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Report: LeBron doesn’t want to take pay cut just to save Heat owner tax money

Jun 17, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT

Houston Rockets v Miami Heat Houston Rockets v Miami Heat

Miami’s “big three” have a message: Don’t save it, spend it.

If one thing was clear from the NBA Finals and the way the Spurs easily handled the Heat the last three games, it’s that Miami needs to revamp its roster some to compete with the best of the West. Not the tear down to the studs rebuild that some talking heads suggest, but they need to get deeper, more athletic — and that takes some money. The Heat can’t change that dynamic with veteran minimum guys.

The challenge there is that if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all opt in for next season, with Norris Cole locked in, the Heat are at the salary cap line (and that is before Udonis Haslem decides whether to opt in for $4.6 million). Pat Riley can recruit with the best of them, but the people he wants to recruit want to get paid and other teams can offer that.

Which is why it has been suggested that Miami’s “big three” would all opt out then re-sign in Miami for less money.

However, LeBron doesn’t want to take less if the Heat aren’t going to spend that money — he’s not concerned with owner Micky Arison’s luxury tax bill, reports Mitch Lawrence at the New York Daily News.

As team insiders have maintained for months, James isn’t interested in reducing his salary from $20.6 next season and $22.1 million in 2015-16 just so that team owner Micky Arison can avoid paying luxury taxes. As they say, been there, done that and all it got James was second place.

Bosh, who makes identical money to James, and Wade, who makes slightly less, at around $41.5 million for the next two seasons, also don’t want to rework their deals solely to give Arison another tax break. They want the money put to good use, meaning adding talent so that Miami can return to the Finals for a fifth straight season. No team has done that since the Red Auerbach-led Celtics of the 1960s.

That’s logical.

Here’s the thing — the big three don’t want to break up. LeBron isn’t looking to bolt, he likes Miami, he trusts management there (you think he trusts the owner in Cleveland? New York?) and this team has been to four straight Finals. It’s much easier to retool to win in Miami than it would be contend after a move to any team that can afford to sign him.

The long-shot Carmelo Anthony to the Heat rumors fit in here — all four would have to take a serious pay cut (down to about $14.6 million) but the Heat would add another serious scoring threat. Why that works for Heat management is they improve the team but it also likely would keep them under the luxury tax line because they could only use minimum contracts to round out the roster.

I think a smarter path for the Heat would be to get the big three to take pay cuts so Miami could go after someone like Kyle Lowry — a dynamic, scoring point guard. Positionally that is more of a need than a combo forward like ‘Melo. Even a point guard like Patty Mills (also a free agent) would be a nice upgrade at that spot. Miami also needs depth, athleticism and some size up front.

Pat Riley just needs real flexibility to go get it.

The big three might give it, but they want the owner to spend it, not hoard it away.

Miami Heat could look drastically different next season

  1. thenew013 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Bosh and Wade are overpaid. They need a quality PG and C. If everybody is really about winning they should be able to work something out.

    • gatorfan1 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      That’s ridiculous. Lebron is the point guard and don’t believe he will ever give that up. He fancies himself as some Svengali basketball maestro who is this incredibly gifted unselfish play maker, that sees the floor like no other. All the while being built like the predator and not caring about rebounding, on a team known for not rebounding. You guys ever wonder why Chalmers and Norris aren’t good point guards, because they have never been allowed to develop over the year. Lebron complains about playing to much, why didn’t he demand that those two be allowed to learn how to run a team. Gee maybe that’s why he left Cleveland, Mike Brown didn’t cow down to letting Lebron just take over ball handling whenever he wants. However, no doubt Riley agreed to this while recruiting Leberon (illegally I might add) so basically they are stuck with an egomaniac who will do what’s best for his “legacy” in his own head, about what a wonderful facilitator of the ball, while people are killing him on the boards, where you know…forwards are actually supposed to play.

      • heat256 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        You, sir, are a vastly misinformed fool. Give me a list of SF who have his averages and do anything close to what he does. I’ll wait. Your other “points” are without any basis in reality, and therefore must be the ramblings of a lunatic. May God have mercy on your soul.

    • money2long - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:47 PM

      When I asked if heat fans would rather mills or chalmers , anti shot it down. I wonder what he thinks now.

  2. emdawt - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    If the Lakers made changes then the Heat will have to make changes. They have been over the cap since 2011. I don’t care how wealthy you are, no one wants to pay $1 on $1 penalty.

    What incentive does Wade have to opt out and not take $20 million?

  3. 5xchamp24 - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    To think that Bosh got paid the same as LB this year, just because they wanted to team up together, is atrocious.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      This year?

      LBJ and Chris Bosh have made the EXACT same salary for EACH of their 4 seasons in Miami…

      And D Wade has made a bit LESS each season than Bron and Bosh…

  4. cranespy - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    D Wade opts out and goes home to Chicago to play the role of Manu with the Bulls who have given 2 first rounders to Phil to get Melo. The Bulls win the East in 7 over Lebron, Stephenson, Bosh,Landry et al. while the Celts and Knicks build for the future.

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