Monday 24th June 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh Unlikely to Take Pay Cuts

heaetThe Miami Heat of tomorrow aren’t going to come cheap.

This, of course, will be assuming the Heat of tomorrow still comprise LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. If they do, then it’s going to cost Miami.

Truth told, it was always going to cost Miami. Even if each member of the Big Three opts into the next year of their contracts, the Heat owe them a combined total that exceeds $61 million, which, for those keeping score at home, is almost the entire salary cap.

When you factor in what it would take to build a viable supporting cast, even at discounts, Heat owner Micky Arison will have to pony up serious cash, both in regards to salary and uber-punitive, I-can’t-believe-some-teams-can-afford-to-pay-it luxury tax.

So, yeah, that was always going to happen. Or rather, that was always going to be a possibility.

Also considered a possibility was the prospect of all three accepting a pay cut, sort of like they did in 2010—though not really, since each was able to sign for the maximum of six years via incumbency (Wade) and sign-and-trades (Bosh and James).

At this point of their careers, though, couldn’t one see them accepting a lot less to stay in Miami in an effort to continue winning and maybe lure a fourth star to South Beach? You never know, though the New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence says he does:

There is no talk that the Heat will go after Anthony on July 1, despite the fact that Miami will have to do some retooling in the offseason, regardless of whether James gets Miami a third straight title or falls short. The only buzz is that Miami’s Big Three is past the point of taking fewer dollars than it can get. The days of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh sacrificing millions for the good of the team are over, according to well-placed Heat sources. So that could play into what Miami could give Anthony, if it would even be interested in his services.

For the sake of plausibility, I’m going to look past Lawrence arguing Carmelo Anthony should sign with the Heat. Do I think the New York Knicks deserve him? Not even close. Do I think he and Miami’s Big Three will take the pay cuts necessary to make his arrival possible? Absolutely not. Unless one member of the Big Three leaves in free agency, Anthony isn’t going to Miami (Here’s hoping I don’t eat my words in five months time).

Anyhow, Lawrence says that James, Wade and Bosh aren’t prepared to takes less, which isn’t really a surprise. If they plan on staying together long-term, they have little reason to take less. The Heat already own their bird rights and solid role players have already proved willing to play alongside them at discounts.

Realistically, summer 2014 could be the last chance each player has to cash in on a max contract. For the 32-year-old Wade, that’s most definitely the case. Bosh will be 30 when he hits free agency, like Anthony, so he may view the open market through that lens, too.

In James’ case, he could decide to opt into the next year of his contract and hit free agency when he’s 30 in 2015, and then have the wrong-side-of-30 crisis I imagine so many athletes go through. But that’s not really the point.

Those expecting the Big Three to take pay cuts may want to rethink their position. Or, you know, keep an open mind. It’s still too early to tell what will happen. If the aging and injury-prone Wade wants to keep James in Miami for years to come, he may have to accept a pay cut so the Heat can add worthy insurance behind him.

Similar thinking applies to Bosh and James, who, if they wish for the Heat to be rife with even more star power, may have to take less. Doesn’t mean they will. Doesn’t even mean they have to. But right now, before the season’s even over, it’s impossible to rule it out.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com.

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