Riley will try to use James as a pivot point to building and hopefully keeping the Heat as title contenders. Not just as a way to attract free agents, but also using his opinion on the guys he’d like with him.
On paper, Joel Anthony is the easiest choice to make right now. Around $7.6 million left, and a player that has no use during the postseason, and not much more during the regular season. Mike Miller is also worth considering, but he might retire due to his back problems, and he gives a special blend of rebounding, three-point shooting and clutch, especially in the finals.
The Heat might not have the most talented team when it comes to their bench, but these are winners, and players who fit their superstars like a glove. Breaking that up due to a luxury tax they can afford simply doesn’t make sense at this point.