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Report: LeBron James has left Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh in the dark about his future with Heat

Jul 2, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

Houston Rockets v Miami Heat Houston Rockets v Miami Heat

LeBron James sacrificed nothing by opting out.

That’s not necessarily the case for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

If he wants, LeBron could re-sign for two years with a player option at the exact same salary he was set to earn in his previous contract. Or he could give himself a slight raise. Or he could sign a five-year max contract. Or he could sign a shorter max contract. Or he could accept less to give the Heat more flexibility.

Whatever LeBron wants to do, the Heat will bend over backward. If they don’t, other teams will line up to do so.

That might even be the case for Bosh, too, though I’m not absolutely, totally, 100 percent certain Bosh can get a full max deal. With his health, Wade almost certainly can’t. Maybe they’ll get long-term security in exchange for taking lower salaries, but that’s still sacrificing something.

There are a lot of moving parts to accommodating all three, but they went through this in 2010. I figured they could get on the same page again this summer. After all, they met last week to discuss their contract status.

But that meeting didn’t resolve much.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

The only certainty coming out of the meeting concerning James was that he wanted a maximum-level salary.

James did not ask or suggest that Wade and Bosh opt out of their deals or take lesser salaries to allow the Heat to add other top players, according to the sources.

Bosh and Wade are intent on returning to Miami, but neither of them knows what James will do.

Bosh and Wade were so uncertain about James’s future after last week’s meeting that one of them spoke about what the Heat might look like without James, according to one source.

The decisions of Bosh and Wade to opt out of the final two years and $42 million of their contracts were sparked by their desire to add better players in an effort to entice James to stay in Miami, one source said.

Bosh is looking to sign a five-year deal worth between $80 million and $90 million while Wade is thinking along the lines of $55 million-60 million over four years, sources said.

If Wade and Bosh accepted salaries on the lowest end of those ranges and fully backload their deals and LeBron gets the max, the Heat would fall $9,646,014 below the projected salary cap.

That’s lower than a previous report indicated, but it’s much more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,305,00) Miami could have offered had Bosh and Wade opted in or demanded larger salaries.

On a four-year contract, a free agent could make $41,188,480 with that projected cap room – $18,536,130 more than he could with the full MLE. That’s a significant difference, one large enough to keep the Heat in play for players like Kyle Lowry, Pau Gasol and Luol Deng.

But it would require convincing Wade and Bosh to accept the low end of their desired salary ranges and fully backload their deals. That’s not an automatic sell, though those two seem committed to the cause.

I’m pretty surprised LeBron is leaving this burden on them. LeBron reportedly wants the max, and without question, he deserves it.

Bosh and Wade – especially the former – were in line for higher salaries, though. If LeBron wants the max, he must realize that cuts into the Heat’s flexibility to assemble a quality supporting cast around him. He can’t have his cake and eat it too.

Maybe Wade comes out ahead in this deal. He was due $41,819,000 over the next two years, and there’s no guarantee he would have earned $13,181,000 in 2016-17 and 2017-18 had he played out his recently terminated contract and then sought a new deal. I’d been estimating Wade could draw $8 million per year in those seasons for $16 million total, but it’s obviously difficult to prognosticate three and four years ahead. If Wade is sacrificing salary – and I think he is a little – it’s not a huge amount.

But Bosh – whose max contract would pay $118,792,889 over five years – almost certainly comes out behind. Even if he couldn’t draw the full max – which would be $88,216,633 over four years if he left Miami – he could do better than this.

However, Wade and Bosh are adults. If they want to accept less money to placate LeBron, they can. LeBron isn’t forcing them to do anything.

He’s just putting them in a surprisingly tough spot.

158 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. bbk1000 - Jul 3, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    Wade and Bosh are remoras…..swimming around Lebron….Chester and Spike come to mind as well….

    As amusing as it is, it’s kind of sad…..

  2. billstraehl - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Strange thing is, it’s not about how these three guys play, it’s about how the other nine do. We all saw how seamlessly the Spurs inserted players from the bench without missing a beat. Not only kept the starters fresh, but kept the bench engaged. It’s the one difference that nobody seems to want to consider-the coaching. It’s also pretty clear right now that the heat are maybe the 5th or 6th best team in the NBA. So making the finals four years in a row, coming from the East, is not as impressive as it sounds. The NBA is STRUCTURED to prevent what the Heat seem to be trying to do. The Spurs understand that. You’ve a MUCH better chance of winning if NO ONE is making more than about 11 million a year. If I’m building a team and I can have my pick, do I start with Lebron plus some bench warmer, or Parker and Duncan? Two on one wins all day long, as does five on three, especially when they are better coached.

    • beachsidejames - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Its alot easier to coach when you have better players. Pop is a great coach but he clearly had the deeper bench.I do agree with you that the whatever Lebron wants Lebron gets is getting a bit tiresom. Clearly he can’t do it by himself and should consider taking less for the greater good.

    • jimmy53 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      Ummm–you start with Lebron over Parker and Duncan. I understand your view, but it’s wrong. First, Duncan has only a limited time left in the league, which leaves you with just Parker (so go with Lebron)–second, the NBA is a business, and Lebron creates larger international revenue than Duncan and Parker combined–and third, Duncan’s skills have noticeably diminished (they won the championship because of their bench not Duncan’s skills), which leaves you with Parker and half a player vs. Lebron. So, to answer your question, you start a team with Lebron over one with Duncan and Parker.

  3. cwilson6843 - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Wow you guys are very serious lol

  4. tonybot3 - Jul 3, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Its not LeBron’s fault that Wade and Bosh opted out. That was on them. Maybe they did it to entice LeBron to stay… If so, that was a major mistake. LeBron will do what’s best for LeBron.

  5. program33 - Jul 4, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Lebron is the Man! I am definitely a fan. However If I am a GM, I definitely would not want him. Financially he sucks up too much of the funding needed to build deep balanced teams.

  6. program33 - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    The only place he can get max contracts and “help”(additional 2 or 3 superstars with a decent bench) is in larger markets. The fact that he wants a max deal means he is leaving Miami. Straight up. Financially the numbers just aren’t there. So get ready for it.

    Even if they got Melo then what? Not enough player. Personally I believe secretly he would like to see Riley do the unthinkable…that’s right… trade Wade. But that would never happen. Just an opinion.

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