Udonis Haslem has opted out of the the final year of his contract, tweets Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report. Skolnick suggests that the move is a part of a concerted strategy by the Heat’s Big Three to provide cap flexibility in Miami, and that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will exercise their early termination clauses for the same purpose. Haslem will forgo $4.6MM in salary for 2014/15 in hopes of re-signing a multi-year deal that rewards him financially while giving the Heat some much needed breathing room as it seeks to retain and build around its championship core (all Twitter links).
As soon as LeBron James terminated his contract with Miami for this season, the onus shifted to the Heat management and players to find a way to convince the league’s best player of their viability as a long-term contender. Haslem shares representation with Wade and Bosh, and had the trio opted to remain on their original contracts, there would have been virtually no room for team president Pat Riley to significantly improve the roster outside of re-signing aging veterans.
While Bosh has maintained his willingness to accept a reduced deal in order to keep the team in tact, Wade has been mum on his decision. Wade stands to sacrifice the most by terminating his deal, as he would give up over $41.8MM over the next two years in salary. That’s a number he is very unlikely to fetch on the open market, especially after a poor showing in the Finals despite regimented rest to keep him fresh throughout the year.