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Report: Heat losing NBA Finals won’t affect LeBron James’ free agent decision

Jun 13, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

LeBron James LeBron James

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have early termination options in the final years of their respective deals with the Heat, meaning that one or all of them can choose to opt out to either sign a longer term deal to stay in Miami, or test the waters with other teams as unrestricted free agents this summer.

Currently trailing three games to one in the NBA Finals, while only being able to hang with the surgical Spurs for very brief stretches, Miami is likely to face some difficult decisions this summer should any of the Big Three force the issue from a contract standpoint by demanding a re-up to stay.

The roster needs upgrades, both on the bench and possibly to one or more pieces in the starting lineup to truly come back next season as favorites to (presumably) recapture the crown. But the front office won’t have to wait too long to know where the roster stands, considering that at least LeBron’s decision won’t be affected by the result of the championship series.

From Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com:

The Miami Heat would have to make history to come back from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit, but the future of their best player doesn’t hinge on that happening.

The Heat’s success or failure in these Finals will not affect LeBron James’ decision on whether to opt out of his contract by the end of this month, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

There’s nothing more contained in the piece that indicates which way LeBron is leaning, so the question becomes, if the Finals loss won’t impact the decision of whether or not to opt out, what will?

It will likely be the conclusion reached by James and his teammates.

LeBron, Wade and Bosh came into this venture together, and after reaching the Finals in four consecutive seasons — something no team has done since the Celtics did it back in the 1984-87 seasons — they won’t blow it up just because San Antonio was better this time.

The most likely scenario would involve all three players opting out and signing longer-term deals to stay; the only issue, and it’s a serious one, will be at what price.

The Carmelo Anthony rumor is a complicated pipe dream, because too many superstars in their prime would need to take significantly reduced salaries in order to make that happen, and that still wouldn’t leave much money left over for critical, competent role players who could fill out the roster.

James may not need the result of the Finals to help make his decision. But the way the Heat will need to reshape the roster will play a significant role in how many millions over what number of years the team will need to offer in order to get the game’s best player to commit to stay.

  1. prareedoggin - Jun 13, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Just read that the Texas police made an arrest regarding game 1s AC outage. Apparently he sabotaged it. And it’s extremely convenient that the Spurs had cooking fans at halftime and Miami did not. Crazy, San Antonio Patriots lol

    • bucrightoff - Jun 13, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      And that helps explain the historic beatdowns Miami just suffered in their own arena….

      • redbaronx - Jun 13, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        @bucrightoff – LMAO! Nice response to prareedoggin! “Historic beatdowns”. Funny…but true!

    • moppop - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:36 AM

      Only fools get duped by satire. You should read the Onion, fool.

  2. prareedoggin - Jun 13, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Cooling* fans*
    Lol @ cooking

    • mackcarrington - Jun 13, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      On most keyboards the L is right next to the K.

      • philtration - Jun 13, 2014 at 10:16 PM

        And most people know the difference…

    • xonxrocket - Jun 13, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      Well they are cooked so it seemed appropriate…

  3. cantonbound13 - Jun 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    How many all-stars does LeBron need to team up with to get a ring? Not 3, not 4, not 5….. LOL!!!

    • angulocarlos1 - Jun 13, 2014 at 7:41 PM

      Not sure why your all proud, melo is leaving your Knicks, good luck with your crappy New York team

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 13, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        We’ll be fine with or without him. We have the greatest mind in basketball developing our roster.

      • mogogo1 - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        Yes, because that coaching search was a thing of beauty to behold. Legendary coach but Phil isn’t starting out like a natural at running a team.

  4. thesixersbench - Jun 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    “According to a source with knowledge of the situation.”

    I hate 21st Century “Journalism”.

  5. cruzan80 - Jun 13, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    The Heat, Rockets & Chris Bosh should work out a sign & trade this summer.

