With many superstar free agents hitting the market in 2014, teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and many others are clearing cap space in anticipation of landing a marquee player. One of the biggest potential free agents is none other than LeBron James. With James’ contract giving him the option to walk away in 2014, many believe this will be a make or break season for the Miami Heat in terms of retaining their Big Three. With an aging Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, it is easy to see why fleeing for greener pastures could be a very real option for James.
What many are failing to realize is how much of a player the Heat organization will be during the free agency of 2014.
“That may be hard to fathom at the moment because the Heat currently have a payroll of more than $80 million and a large luxury-tax bill that forced them to waive Mike Miller last week. But as of now, there is a possibility that every player on the Heat roster could be a free agent next summer. The Heat are an example of the difference between a team with a full cap as opposed to a team that is capped out. That’s why it would be unwise to disregard the Heat’s options when it comes to looking at next summer. There’s a chance the Heat will have as much cap space as anyone to retrofit their team around the most-prized potential free agent, LeBron James, if he opts out of his contract as expected.” (Windhorst, ESPN.com)
It is pretty much guaranteed that Bosh, James and Wade will all opt out of their contracts after next season. With Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, and James Jones all having their contracts coming off the books after next season as well, the Heat will have a lot of cap space to play with in terms of potential free agents. If Pat Riley was able to convince a bunch of star players to take less money and come together to form a dynasty, what makes you think he won’t be able to accomplish this again? If James, Bosh and Wade decide to re-sign with the Heat, they will have to once again take significant pay cuts in order to bring in quality talent and/or youth to surround them.
It ultimately comes down to how much Wade, Bosh and especially James are willing to give up in terms of their salary. Even with the amount of cap space the Heat will potentially have at their disposal, all three players could still decide to flee and chase larger paychecks. This could become a reality that many Heat fans, including myself, don’t want to think about. Either way, you shouldn’t count out the Heat in next year’s free agency period. They will have the cap space and the championship rings to show to any potential free agent that is interested. Wade, James and Bosh will all be listening.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com.
Follow him on Twitter @outofboundsjay, or “Like” him on Facebook.