- Chris Bosh ($17,545,000)
- LeBron James ($17,545,000)
- Dwyane Wade ($17,182,000)
- Mike Miller ($5,800,000)
- Udonis Haslem ($4,060,000)
- Mario Chalmers ($4,000,000)
- Joel Anthony ($3,750,000)
- Shane Battier ($3,135,000)
- (James Jones – $1,757,161)
- James Jones ($1,500,000)
- Norris Cole ($1,082,520)
- Ronny Turiaf ($1,146,337, Player)
- Dexter Pittman ($854,389)
Free Agents (Cap Holds)
- 1st Round (27th overall)
- Guaranteed Salary: $77,356,681
- Non-Guaranteed Salary (including options), Cap Holds: $4,671,699
- Total (not including draft picks): $82,028,380
The Heat’s cap situation heading into the offseason isn’t unlike that of the Lakers. Both teams have three huge contracts surrounded by a handful of arguably overpriced complementary players. Both teams are not just over the cap, but well over the luxury tax line as well, with 2012/13 cap figures in the high-seventies. Unlike the Lakers though, the Heat have made the last two NBA Finals, and don’t necessarily have to make a big move this summer to reach that next level.
Of course, if the Heat fall short again in the Finals this year, the calls for Miami to move one of its Big Three will grow louder. LeBron James is untouchable, but there’s a case to be made that trading Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh for an impact player at the point or in the middle could give the Heat a stronger, more balanced roster.
Win or lose against the Thunder though, I just can’t see Miami seriously considering such a drastic move. We’re only two years removed from The Decision, and while anything short of championships may be considered a disappointment for this squad, making back-to-back Finals is a pretty remarkable feat for a roster that hadn’t played together before 2010. You could make the case that the Heat should have won a year ago against the Mavericks, and they’re certainly not massive underdogs against Oklahoma City. Blowing up the roster and having to spend another year adjusting to key new additions seems too premature and reactionary for it to be a real possibility. Particularly when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh agreed to take below-max deals to play together.
If no blockbuster trades are on the horizon in Miami, the offseason could turn out to be fairly dull. The team still has its amnesty clause, but even using it on someone like Mike Miller wouldn’t clear enough salary to matter — it would only reduce the Heat’s tax payment.
The Heat do have a late first-round draft pick, and given how 2011 28th overall pick Norris Cole found his way into the rotation this season, it’s reasonable to expect the team to use the 27th pick on a player that could contribute immediately. This draft class isn’t quite deep enough that an impact point guard or center will be available that late, but a senior like Draymond Green, who ESPN.com’s Chad Ford has Miami selecting in his most recent mock, is an example of a player who could step in right away.
If the Heat hope to find an upgrade at point guard or center, free agency is their best bet, but their resources will be limited. As a taxpaying team, Miami will only have the $3MM mid-level exception at its disposal, along with minimum-salary contracts. There’s a chance that a veteran who wants to chase a title alongside James, Wade, and Bosh would sign a discounted deal for that MLE. But top options on the market, such as Steve Nash, Goran Dragic, or Chris Kaman aren’t likely fits. Perhaps the Heat could kick the tires on guys like Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Kirk Hinrich, and Derek Fisher at the point. Aaron Gray, Chris Wilcox, Jermaine O’Neal, Ian Mahinmi, and Greg Oden highlight the list of potential center targets.
Whether or not the Heat top the Thunder in the 2012 Finals, Miami has shown it has a roster talented enough to perenially contend for the title. If the club falls short this year and again in 2012/13, it could be time to start talking about a franchise-altering trade, but for now, it makes sense to stay the course, making minor additions via free agency and the draft.