As we all know, LeBron James has opted out of the final two years of his contract with the Miami Heat. It doesn’t mean he’s leaving, but it doesn’t mean he’s staying either. And by the looks of it, it will take a lot to be able to lure LeBron James back to Miami, as he has made several grand requests.
Per reports, LeBron James is seeking a max contract from the Miami Heat. The request is frankly outrageous because he would take up nearly half of Miami’s salary cap space. Many figured that with his opting out, LeBron would be willing to take a pay cut. But if these reports are true, then it looks as if the Miami Heat will not be able to re-sign James. The max contract that the Miami Heat can offer LeBron James is a five year, $130 million contract. This would allow LeBron to receive an average of $26 million yearly. This is a larger contract that can be offered to James than any other team. Although he is deserving of such a large contract, he should not be requesting it. LeBron James is already one of the world’s highest paid athletes when his basketball contract is not included. Having large sponsorship contracts with Nike, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s, LeBron can surely afford to take a large pay cut.
James is also requesting that the Heat retool the team in order to sign him back. This was expected to be asked of, and it should have happened without request either. There is no other way around it, the Miami Heat’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals was humiliating. If the team is going to want to be able to contend for championships for many years to come, the Heat were going to have to revamp the roster anyhow. Now, “retool” is quite vague. It could mean to bring in another superstar, such as Carmelo Anthony, and create a Big Four. It could also mean to bring in productive role players to support the main cast of LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The more logical and realistic possibility is the latter. And the Heat have already started that process. During the 2014 NBA Draft, the Heat were able to acquire Shabazz Napier, an extremely versatile point guard. LeBron James was actually quite fond of the pick-up, stating that Napier was his favorite player in the Draft. The Heat are also after Kyle Lowry, trying to acquire him from the Toronto Raptors via trade. Miami will also look to re-sign Udonis Haslem, who also opted out of his contract, as well as Ray Allen, who stated that he would like to play one more year in the NBA.
If LeBron wants all of this to be possible, he will need to stop being so outlandish and agree to sign for less. The Miami Heat will have no room to sign role players, let alone the other two pieces of the Big Three, Wade and Bosh, to fair contracts. Surely the Miami Heat will go over salary cap by the end of the offseason, but they obviously will not want to get into the luxury tax range.
At this point in time, we just need to let The Godfather Pat Riley work his magic.
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