The Heat are sometimes listed as a potential free agency destination for LeBron James, but team officials don’t believe there’s any chance he will return to Miami, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Among the entities that could see James back on South Beach is the WestGate Las Vegas sports book, which recently gave the Heat the fifth-best odds of winning next year’s title because of that possibility.
While Miami wouldn’t turn James away, there are too many obstacles to make the move realistic, Jackson notes. The Heat enter this summer with no cap space, so they would have to clear more than $55MM in salary while taking none in return to create the room to offer James a max contract. Cleveland could theoretically agree to a trade, but it’s hard to picture Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert working out a deal to ship James back to Miami.
Here are a few more Heat tidbits, courtesy of Jackson:
- Tyler Johnson‘s contract will escalate to $19.2MM in each of the next two seasons, and the Heat are probably stuck with that deal. Jackson states that there is little optimism in the organization about moving Johnson, whose contract includes a 15% trade kicker that would be worth an extra $2.9MM. Miami matched a back-loaded offer sheet from the Nets in 2016 that was structured to make Johnson much more expensive in the final two years.
- Also holding a trade kicker is Kelly Olynyk, who has a 5% bonus that would pay him $1.1MM if he’s traded. That money would be split over the next two seasons.
- The Heat, who don’t have a pick in either round of this year’s draft, are trying to acquire a second-rounder, according to a Western Conference executive whose team has spoken to Miami about a potential deal. This year’s first-round choice was sent to the Suns in the Goran Dragic trade, and the second-rounder was shipped to Memphis in a 2016 deal to clear cap room.
- Miami continues to monitor the Kawhi Leonard situation in San Antonio in hopes of pouncing if the Spurs decide a trade is necessary.