Three-star scenarios are within reach for Heat
Miami would be pleased if it can re-sign Dwyane Wade, pair Chris Bosh or
Amare Stoudemire with him and add a $7.5 million starter. But Pat
Riley, who wants to build a "dynasty," is thinking big, and NBA people
expect he will try to persuade two star players to join Wade here. So
how can Miami facilitate that within salary-cap rules?
With another team’s help, Miami can position itself to sign Wade and two
other max-salary players. But some scenarios are more do-able than
others because first-year max salaries vary. Here’s how some three-star
combos could happen:
Say Miami finds a well-under-the-cap team to take Michael Beasley ($4.9 million), Daequan Cook ($2.2 million) and its first-round pick ($1.2 million) in exchange for compensation that wouldn’t be on Miami’s cap next season, such as a 2011 draft pick. One NBA general manager said Friday, "I don’t think Beasley has much value; his reputation is soiled" but that he would be interested if Miami offered Beasley in the above deal. Giving up Beasley for so little would not happen unless Miami is sure what it would get with the cap space, and it would need to be very significant.
If Miami renounces all its free agents except Wade, that Beasley/Cook/No. 1 pick trade scenario would leave Miami with only $6.9 million committed beyond Wade’s cap hold: James Jones’ $1.85 million buyout (finding a team to take his contract before the June 30 buyout deadline is unlikely), Mario Chalmers ($854,000), Joel Anthony ($885,000 if he opts in), plus required cap holds to fill out a 12-man roster ($3.3 million for seven players).
Based on the projected $56.1 million cap, that would leave $49.2 million to spend for next season, of which $16.6 million goes to Wade. If Riley can somehow convince Wade, LeBron James and Bosh to team up here, their first-year max salaries would total $49.8 million. Dealing Chalmers and Anthony – on top of the other moves – would create room to accommodate that $49.8 million. But a Wade/James/Stoudemire max trio would cost more ($50.4 million in 2010-11) and tougher to pull off because one would need to take slightly under the max.
By dealing Beasley, Cook and the No. 18 pick for a future pick – but not Chalmers and Anthony – Miami, with $49.2 million, could give max deals to Wade, Bosh and Joe Johnson (their 2010-11 salaries would total $49 million); Wade, Bosh and Memphis restricted free agent Rudy Gay if Memphis doesn’t match ($46.3 million); or Wade, Johnson and Carlos Boozer ($48.2 million). But the Heat prefers Bosh or Stoudemire over Boozer. Many believe Boozer and Johnson are worth less than their first-year max numbers ($15.8 million each).
Throw in Anthony with the other pieces, and then there’s space to sign Wade/Stoudemire/Johnson ($49.6 million). One GM said if James cannot be lured to Miami, this trio would be the next-most appealing.
Sign-and-trades create more wiggle room, but Miami likely doesn’t have the pieces to pull off two big ones. "If you can get some philanthropic free agents who would take a reduction to play here … sometimes, these guys can create their own teams if there is any kind of friendship among three or four," Riley said.