The Miami Heat are coming off two blowout losses to the Spurs, putting the San Antonio side 3-1 ahead in the NBA Finals. Miami’s big three have dodged questions on free an agency for the majority of these finals, however that has not stopped reports stating that Miami are trying to turn their big three into a big four.
Reports suggest that talks have begun within the Heat organization about making a possible run at Carmelo Anthony. To pull this off would require a lot of financial movement, but if one team can do it, it is definitely the Heat. Pat Riley and owner Mickey Arison proved in 2010 that they are not afraid to roll the dice in free agency.
To make this happen the Heat’s big three would have to opt out of their current deals with the team by the end of the month and would have to take significant pay cuts, somewhere in the region of tens of millions. These would be significantly larger pay cuts than the ones in 2010. The Heat are not allowed to make any contact with ‘Melo until free agency opens in July but do not be surprised if Miami’s big three have floated the idea already.
LeBron James and ‘Melo have stated before their desire to play with each other in the future and ‘Melo has mentioned how he admires LeBron for going to Miami to play with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
As mentioned, to make this dream a reality the big three must take pay cuts. A pay cut wouldn’t have much effect on LeBron as he could make the money up through one of his many endorsements outside of the NBA. LeBron stands to make a hefty amount of money from the sale of Beats Electronics to Apple as it was reported James obtained some stake in the company in exchange for promoting the headphones. Bosh has stated many times his desire to stay in Miami.
Wade is the most difficult of the big three to gauge. The question is will Wade follow the likes of Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett and take a pay cut or will he go for ‘the Kobe deal’? Kobe Bryant will be the league’s highest paid player through 2016 despite his advanced age and the Lakers’ need to rebuild their team. Kobe received this deal as somewhat of a ‘thank you’ from the Lakers for all the work he has put in over the years, something that Wade could easily get from the Heat.
Duncan and Garnett took pay cuts in 2012 with their respective teams but in return got longer contracts and more guaranteed money. Duncan and Garnett were slightly older than D-Wade, though Wade is clearly ageing rapidly as seen by his maintenance program for his knees which forced him to miss 28 games this season. Clearly this program will be a mainstay for the rest of Wade’s career.
Not only would the big three be forced to take a pay cut but so would their role players. Ray Allen has a player option for next season but support from Udonis Haslem and Chris Anderson would be needed to make this big four dream happen.
Haslem has routinely sacrificed for this team and it would not surprise me to see him do it again or even hang up his shoes after these playoffs.Nor would it surprise me to see ‘Birdman’ make the necessary sacrifices. He won’t find a better situation than the one he’s got, as good as Birdman has been for the Heat, they’ve been equally as good for him.
In a strange twist, the Heat are essentially trying to replicate what their NBA Finals opponents have done over the years. The Spurs big three have taken pay cuts to allow their championship window to remain open for so long. Tim Duncan made his first Finals appearance in 1999 and it’s no surprise that the Heat would like to emulate something similar.
The big three are not getting any younger and are all in their 30’s now. LeBron James understands the need to have someone on the team that can lessen the burden on his shoulders during the regular season. With Wade likely to sit out more and more games, signing someone to help reduce James’ minutes, (again another trait they’d like to emulate from the Spurs) is key. Carmelo Anthony could certainly be that signing.
Obviously if this were to take place, there would be a huge backlash for ‘Melo, similar to the one LeBron faced back in 2010.
The Heat are trying to become the fourth franchise in history to three-peat, joining the Lakers, Bulls and Celtics and also the first team in history to overcome a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit. They understand better than anyone how difficult it is to get back to the NBA Finals having done it four years in a row.
Aodán Mitchell, Pundit Arena.