Well, the NBA season is officially over, and the Miami Heat weren’t able to accomplish what they set out to do this season by winning a third straight championship. After running into the onslaught known as the San Antonio Spurs, one thing was made abundantly clear for the Heat; they lacked true depth to even compete.
This offseason will pose a lot of questions for the Heat franchise, with the main one being whether LeBron James will opt in to his contract or take his talents elsewhere and disband the Big Three of himself, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Both James and Bosh will demand top dollar on the open free agent market this summer, so the Heat will have to make sure they are still offering competitive contracts to both players (even though they would have to take pay cuts similar to 2010 in order to re-sign the Big Three). The big question mark of course is the contract of Wade.
Wade has made it clear over the course of this season that he expects to maintain a similarly structured contract if he decided to opt in with the Heat this offseason, or even re-sign a whole new contract. Wade is currently owed $42 million over the next two seasons, but he could demand a contract up to four years and $100 million. That notion is absolutely absurd though. Due to his declining healthy and his poor performance in the NBA Finals, what justifies him receiving a top dollar contract similar to Bosh or James? Wade is obviously on the decline and wouldn’t demand anywhere near top dollar on the open market if he decided to become a free agent. Wade told SB Nation:
“There are different times and different mindsets that you deal with. That was 2010,” Wade said. “I’m not saying that LeBron James or Chris Bosh, if they get the opportunity again, are going to leave $17 million on the table. No one can say they should do that. You have to do what is best for you.”
If James, Bosh and Wade want to remain in Miami and add high-caliber role players to the roster in order to compete for a title in 2015, then Wade’s contract must be significantly less than what Bosh and James will re-sign for. Wade’s health alone proves that he just isn’t reliable and isn’t deserving of a max contract anymore. If Wade forces the issue of retaining a max-dollar contract this offseason, there is a very good chance both LeBron and Bosh will leave for another team that has considerable depth and talent. The only way the Heat will be able to retain all three players this summer is for Wade to take more of a pay cut than LeBron or Bosh. It’s just that simple.