After a demoralizing NBA Finals defeat, Miami Heat's players and team President Pat Riley will have a lot of decisions in the upcoming weeks. It all starts with LeBron James, then they will work its way down from there.
James ($20.5 million). Dwayne Wade ($20 million), and Chris Bosh ($20.5 million) all have player options with the team next season. If they opt in, the Big 3 will be under contract for one more season at that price tag. If they opt out, all three will be unrestricted free agents and can choose to play wherever they want.
It doesn't just stop there, the only other players under contract for next season are Udonis Haslem (player option), Chris Anderson (player option), Norris Cole and Justin Hamilton (team option). Let's just say the one's with player options opt out and the Heat decline the option on Hamilton, Norris Cole would be the only player legitimately under contract for next season. Pretty thing on the ground that is for sure.
Let's say if everybody opts in, (James, Wade, Bosh, Anderson, Haslem) and they pick up the team option on Hamilton. That gives them seven players under contract leaving the franchise already $6 million over the salary cap. Miami has two draft picks in next week's draft, and can use a mid level exception on a veteran and another on a veteran's minimum contract. That will take some more selling from Riley to recruit a veteran or two to come play for the Heat at a discount, as he's done in the past with Mike Miller, Ray Allen and Shane Battier.
Here's a few givens.
Shane Battier is retiring, reports say Ray Allen is leaning that way too. Mario Chalmers is all but gone after a horrible postseason, and James Jones and Rashard Lewis are well past their primes. One thing showed in the Finals, the Heat looked old without a supporting cast to help.
Michael Beasley, Greg Oden and Toney Douglas played sparingly all season. Beasley got the most run out of the three, but was inactive in several playoff games, as Erik Spoelstra didn't trust his defense. I wouldn't expect any of the three back.
That rounds out the roster. There have been reports surfacing that the Heat will make a push at Carmelo Anthony if he tests the market, but could you honestly see Melo taking a paycut? One thing is for certain, Lebron isn't about the money, he wants the rings. He reportedly made 30 million off an investment when Beats by Dre sold to Apple. He can make more money off the court then on it.
Wade has earned a lifetime contract with the Heat and is pretty much grandfathered in. Three rings in 11 years will do that. As for Bosh? Who knows. He's stated that he loves Miami and wants to stay there. If I'm Pat Riley, I look to move Bosh in a sign and trade while his value is still high. He's great at spotting up from three, and attempted the most three's for the Heat in the postseason, but is that what you want your four or five doing the whole game? Miami was exposed down low by the Spurs in a bad bad way, getting dominated on the glass and down low all series.
It will be an interesting couple of weeks down in Miami, and you just wonder what kind of roster will be there next season.