    Heat get :
    Omer Asik
    Jeremy Lin
    Terrence Jones

    Rockets Get:
    Chris Bosh

    Rockets do this because they’ve made it clear all year that they want a 3rd “star” to pair with Howard & Harden. Bosh would fir that line up nicely & I think he would be much better utilized there compared to what he’s done in Miami over the past 4 years.

    Heat do this because let’s just be real…Bosh never really fit this squad. Four years on the team & they still have nights struggling to get him involved. The guy was a 20 & 8 PF his entire time in Toronto then got turned into a 6’10” SG in Miami. He’s better than that…it just wasn’t an ideal fit. This trade will directly address some of the Heat’s biggest needs. A true center who is young, can score & is an excellent defender in Asik. A PG who can actually score & make plays in Lin. Some young legs in Jones who’s production is almost identical to Bosh’s minus the 3 point shooting but with much room for his game to grow.

    Seems like a win, win as far as I see & I think this would be more than enough to keep LBJ on south beach. I would like to hear what Heat fans think…..

    • heat256 - Jun 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Are you Daryl Morley? You keep proposing this BS trade that is really not that great, considering the Heat have to take another mediocre, slow footed PG in Lin. Throw in Parsons at least to make it juicy.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 13, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        Enjoying the Finals? I know I am!

      • heat256 - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        Actually, Richie, while you’re out looking for youngins, I am accepting the Heat are getting taken to town by a better team. No shame in that. Tell me, when Melo tells Phil to shove off, will you be saying you never wanted him anyways?

      • cruzan80 - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        You think Chris Bosh is worth Lin, Asik, Jones AND Parsons????

        I’ll some of whatever your smoking sir.

        Lin, is younger than your current PG & even though he comes off the bench for the Rockets his PER is HIGHER than “super Mario’s”.

        The Heat are in the midst of getting blasted out of the Finals after barely winning it a year ago. What their doing isnt working buddy but since you feel this trade “is really not that great”….feel free to suggest another.

      • heat256 - Jun 13, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        I said to leave Lin out of it. MIA requires quick PG who can defend. Lin doesn’t fit that, and not at his price. I can concede Asik would help more, and I am not sold on Jones as he isn’t a real 3 point threat, at least nowhere near Bosh’s ability for a big man. I don’t really have any proposals as I do not think a team really wants to part with young talent for Bosh, who really is best suited for a #2 role at best. His skillset is being perfectly maximized in MIA and I honestly don’t know how he may fare as a strict post player at this stage after 4 years playing a more perimeter based role.

  6. antistratfordian - Jun 13, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    There is no reason the Heat can’t make it to the Finals for 5 or 6 straight years. So it would be rash to break them up just because of a loss. But a few things have to change – and they have to do with Wade’s role and the style of defense they play.

    • bucrightoff - Jun 13, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      Of course there’s no reason. They get to beat up on the JV Eastern Conference, so yeah 4-5more Finals in a row looks possible. Of course it’s gonna be a bunch of beatdowns when they finally play a Western Conference team, but hey losing 4 or 4 Finals in a row is impressive

      • antistratfordian - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:14 PM

        Where were these beatdowns the last 2 years? So no – they are probably not going to lose 4 straight finals.

        But you’re right – 4 more finals in a row looks possible.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      NO, LBJ won’t let a loss in the Finals affect him and his decision…

      But, watching a 54 yr old D Wade stuck to the floor like he had roots just might affect his decision…

      He knows he has a soft Bosh, a 3 pt shooting 7 footer afraid to bang it down low… he’s not a rim protector…

      Oh, did I mention that D Wade is aging in dog years too?

      That is what will affect Lebron’s decision…

      • antistratfordian - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:27 PM

        Yeah, that’s why I mentioned Wade’s role. And that’s also why I mentioned the Heat’s style of defense – they have to get some size back there and stop asking aging legs to hustle so much. Their method worked for a few years – but to think they could sustain that indefinitely as players age… unrealistic. I think they knew that and expected it to catch up with them eventually, but weren’t exactly sure when. Well now they know.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 13, 2014 at 6:21 PM

        yeah, well people laugh at me for saying this, but if the Pacers let Lance Stephenson walk…

        the Heat should consider signing him.

