As the 2014 NBA Draft ended, the start of NBA free agency became the next big offseason date. Because the July 1st start of free agency comes just days after the draft, what teams like the Miami Heat and LeBron James are still unsure of what their futures may hold.
Now that James has opted out of his contract, teams are working to free up cap space and possibly trade their brand new draftees away to help get James.
He also could re-sign with the Heat, but they first must figure out what aging guard Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will do, now that they’ve opted out of their contracts.
Wade will opt out of two years and $41.8 million, Bosh will opt out of two years and $42.6 million and Haslem will not exercise his player option of $4.6 million. Agent Henry Thomas, who represents all three players, told ESPN he called Heat president Pat Riley on Saturday to inform him of Wade and Haslem’s choices. Bosh has not officially informed the Heat of his decision but sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that Bosh will follow suit by Monday’s midnight ET deadline.
Bosh will head into free agency willing to accept a pay cut from the $20 million he was owed next year, sources said. Haslem is looking for a multiyear deal that will assure him more guaranteed money than what he originally was owed next season but is also willing to take a pay cut, according to a source.
Wade, who at 32 years old was owed almost $42 million over the next two seasons, had a lot of incentive to opt out. By he, along with James and Chris Bosh opting out, it would give the Heat the most flexibility to upgrade their roster.
The belief is James will re-sign with the Heat eventually if both Bosh and Wade opt out, and the three agree to take enough of a paycut that they are able to upgrade the roster.
Though he’s the best player in the game, LeBron is used to being paid less than he should be. He’s never been the highest-paid player on his team since coming to the league in 2003. His marketing value outside of basketball allows him to still bring in millions upon millions of dollars that more than makes up the $5-8 million per season he sacrifices to play with great teammates.
Also, Heat forward Udonis Haslem opted out of his deal. He was in the last year of his contract at $4.62 million for next season. He too is hoping to help the Heat free up cap space to upgrade their roster.
NBA free agency opens July 1st.