The Miami Heat cleaned out their locker rooms yesterday and conducted exit interviews. After their Finals loss, all the attention has of course turned to the potential free agency of The Big Three.
LeBron James told the media he’s going on vacation first with his family before he decides whether to exercise the early termination clause in his contract to become a free agent, “I haven’t even begun to wrap my mind about it. I need to get away with my family before I start to think about what will happen next. For me, I just want to win, and that’s all that matters to me.”
According to reports, LeBron is also not going to simply accept another pay cut as he did in 2010 unless the Heat will redistribute those savings into improving the supporting cast around him. Because the Heat have been a luxury tax paying team for the past few seasons, they will be facing repeater tax penalties next season if they’re over the cap. It appears LeBron wants some assurance from Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison the luxury tax will not be a hurdle in improving the team around him. This ties all back to LeBron’s claim that he just wants to win. After losing in these Finals, winning in Miami will require some upgrades around him.
As for the rest of the Big Three, Dwyane Wade was not available for exit interviews. He also has an opt-out option and is due to make over $40 million in the next two years should be opt in. His declining play, is a huge concern for the Heat as their former franchise player moves into his mid-30s. Bosh, on the other hand, may be more flexible to taking a pay cut in order to make things work in Miami.
In the end, all of Miami’s offseason decisions will start with LeBron. But he will also want to know what the rest of the Big Three is thinking. It’s still likely all three will return to Miami, but whether it’s under new contracts or opting into their current contracts for another year? That’s very much up in the air right now.
Follow me on Twitter @steven_lebron