        The Heat have older players who could keep him in line and the kid has potential.

        young, athletic etc… I’d still keep Kawhi Leonard if I had my choice before Lance but we all know San Antonio is keeping Leonard, like til he retires…

        I said this several times when the Lance saga was playing out as the Pacers were being brushed aside a few weeks back.

        Is there risk? Yes. But there is a lot of potential reward.

        Depends whether Riles thinks his vets can help keep the kid’s head screwed on right.

        he IS a tempting young player, physically…

        mentally is the question…

        And think of this… it was the PACERS who gave Leonard to the Spurs for George Hill…

        Now it could kind of be the Pacers who give Lance to the Heat (by letting him walk).

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 13, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        sportsfan18, I was thinking the same thing. It wasn’t these Finals, it was Wade and his 80-year-old knees – you could hear it when he was asked about his “rest plan” over the course of the season. He seemed annoyed that he missed so many games and they never had a consistent roster.

      • johnc44 - Jun 13, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        The Heat can`t sign anyone big unless the big 3 opt out and take less when they resign.They might be willing to do that to sign Carmelo but no way are they taking less money to sign and play with Lance Stephenson.

    • redbaronx - Jun 13, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      @antistratfordian – Be real. The Heat should have lost to San Antonio last year as well. If it weren’t for a three by Allen and Manu sucking all year last year, Miami would have lost last year too.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 13, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        If they should have lost to San Antonio they would have. If the Spurs were supposed to win the series they would’ve won the Game 6 OT or Game 7. But they lost both.

      • redbaronx - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        You know it, and I know it. You can try to dismiss it by saying “if they should have lost to San Antonio they would have”. We all know that it took a miracle for the Heat to win last year. This year there isn’t any doubt about it. Spurs are the better team.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        I know that the Heat won because they were able to execute down the stretch and the Spurs weren’t. I don’t know what else to say.

      • redbaronx - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        You can say they hit a lucky 3 that bailed them out last year, and that this year the Spurs have proven that they’re the better team. Come on …..just say it. I know it’s killing you, but the truth will set you free.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:12 AM

        There the Spurs were, at the end of Game 7, down two points, 50 seconds left. Duncan misses a big shot, then LeBron makes a big shot. And that’s the championship.

        That’s why the Spurs lost last year.

      • redbaronx - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:16 AM

        You can quibble all you want about game 7, but everyone knows it took a miracle for the Heat to win Game 6. The Heat had no business winning game 6.

        Again, I know it hurts you, but admit it. Spurs are better.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:22 AM

        So you’re saying that if you’re down 3 points with 19 seconds left, and you make corner three within that time, that this constitutes a “miracle”?

        Hardly.

        The Heat made all of the shots they needed to make while the Spurs missed all of the shots they needed to make. That was the case in Game 6, Game 6 OT, and Game 7.

      • redbaronx - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:28 AM

        No….what I’m saying is down by 5 with 30 seconds left the Heat winning was a miracle. First it took a midcourt scramble where the Spurs had the ball and all they had to do was maintain possession.

        Second…the shot.

        You can talk all you want, but even the Heat officials at the game had already anointed the Spurs and were readying the trophy presentation ceremony. It’s well documented. No need for you to reply…it’s been discussed a million times and only Heat fans are blind enough not to realize the Heat got away with one last year.

        No such luck this year. The Heat are getting destroyed and even the Heat know who the better team is! You can see it in their body language.

        So thank you for playing! It’s been fun! The best TEAM is winning this year.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:34 AM

        If the Spurs wanted to win they should’ve made the highest percentage shots taken at the end of that game – but they missed them. That’s no miracle – that’s crumbling under pressure.

        LeBron and Allen can hit clutch threes. They’ve done it several times in their careers. That’s no miracle either.

