The Miami Heat are in an interesting position. Even though they lost in the NBA finals, it was their fourth straight appearance in the championship round. However, the Big Three can opt out and the Heat could find themselves thrust into rebuilding mode right away. Here’s a look at what’s next for the Heat.
What’s Up With The Big Three?
The Heat are in an interesting position as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could all opt out this summer. If they do, the Heat would be sent directly into rebuilding mode, which would be an unfamiliar position for a franchise that’s been the best in the Eastern Conference for four straight seasons.
However, opting out is unlikely – at least for two of the guys. Bosh is slated to make $20.59 M next season and $22.11 M in 2015-16. Considering how averaged he looked in the postseason, he’d be wise to hold on to that contract even as rumors of a marriage between him and the Los Angeles Lakers persist. As for Wade, he’s 32-years-old and his body is breaking down. He’s missed 74 games over the last three seasons and would be crazy to turn down $20 M next season and $21.56 M in 2015-16.
Don’t be surprised if James opts out, though. He should be able to re-up for more money if he wants or he might choose to go to a different destination. With more than $40 M tied up in Wade and Bosh, he might feel that the team can no longer contend for a title.
Clearly, the decisions of the Big Three – and James in particular – will be the story of the Heat’s offseason.
…The Big Four?
Rumors surfaced early last week that the Heat Big Three would opt-out in order to make room for Carmelo Anthony, who is said to be stepping out of his own contract in New York. Anthony desperately wants to compete for a title, and if the Heat’s Big Three take a pay cut – as the report indicated – then they could welcome Anthony. That would likely push Wade to the bench in a role which he’d be more than happy to take and take some pressure off of James, who was basically playing one-on-five by the end of the NBA finals. Nobody’s quite sure if the egos would mesh, or whether they’d all be able to share one basketball, but anything is possible. With Anthony in the fold, the Heat would without question again be the team to beat entering next season.
Cap Space Galore
The good news for the Heat is that they’ll have plenty of cap space. If the Big Three do opt-out and leave, the Heat could have as little as $10.2 M on the books. That’s because they have a glutton of expiring contracts.
Mario Chalmers is a free agent, Shane Battier is, as well, but has already stated that he is likely retiring, and Ray Allen’s contract is up. Toney Douglas, James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Michael Beasley, Greg Oden and DeAndre Liggins are free to leave as well. That leaves a player option for Udonis Haslem at $4.62 M, a team option for Juston Hamilton at $816,482 and Chris Andersen, who is on the books for just under $1.5 M.
Obviously, if the Heat bring back the Big Three, or add Anthony, they’ll have plenty of flexibility to build out the rest of their roster, and may end up being a winning NBA pick, again.