Jun 30, 2014, 9:51 PM EDT
LeBron James has made it clear he wants help on the Miami Heat’s roster and he wants to see ownership spend to do it. He opted out early in part to put pressure on the Heat organization — upgrade this roster or I look at my options.
The three of them are going to lay back at the start of free agency and let Pat Riley recruit guys, but they are giving him contract frameworks to make that possible, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
As Miami Heat president Pat Riley begins to pursue free agency at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday, LeBron James and his Big Three teammates plan to give the franchise a window to recruit a supporting cast and close deals with them, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Heat’s free agents – James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem – have the framework of deals in place to remain with Miami, arming Riley with his limitations within the salary cap to sign talent, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
“Everybody has their [contract] number and has left a little bit of room to let [Riley] maneuver,” one source briefed on the contract discussions told Yahoo Sports.
With those three guys opting out the Heat have roughly $55 million in cap space, but the Heat do not have that cap space to play with, the Heat have cap holds for all three of those players for what they would make with a standard raise. Essentially, Riley’s hands are tied, he is over the cap line.
However, if they all gave him frameworks and left some on the table Riley will know what he has to spend — PBT has heard he has made offers to people in the $6-7 million range, which could be money is has under the cap to spend and/or part of the mid-level exception (which is expected to be $5.3 million a year or a little higher to start).
The question remains how much of a salary reduction Wade and Bosh are willing to take (LeBron wants a max or close to it). What LeBron in particular is doing is putting pressure on owner Micky Arison, who has said he would spend to keep this team competitive and together. LeBron wants to see that action.
If you think this gives you hope your team is going to land LeBron, don’t bet on it. Players will go to Miami to be part of a title run in a popular city (and a state with no sales tax). LeBron still isn’t taking meetings with teams.
He’s just going to wait a bit and see how things play out.
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