LeBron James is planning a trip to go watch the World Cup, Chris Bosh is on vacation (the Bosh family world tour) and — for all we know — Dwyane Wade is somewhere focused on his summertime wedding to actress Gabrielle Union.
Not exactly how you would expect some of the gems of free agency to be spending the days of NBA courting season, but according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Big Three are purely buying time for the Miami Heat:
“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.
With that said, let’s look past the fact that prearranged deal restructuring was deemed an illegal act by the collective bargaining agreement. And let’s put little thought into the noise that every talking head — on sports television and radio — is floating around about James being so intent on getting his first ever max contract that he will hinder the Heat from truly upgrading the roster.
No need to worry fans; this is just the outside media doubting the recruiting abilities of Pat Riley again.
However, as the world begins to take notice of Miami’s alleged interest in lower-tier players — such as the Washington Wizards’ Trevor Booker, the Sacramento Kings’ Isaiah Thomas and the Oklahoma City Thunders’ Caron Butler — whispers are beginning to build about the former champs angling for free agency’s big dogs.
But how could the Heat be able to afford the same players that pundits continuously tell you to cross off their list?
They say max money would not allow the organization to pull in help from Trevor Ariza, Kyle Lowry or Luol Deng — let alone two of those guys. Yet ESPN’s Brian Windhorst may have unearthed Riley’s plan to get things done:
“On Tuesday, the Portland Oregonian reported that Bosh has plans to accept a five-year contract starting at $11 million, and Wade would accept a four-year deal starting at $12 million. Combined with James and a representative number for Haslem, the Heat would indeed have the space to go after top free agents like Lowry and Washington Wizards free agent center Marcin Gortat.”
You can call it underhanded, cheating or collusion, but if the franchise can pull this off, it would be considered another great power move by the league’s resident “Godfather.” Plus, it’s the least they could bless Riley with, with James reportedly only seeking a one- or two-year deal.