        The Spurs couldn’t execute, so they lost. There’s no more to the story than that.

      • redbaronx - Jun 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM

        @antistratfordian – Again you’re laughable! Spurs “crumbling under pressure”? Seriously?

        The Heat said before the Finals this year said that they wanted to prove last year was no fluke. Hmmmmm. That didn’t go over too well did it?

        Miami should have one less banner. You know it, but you can’t bring yourself to say it. It’s OK dude.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 14, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        So you don’t think the Spurs crumbled under pressure at the free throw line last year? What do you think happened there? Those were miracles? God knocked the ball off of the rim?

        In fact, the Spurs crumbled that entire 4th quarter. They were up double digits and LeBron basically cut it down to nothing by himself. Then Pop made some of the worst coaching mistakes he’s ever made. Those weren’t miracles… it was the Spurs panicking and misfiring.

  7. Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Unless that decision has been made to leave , and it has been made already, this is BS.

  8. nard100 - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Have fun haters putting in your jabs against the Heat, but unless you root for the Spurs, remember, your team is gonna get the same beatdown or worse next year. Hats off to the Spurs.

  9. balsagna - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    You mean to tell me three straight double digit drubbings to get bounced out of the finals won’t effect his decision? Sorry. I’m not buying that. Nothing we have seen so far points to Miami winning games convincingly or not losing by double digits. Lebron, please leave Miami. As a Cavs fan, I don’t care where you go. You can go play for the Celtics for all I care. These Heat fans think it’s inconceivable that Lebron leaves Miami. I would love to see their faces as they get a taste of what it’s like to be a Cleveland sports fan. They don’t deserve the team they root for and I would love for them to learn the hard way.

    • mbuda732 - Jun 13, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      Chalmers or Kyrie Irving as your Point guard? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

    • redbaronx - Jun 13, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      @balsagna – Heat fans talk a lot of smack, but they’re one LeBron departure away from being the 8th seed or worse in the East. Frankly I don’t think Wade is going to last much longer.

  10. bbk1000 - Jun 13, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    I’m thinking he’s a coward…..always has been, always will be…let’s see what happens…..

  11. chiadam - Jun 13, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    Three years into weaseling his way into a hand-picked All-Star roster and once again it’s everyone else’s fault when James’ team gets cored in the Finals again. There’s always an excuse when James wets the bed. The supporting cast isn’t good enough. The coach isn’t good enough. The gym is too hot. Wade is too old. On and on and on.

    • angulocarlos1 - Jun 13, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      Your a complete idiot if you think Lebron is the reason why they have lost the last two games

  12. program33 - Jun 13, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    I would enjoy seeing Lebron and KD, rather than a Lebron and Wade or Lebron and Anthony. But we all know that’s not going to happen.

  13. jkirby317 - Jun 13, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Report: Heat losing NBA Finals won’t affect LeBron James’ free agent decision:

    B.S.

  14. grantgoodman93 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    However you spin it, Wade is toast.

  15. cwilson6843 - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    You guys have been waiting 3 long years to finally bash LeBron again I can tell. The man has made it to 4 straight finals and counting. Thats great by itself. The spurs are the best team this season by a long shot obviously. But you still can’t take away from what the heat achieved. There still the most dominant team of this decade. Say all you want about them, they’ve proven themselves.

  16. jkpantheryou - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    just read the language in the cba because this opting out and signing for less talk just sounded too good to be true.

    sure enough it’s nothing as simple as some want to believe it is. there are stipulations for veteran players that sign back on to the same team after exercising ETO. the big one is the first year of the new contract must be NO LESS than what the player option salary would have been. that means no money to be saved for the team in that scenario.

    the only way the heat can save is if players opt out and go elsewhere. the way wade and bosh look right now i bet the heat wish they had a team option for at least one of them. the club won’t have the cap space to put a contender around james with bosh and wade both due nearly 22M a piece.

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