The longer the LeBron James situation drags out, the more we’re going to continue to hear rumblings about Miami’s Big Three being broken up, with those players pursuing what would certainly be lucrative options elsewhere.
While the Heat remain the most likely destination for James to end up, it does seem for the first time that his leaving to go somewhere else is a real possibility.
If that were to happen, teams would be lining up to try to poach Chris Bosh, who is a legitimate All-Star talent that would command no less than a four-year max contract on the open market. In fact, he may now prefer that to taking less money to stay in Miami on a new deal that might lock him up for the next five years.
Bosh possibly going to the Rockets (or to the Lakers or Mavs) proves why the notion of Bosh taking a $10 million pay cut to stay in Miami was never realistic. With the Bulls, Rockets, Mavs, Lakers, Cavs, Suns and potentially others chasing James, Anthony or both, there are more teams than there are LeBrons and Melos (only one of each). Once James and Anthony have made a decision, the teams that lost out will be lining up to create a market for Bosh.
Thus, with James waiting for Heat president Pat Riley to revamp the roster and with Dwyane Wade leaving $42 million on the table at age 32, Bosh is the member of the Big Three most likely to break away. Multiple league sources say there will be a close-to-max market for Bosh if Anthony and James stay with their respective teams. One of those people, an executive with a rival team, said the growing belief around the league is that Bosh would prefer a four-year max deal with another team to a discounted longer deal with Miami.
Any deal that Bosh and LeBron sign to stay in Miami would likely be very similar to their last ones, which included early termination provisions after the first three years. So, if James does return and Bosh agrees to take less in the first couple of years of a new contract, he’ll have the option of either collecting the rest near the end of it, or simply opting out to secure a more lucrative deal when that time comes.
Bosh has said more than once that he doesn’t want to leave Miami. But if the unexpected happens, and LeBron bolts in free agency, it would be easy to see Bosh doing the same — for max money, and without having to deal with the decision of whether or not to take a discount.