The Miami Heat Dilemma

This year’s NBA free agency is shaping up to be one the most memorable in recent years. Already this offseason has provided headlines to make you keep your head in Twitter for days. Just to show how crazy this offseason has already been, here is list of just some of the major headlines so far:

 

  • LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade are all free agents
  • Kevin Love is looking to force the hand of Flip Saunders to ensure he is traded from the Timberwolves
  • Jason Kidd now believes he is Gregg Popovich, and is forcing his way out of Brooklyn to have full control of the Milwaukee Bucks
  • The hiring of former NBA players, Steve Kerr (Golden State) & Derek Fisher (New York)
  • Second tier free agents like Kyle Lowry, Chandler Parsons, Eric Bledsoe, Pau Gasol could all be on the move

 

However, one thing we do know is that the ball will drop in free agency once we figure out the plan of the Miami Heat. There is a ton of speculation on what they might do, but here is how I see it shaping out.

 

With James, Wade and Bosh all opting out of their contracts, it looks more and more likely the big three will return to Miami. However, there is one wrinkle that should cause Heat fans to worry about the return of all three stars. As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo sports, LeBron James is seeking a maximum deal from the Miami Heat, which in turn would require both Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to take less money if Miami wants to improve their team for next season. I’m not sure if LeBron would force the Heat’s hand, but you never know. LeBron has already sacrificed once in 2010, will he do it again?

If I had to guess, here is what I think happens with “the big three”.

 

  • LeBron signs a deal over 5 years that pays him 20 million per. Instead of the 130 million max deal, LeBron will factor in the state free tax, playing in the Eastern Conference and a chance on building his legacy in Miami to sign a contract that will pay him 100 million at the end.
  • Chris Bosh signs a 5 year deal that pays him 15 million per, for a total of 75 million over that time. Chances are there will be another opt-out in this contract to give him the opportunity to sign one more big deal to finish off his career if he chooses.
  •  Dwayne Wade will sign a 5 year deal that pays him 13 million per, for a total contract of 65 million, ensuring he retires in Miami.

When you add it all up; this group will take 48 million of a possible 63 million dollar salary cap. Leaving them with 15 million if Miami wants to stay within the salary cap boundaries.

However, according to Spotrac.com, Miami’s roster totalled just over 80 million in salary during the 2013-2014 season. So I am sure that pat Reilly and Co. will have no problem spending at least the same amount this offseason and go into the luxury tax.

 

So how will Miami fill out the rest of their roster? I have no idea how it will play out, but let’s take a stab at predicting what the defending Eastern Conference champs will do this offseason.

 

When they started in 2010, they were fine with a young point guard in Mario Chalmers. I think they may roll the dice again and go with Shabazz Napier as their starting point guard next season. The rumours of getting Kyle Lowry may happen, but he would take a big chunk out of the remaining funds, so I could see the Heat looking at free agents Kirk Hinrich or Shaun Livingston to add depth to the point guard option.

 

Where Miami really needs help, however, is on the front line. They could go after a guy like Marcin Gortat, but like Lowry, he is looking for around 10 million per season, as he too had a fine 2013-2014 campaign.

You have to remember one thing though; free agents will take a discount to come to Miami, play with LeBron, and possibly win a championship. So don’t count out Gortat or even possibly someone like Pau Gasol signing with Miami. They could probably get Gasol for 21 million over 3 years, which wouldn’t take a huge dent out of their budget of 80 million. Throw in a player like Trevor Ariza and the roster starts to shape up nicely for the Heat.

So out of total speculation; this is one example of how Miami’s roster may look next season:

 

C – Marcin Gortat (9 million) / Chris Anderson (3 million) / Justin Hamilton (800k)

F – Chris Bosh (15 million) / Udonis Haslem (2 million) / Rashard Lewis (1.5 Million)

F – LeBron James (20 Million) / Trevor Ariza (6 million) / Alan Anderson (3 million)

G – Dwayne Wade (13 Million) / Ray Allen (2 Million) / James Jones (1.5 million)

G – Shabazz Napier (2 Million) / Shaun Livingston (3 million) / Toney Douglas (1.5 million)

 

Total Salary = 83.3 million.

 

We can only guess how it will all play out, but one thing we know for sure is that come July 1st, Twitter will be exploding with more news and rumours than one can keep track of, making this a great time to be an NBA fan.

 

 

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