Southeast Rumors: LeBron, Heat, Magic

Last week, we learned that the Heat almost traded forward Udonis Haslem at the deadline this year.  Aside from what he brings on the court, his locker room presence is perhaps even more valued, as Mario Chalmers explained to Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick.  “That’s a tough question,” the guard said when asked to quantify Haslem’s value to the team. “U.D., besides Dwyane [Wade] and [LeBron James] and [Chris Bosh], he is the heart and soul of this team. He is one of the captains, one of the leaders on this team. He sets a good example for everybody else. I don’t know. It wouldn’t have been a good thing.”  More out of the Southeast..

  • If LeBron opts out of his current contract, the most the Heat can pay him is about $20MM in 2014/15 thanks to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Of course, James is worth much more than that in reality, and Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel speculates that he could demand that the Heat bridge that gap by diving even further into the luxury tax to sustain a solid supporting cast.  Mario Chalmers’ free-agent contract, a mini-mid-level replacement for Shane Battier, another deal for Ray Allen, or even a pay bump for Chris Andersen could be on LeBron’s mind this summer.
  • Second-year forward Kyle O’Quinn says the secret to his success has been the ability to have a short memory and put bad games behind him, writes Ken Hornack of FOX Sports Florida.  The Magic can match offers for the restricted free agent O’Quinn after this season with a modest qualifying offer of $1.18MM.  Beyond that, Orlando will likely have to give him a significant pay bump.
  • Earlier today, Magic chairman Dan DeVos emphatically stated that the team is not for sale.

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