Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade ‘concerned’ about money being a factor in Heat Big Three’s free agent decision

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The Heat’s star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are doing their best to avoid talking about next summer’s free agent decision that all three players will be faced with, but inevitably, the questions keep coming, and so do some answers.

When they signed their Miami contracts in 2010, the group all sacrificed a small amount financially, and all structured their deals to include the ability to opt out following the 2013-14 season.

Bosh said recently that whether or not the Heat win a third straight title will go a long way in determining whether everyone comes back for up to two more seasons. But Wade realizes that with the new, stricter salary cap and luxury tax penalties that are in place, money could potentially be just as big a factor in everyone’s decision.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

In another private moment, Wade acknowledged hearing the muted talk of how he, James and Bosh would need to compromise in their next Heat contracts for there to be another round of Big Three possibilities starting in 2014-15.

“You’re concerned,” Wade said of money weighing into the equation as much as championship possibilities. “That’s obviously an important part of the puzzle. So, that’s something that we leave to our agents, we leave to the Miami Heat front office to see what they can present us, how creative they can be. We understand it’s not as easy as it was in 2010 when we signed.”

The Heat are already making roster decisions based on finances — Mike Miller, a member of the championship teams of the last two seasons, was waived this summer using the amnesty provision in a move that saved the club in the neighborhood of $17 million in total costs.

James and Bosh would both command max contracts on the open market if they went the free agency route, and Wade will likely get a couple more years added onto his deal to stay in Miami if he so chooses.

All three players could simply do nothing next summer, and earn around $42 million each over the next two seasons. What’s more likely, however, is that everyone opts out — either to sign long-term deals to stay in Miami, or to go their separate ways.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

Minnesota Timberwolves Zach LaVine slam dunks the ball during the NBA all-star skills competition in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Associated Press
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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: